Policy Tracker – Keeping track of what happened in the world of education in May 2012

Main talking points

Exam season of course and a lot of the activity listed below reflects the importance of exams and qualifications with much interest in Ofqual’s plans for the future and reports such as Ofsted’s on maths teaching. Other themes for the month include social mobility, Special Needs, the annual celebration of adult learning and emerging changes for the profession and inspections, all receiving prominent attention over the last four weeks

Key headlines from the month

  • Special Needs. DfE issue formal response to earlier Green Paper consultation
  • Schools. Disadvantaged pupils record higher average GCSE scores in 440 secondaries
  • UTCs. 2 open, 3 opening in Sept, 17 under development, 15 more approved
  • School buildings. 261 plans approved under the new Priority Schools Building Programme
  • Voc learning. Independent commission on pedagogy gets under way
  • 24+ (FE) Advanced Learning Loans. SFA/SLC prepare for info road show from July
  • Adult Skills funding. SFA confirm current budget of £3+bn with indicative £2.7bn for 2013/14
  • Enterprise. £82m StartUp Loans scheme for 18-24 year entrepreneurs launched
  • Adult apprenticeships. NAO suggest economic returns of £18 per £1 of public funding
  • Graduates. ‘High Fliers’ apply early for this year’s jobs; marketing, teaching, media popular
  • Employer Ownership Pilots. 269 bids now in, winners to be announced later
  • Adult learning. NIACE annual survey reports slight 1% fall in participation
  • Pensions. PWC predict a person born this year will not get a state pension until they reach 77

Reports/Publications of the month (in order of publication)

Speeches of the month

  • The Queen’s Speech lists 19 Bills for the next session of Parliament including one on Children and Families, a couple on Pensions and one on Enterprise
  • Michael Gove’s 10 May Brighton College speech spells out what more needs to be done to help improve prospects for disadvantaged pupils
  • Nick Clegg’s 14 May social mobility speech announces cash prizes for schools that manage to raise the performance of disadvantaged pupils the most
  • David Cameron’s 17 May ‘Economy’ speech sets out how the Government is getting to grips with the 3 big economic challenges of: recovery, the Eurozone and the global context
  • Ed Miliband’s 21 May Sutton Trust speech calls for a proper recognition of vocational learning as a way of improving social mobility
  • David Willetts’ 24 May UEA lecture extols the virtues of a free market industrial strategy built around technology, research and business engagement

Quotes of the month

  • “I’m listening. I’m leading. I get it.” The Prime Minister on the economic fight back
  • “This annual survey, once again, clearly shows that participation is determined by class, age, employment status and prior attainment.” NIACE on its annual adult learning survey
  • “Will we ever see a comprehensive boy or girl edit The Guardian?” Michael Gove on how far we still have to go to improve social mobility
  • “Anything less than good is not an acceptable standard of education.” Ofsted establishes its position
  • “Parents need a 5-a day guide to help them get children ready for school.” The Schools Commissioner raises the prospect of a parenting handbook

Word or phrase of the month

  • ‘Striving classes.’ You’ve heard of squeezed middle…
  • ‘Skills potholes.’ What the UK Commission found when it surveyed employer views

Steve Besley
Head of Policy (UK and International)

Pearson Think Tank

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Paul Champion

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Twitter: @blogapprentice
Skype: paulchampion31

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