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Education in the Media: Monday 11 June 2018

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Exams and qualifications, Further education, Higher Education, School Governors

Today’s Education in the media blog looks at the Education Secretary’s speech at the National Governance Association (NGA) conference, the Lords Economics Affairs Committee report on post-school education and supporting pupils through the exams period.

The NGA conference

On Saturday, 9 June, the Secretary of State delivered a keynote speech at the National Governance Association (NGA) conference in Manchester.

Alongside a call to arms to businesses to help recruit more school governors, he also announced that the budget for training and support will be doubled to £6 million up to 2021 to ensure more school leaders can access popular training courses that build on their existing skills and will help raise education standards even further.

The trail of the Education Secretary's speech was reported on positively by BBC online, Telegraph, the Times, City A.M, TES and Schools Week . Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, welcome the news when she was interviewed before the conference on BBC Breakfast.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

I want to do everything I can to help boost governor recruitment and retention. Because, quite simply, we need more great people.

So today, I’m issuing a call to arms…appealing to people up and down the country to take on this vital role – to play their part in helping the next generation to thrive.

I want to urge people from different backgrounds, different professions, to come forward – offer up your time, your energy, your skills, your expertise… I’m also making an appeal to the nation’s employers today.

Because to become a governor, people with full-time jobs will need their employer’s support. I believe businesses can make a contribution to society here – and it’s not just schools either.

Governors of Further Education colleges are key to providing the skills and training businesses need, and will play a pivotal role delivering our new T Level qualifications.

That’s why I’m writing to the 30,000 members of the Institute of Directors, urging them to encourage employees to take on this role, and give them the time it needs.

The Lords Economics Affairs Committee

Today, Monday, 11 June, The Lords Economics Affairs Committee has published a wide-ranging report about the fairness of post-school education.

The main finding of the report is that higher education has grown sharply during the 21st century whilst technical education has not. In the report, they make a number of recommendations including reversing the decline of part-time and flexible learning, offering more choice and funding for other post school options and more.

The report has been covered widely today by PA, BBC Breakfast, BBC News, the Mail, Times, the i, the Sun and the Telegraph.

We welcome the report by the Committee and will respond in full in due course. Our post-18 education review will look at a wide variety of issues around value for money, fairness and access to education in higher education routes, as well as looking to address the imbalance noted in the Lord’s report between higher and technical education.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We agree that for too long young people have not had a genuine choice post 16 about where and what they wish to study. That is exactly why we have overhauled apprenticeships to focus on quality and why we are fundamentally transforming technical education, investing £500m a year in new T Levels that will provide a high quality, technical alternative to A levels and make sure we can keep up with the world’s best.

On top of this, we are undertaking a major review of post-18 education and funding, to make sure students are getting value for money and genuine choice between technical, vocational and academic routes.

We will consider the report and will respond in full in due course.

Exam support

The Sunday Times and Daily Mail report that this year’s GCSE and A levels are the hardest exams yet, leaving pupils in tears or suffering panic attacks.

We are clear that schools should not put undue ‎pressure on young people when administering tests or exams and it should never be at the expense of their wellbeing.

There is a lot that schools can do to prepare pupils well to take tests and examinations, and to help parents support their children. Good teaching is one of the most important factors in making sure that pupils feel ready.

At GCSE level, we have removed the incentives for multiple resits that were not helping children’s education, giving pupils at least two full years of study before they sit exams. At A level we have also made the exams linear, meaning there are now no January assessments, and have created a new structure that will enable students to study for two full years towards an A level without the need to take an AS exam at all.

We have also pledged £1.7 billion to help promote, protect and improve children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Testing and assessment are a longstanding part of our education system. It helps us to ensure pupils are being taught the skills and knowledge they need.

We trust schools not to put undue ‎pressure on young people when administering tests or exams and it should never be at the expense of their wellbeing.

It is vital that young people suffering from stress or any mental health ‎issue are able to access support when they need it. That is why we are investing £300million to provide more resources for early intervention in all schools.

You can read our press release and the Education Secretary’s speech on

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