Today’s news review looks at the announcement that Oxford has been ranked the best university in the world – the first time a British university has received this accolade. It also responds to calls from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) for better support and funding for nursery schools.
Oxford ranked as world’s top university
The Times Higher Education has published its annual global rankings of universities. For the first time, a British university – Oxford – has topped the list, knocking the California Institute of Technology into second place.
Cambridge and Imperial College London join Oxford in the top 10 for 2016/17, at fourth and eighth place respectively. Other institutions in the top rankings include Stanford, Harvard and Princeton universities and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all in the US.
The news has been widely picked up, including in The Guardian, BBC News, The Independent and Wall Street Journal.
Education Secretary Justine Greening said:
Britain has long been home to some of the best universities in the world, and it’s fantastic to see a UK university top these world rankings for the first time.
We want to see this success continue and provide real opportunities for students up and down the country. That is why we are reforming higher education to make sure it delivers the quality teaching and skills that students and employers expect. We are also looking at proposals to require universities to open or sponsor schools to help create more great school places and ensure every child can fulfil their potential.
Nursery school funding
Today, 22 September, the NAHT claimed that nursery schools will be ‘forced to close’ due to insufficient funding.
The NAHT suggested that the measures set out in our Early Years National Funding Formula consultation – which ends today – will hit nursery schools harder because these settings generally have higher running costs due to employing highly-qualified staff. This story was covered by BBC Online, TES, PA, The Mirror and The Sun.
We do not agree with the NAHT’s claims, which fail to recognise that we have committed to at least two years’ worth of additional funding for nurseries, and we will be consulting on further spending.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
It is right that we look at how we can make funding fairer across the early years sector – alongside this we want to look at how we can make maintained nursery schools, which have higher running costs, sustainable in the long term.
Our proposals for extra funding for nursery schools are for at least two years and will provide stability for the sector. This funding is part of our record investment in childcare – £6 billion per year by 2020, and we will be consulting the maintained nursery schools sector on future funding in due course.
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