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Education in the media: 29 September 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Curriculum, Higher Education


Today’s education in the media looks at the results of the phonics screening and Key Stage 1 reading, writing and maths assessments. We also look at stats that show almost half of people are likely to go to university and welcome Sir Theodore Agnew to the Department for Education.

Phonics screening and Key Stage 1 reading, writing and maths

Yesterday, Thursday 28 September, we published the results of the national phonics screening alongside the Key Stage 1 assessments in reading, writing and maths.

These show a record number of children in year 1 and 2 passed the phonics tests this year. The results also show a rise in the number of pupils in Key stage 1 passing the tests in reading, writing and maths assessments.

Since the introduction of the phonics check in 2012, there are 155,000 more six-year-olds on track to become excellent readers.

Please see a link to the phonics and Key Stage 1 results here.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

“We want every child to reach their potential and this means ensuring all pupils can read fluently by the time they leave primary school.

Thanks to the hard work of teachers across the country, and this Government’s continued focus on raising standards and increased emphasis on phonics, 6 year olds are reading better than ever before. Today’s results show there are now an additional 155,000 six-year-olds on track to becoming fluent readers. This is a huge achievement, improving the lives and education of hundreds of thousands of children.

"But there is more to do for the youngest children which is why, as we said in our manifesto, we will strengthen the teaching of literacy and numeracy in the early years. We are determined that all children, whatever their background, should have the rich vocabulary needed to fulfil their potential at school.”

Participation rates in Higher Education

Yesterday, Thursday 28 September, we published statistics on participation in higher education. This was covered in the Guardian and Telegraph (P13.)

The findings are extremely positive and show that almost 50 per cent of people are likely to go to university by the time they are 30 years old.

The statistics show that the higher education system is working and allowing those that want to go to university to do so. This, alongside the work we are doing to reform technical education, is ensuring that the system is working for everyone.

Universities Minister, Jo Johnson, said:

“These statistics show the numbers of students are continuing to rise and adds further evidence that the government’s reforms to widen participation in our world class higher education sector are working.

“Young people recognise that degrees gained from UK universities can lead to rewarding and well-paid jobs – this is why more people are going to university than ever before, including record numbers of 18-year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“We continue to improve the university system to ensure that students get value for money and are creating a new regulator, the Office for Students, to hold universities to account for teaching quality and student outcomes through the Teaching Excellence Framework.”

Sir Theodore Agnew

Yesterday, Thursday 28 September, the Prime Minister announced that Sir Theodore Agnew will take up a role as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System at the Department for Education, following the retirement of Lord Nash.

We would like to welcome him to the Department for Education, and look forward to working with him.

Sir Theodore Agnew said:

“No area of government touches lives as universally as education. I’ve seen the transformative effect that good schools can have on pupils, regardless of their background - and how an excellent education can unlock potential and open doors to exciting and fulfilling careers.

“I’m determined to ensure that every child in every part of the country should have the same chance to go to such a school. It’s a real privilege to be taking on this role at the Department for Education, and I look forward to working with the great leaders and teachers across the profession and getting on with this incredibly important job.”

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