Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the claims from School Cuts around funding for children with Special Educational Need and Disabilities, and research from Roehampton University on the new computer science GCSE.
Today, Monday 18 June, the pressure group ‘School Cuts’ issued a press notice focusing on a letter they have written to the Secretary of State about concerns regarding funding for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). This has been covered in the Independent, Yorkshire Post and by trade titles Schools Week and Ed Exec.
The pressure group has claimed that over 2,000 young people and children with SEND have no education provision at all, and many local authorities do not have sufficient funding to meet required obligations around helping children who have SEND.
This is not the case – we are clear that core schools funding, including high needs funding, is being protected in real terms per pupil and will rise to a record £43.5 billion in 2019-20. High needs funding for pupils with special educational needs is £6 billion this year, which means local authorities now have more money for every pupil in every school and more for pupils with high needs.
Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zawahi said:
We want to make sure every child with special educational needs gets the support that they rightly deserve. The high needs budget for pupils with special educational needs is £6 billion this year – the highest on record, with core schools funding rising to £43.5bn by 2020 – 50% more per pupil in real terms than in 2000.
We are also undertaking the biggest special educational needs reforms in a generation, introducing education and health care plans that are tailored to the needs of individuals and put families at the heart of the process. Already, nearly 320,000 children and young people are benefiting from these and we will continue to work to make sure every child gets the support they need to fulfil their potential.
Today, Monday 18 June, Roehampton University published research on the new computer science GCSE.
The findings claim to have found that many students are finding the course too difficult, and not taking the GCSE. The findings also show that only 20 per cent of girls and fewer disadvantaged children were studying for a GCSE in the subject, as reported by the Today Programme.
Our changes to the computer science curriculum – to bring them up to a gold standard – have been backed by major investments to improve the participation and teaching of the subjects.
From Autumn 2018, there will be a new National Centre for Computing Education and the launch of our ‘Gender Balance in Computing Pilot Programme’ – to look at how we can improve girls participation in computing.
The number of entries for computer science in England for 2013 were 4,021, by 2017 they had risen to 69,148. We also recently saw an increase in entries to STEM subjects for the EBacc and the number of girls taking STEM subjects at A-levels has increased by over 17 per cent since 2010.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
The computer science GCSE – first introduced in 2013 – is providing pupils with a gold standard qualification and, with input from industry experts, is equipping them with the skills they will need for the high-tech jobs of the future.
Entries for computer science continue to rise more quickly than any other subject, increasing year on year since its introduction. We have continued to offer schools a range of support to improve the teaching of computing since its introduction and are investing £84m of new funding over the next four years to upskill 8,000 computer science teachers and drive up participation in computer science, particularly amongst girls.