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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Education in the media: 14 July 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Further education, School building, Universities

Today’s media blog looks at vice-chancellor pay, A level maths and an update on school cladding.

Vice-chancellor pay

Today, 14 July, there has been coverage of comments made by Lord Adonis regarding vice-chancellor pay, claiming it is out of proportion.

This was discussed on the Today programme.

Although the Government does not control how much universities should pay employees, the Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, has urged the sector to show appropriate restraint.

Jo Johnson, Universities and Science Minister said:

Universities should heed the guidance I have issued to the sector urging them to show appropriate restraint and to set pay in a way that reflects the fact they are often in receipt of significant public money.


Students deserve value for money for the courses they are paying for. One of the central goals of our higher education reforms is to make universities accountable for students’ experience and the quality of education they receive through the Teaching Excellence Framework.

A level maths

In an article based on a survey of 330 teachers, the Times Education Supplement (TES) claim there is an ‘alarming decline’ in the number of people applying to study maths A Levels.

However this claim is made despite official figures showing entries into A level maths are rising, and that it has been the most popular A level subject for the last four years.

Official statistics show:

  • Entries into maths A level rose by three per cent last year
  • Entries into further maths rose by four per cent last year
  • Maths is the most popular subject at A-level with 88,000 entries
  • Maths has been the most popular subject at A level four the last four years

The Government has long been committed to boosting the uptake of maths. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), a child who scores in the top 15 per cent of maths scores at age 10 is likely to earn 7.3 per cent more at age 30 than an otherwise identical child who achieves a middle ranking maths score.

In order to encourage even more pupils to do maths in future, we introduced a new maths GCSE that is more challenging and will better prepare pupils to take maths A level. We have also introduced a new Core Maths qualification for students to study post 16. Entry figures show….

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Maths A level entries are rising, not falling. It is the most popular subject at A level for the fourth year in a row, with 88,000 entries in total and the percentage of people studying it rose 3 per cent in the last year.

Update on school cladding

As part of the government’s determination to ensure children’s safety, schools, further education colleges and universities across the country have all been contacted and asked to carry out building checks to identify those that might require further investigation.

Yesterday, 13 July, we announced that cladding from two school buildings has been tested by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the body carrying out checks on all buildings on behalf of the government, and did not pass combustibility tests.

Both schools have been informed and, as a precautionary step, both have already been inspected by the Fire and Rescue Service who confirmed appropriate measures are in place to mitigate the risks from potential fire, and the buildings have now been declared safe for continued use.

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