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Education in the media: 19 April 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Further education, School places, Uncategorized

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Today’s news review examines coverage of primary school offer day, and a report into the skills of the UK’s workforce.

Primary offer day

On Tuesday, 18 April, parents found out from their local authority what primary school place their child received. According to initial council figures, more children have succeeded in getting a place at their first-choice school.

This was covered in the Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, i News, BBC Online and in the TES. The SunOnline and the Independent both published articles on what parents should do if they want to appeal their child’s school offer.

Media coverage of this year’s offer day was mixed, with some outlets correctly pointing out that it looks likely that the vast majority of pupils received their first choice school.

However, a number of outlets chose to concentrate on the pupils who did not get their preferred place.

Our official figures will be released in the summer, when there will be a clear picture of whether or not the proportion of pupils who got their top choice has risen or not.  Last year, 96.3 per cent of parents received a place in one of their top three preferred schools.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We are making more good school places available so thousands more families have the choice of a good local school. There are 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools than 2010 and we have created almost 735,000 extra school places since 2010, with 92 per cent of new primary school places built in 2015-16 created in good or outstanding schools.


This has meant that last year 96.3 per cent of parents in England received an offer at one of their top three preferred primary schools. But we know there is more to do to ensure every parent has access to a good schools place for their child. We have already set out plans to make more good school places available - including scrapping the ban on new grammar school places, and harnessing the resources and expertise of universities, independent and faith schools.

Skills economy

Today, 19 April, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) published analysis on the UK’s skills.

The report warns that Britain is “sleep-walking” into a low skills economy post-Brexit and was covered by the Telegraph, the Sun, City AM, Independent, and the Press Association.

Coverage concentrates on either UK employers spending less on training than other major EU countries, or that, post-16, there are UK youngsters still struggling with reading and maths.

What was omitted was the fact that we are developing new technical education courses to ensure that young people have the skills they need to compete in the global economy. This was detailed in the recent Industrial Strategy.

We are also committed to deliver three million quality apprenticeships by 2020 and currently, more than 90 per cent of apprentices go into work or further training.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

This government has been honest about the skills shortages we are facing – and that is why we are building an Apprenticeships and Skills Nation.


We have introduced the apprenticeship levy which will generate £2.5 billion of investment in apprenticeship training by 2020. In 2019 we will begin to roll out 15 high quality technical education routes and have committed to investing an extra half a billion pounds a year into technical education. In addition, we have invested £170 million into Institutes of Technology and £80 million on National Colleges.


These measures will improve national prosperity and encourage people to climb the ladder of opportunity.

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