Weekly education news roundup 06/10/17



Apprenticeship route to teaching announced

Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, has announced plans for a new degree-equivalent apprenticeship route into teaching, meaning that the profession will no longer be open solely to university graduates. In an interview with Schools Week, Greening said, “I think there are lots of reasons why technical education has not been at the level that we have wanted for our country. One of them is that people who want to see their education through to a high level haven’t really seen that ladder in technical education, and that’s why we’re try to do is start to build it up, right to a degree apprenticeship level.” Schools Week have expressed reservations on what teaching apprenticeships would mean for “the quality of training, and pay and conditions”.

Justine Greening's conference speech

This week saw the Conservative Party Conference take place in Manchester. Justine Greening, spoke to delegates and made some key announcements affecting schools:

  • Tackling teacher recruitment and retention. Greening announced plans for a pilot aimed at attracting teachers in subjects such as science, maths and languages, which are in short supply. The measure will focus especially on certain parts of the country such as the social mobility "opportunity areas", and will reimburse teachers in the target areas and subjects for part of their student loan payments. £30 million of funding will be found for the measure. Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said: "NAHT has led the calls for the government to take action to address the recruitment and retention crisis in schools, and today’s announcement is a welcome step in the right direction... However, unless there is concerted effort to improve underlying pay levels, working conditions and status within the profession, these steps are unlikely to have much impact."
  • £18 million of funding for new maths and English hubs. There are already 35 maths hubs in England. £6 million will be spent on creating further maths hubs, with the remaining £12 million used to establish English hubs for the first time, especially in the Northern Powerhouse cities. Educators wish to see more done to effectively record the impact of the hubs.
  • More focus on alternative provision. This is the education a child receives outside of school, which is usually arranged by Local Authorities (LAs). This may be needed for reasons of exclusion or illness to ensure children continue to receive an education outside of the formal school setting.
  • £140 million Strategic School Improvement Fund. The measure has already been established, but will focus next on boosting literacy and numeracy during a child's Reception year.

The Prime Minister's speech

Prime Minister Theresa May mentioned education in her conference speech. She promised to continue the government's Free Schools programme of building 100 new ones every year, in order to help tackle social mobility.


Kirsty Williams answers question on parental engagement

In the National Assembly for Wales, Education Secretary Kirsty Williams took questions from her fellow Assembly members. One question, from David Melding AM, asked about the positive impact of increased parent participation in schools in Wales, and quoted figures from our annual Parent Survey. The Education Secretary in turn confirmed her commitment to maintaining parental engagement as a priority for schools in Wales.

Northern Ireland

Disadvantaged pupils encouraged to consider the medical profession

A Widening Participation in Medicine event, to be held on 10th October at Queen's University Belfast's Riddel Hall, will encourage pupils of all backgrounds in Northern Ireland to consider routes into medicine - a subject that attracts very few graduates from less affluent areas. This is the second year the event has run, and last year more than 100 post-primary pupils had the opportunity to speak to specialist doctors about their own routes into the career. The event is supported by the British Medical Association.






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