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Education in the Media: Wednesday 15 August 2018

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Curriculum, Further education, GCSE, Higher Education, Universities

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Today’s Education in the media blog looks at a legal tribunal regarding the expulsion of a child with special education needs, the options at A Levels, the clearing process, as well as the increasing number of disadvantaged students attending university.


Earlier this week (13 August) the Upper Tier Tribunal announced that it has upheld an appeal by the parents of a child with autism following a disability discrimination claim.

The Times, Telegraph and Daily Mail all report on the tribunal decision.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The Government is fully committed to protecting the rights of children with disabilities, as well as making sure schools are safe environments for all pupils. We will be carefully considering the judgment and its implications before deciding the next steps.

ASCL Press Notice

Today, Wednesday 15 August, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) released a press notice on funding in schools and the effect on A Level students. This was covered by the Times and the Independent.

We are protecting the base rate of funding for 16 to 19 year-olds until 2020 to ensure that every young person has access to the education or training they desire to start their careers. To support core subjects we are also providing colleges with £600 per additional student (set above a baseline year) that continues to study Maths to an advanced level after their GCSEs.

It is up to individual schools and colleges as to which A Level course to offer.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

School funding will rise to a record £43.5 billion by 2020 – 50% more in real terms per pupil than in 2000 – and we are protecting the base rate of funding for 16 to 19-year-olds until 2020 to ensure every young person can access the education or training needed to go on to university, apprenticeships or work.

We want young people to have access to a wide range of high-quality options at post-16. We are supporting schools through a new national centre of excellence in modern foreign languages and regional hubs to drive up standards in the teaching of languages. We are also investing £500million in music and arts education programmes between 2016 and 2020 to give young people the opportunity to take part in a range of activities.

University Clearing

Today, Wednesday 15 August, the Daily Mail published an article based on its investigation into the university clearing process. The piece looks at the degree courses being offered to students who go through clearing and the choices they are making.

Clearing is an opportunity for students to obtain a place at even the most selective universities. Students who did not originally apply for higher education are offered the chance to do so, and students whose achieved results exceed expectations are able to ‘trade up’ through the Adjustment process.

Initiatives such as the Teaching Excellence Framework now gives students access to more information than ever on courses and universities. Young people also have access to the national Exam Results Helpline to request advice and speak to experienced careers advisers to help them understand all the options available to them.

Data shows that over 90 per cent of graduates enter employment or further study within six months of leaving university, with only one in 20 still not in education or employment.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

Our world-class university system is helping thousands of students go on to great careers, boosting their lifetime earnings and unlocking their potential. Through initiatives like the Teaching Excellence Framework we are giving prospective students more information than ever before so they know which institutions and courses deliver great outcomes and which ones are lagging behind.

But university isn't for everyone and we don’t want one route to a career to be considered better than any other. That is why we are transforming technical education in this country to put it on a par with our amazing academic system.

For the first time this year, via the exam results helpline, the National Careers Service will also offer students advice on all the options open to them including university courses, apprenticeships or technical courses such as Level 4 or 5 qualifications – which new research published today shows can increase earning potential and employability.

Arts in Schools

Today, Wednesday 15 August, the Times published a feature piece by Alice Thompson, based on an interview with Ofsted Chief, Amanda Spielman. In her interview, she commented on the academic system failing to prioritise arts subjects.

We want to maintain a balanced and broad curriculum in our schools and the number of pupils taking at least one art subject at GCSE has remained stable.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

High quality arts subjects are an important part of every child’s education and the proportion of pupils taking arts subjects at GCSE has remained largely stable since 2010.

Music remains a compulsory subject from age 5 to 14 and we are investing nearly £500 million up to 2020 in a range of music and arts education programmes designed to improve arts provision for all children. This includes 120 music education hubs set up across the country to give every child the opportunity to play an instrument.

Disadvantaged Students

Today, Wednesday 15 August, the Guardian has run a story based on research from the Labour party about the number of disadvantaged children who go on to study at university.

As of 2017, disadvantaged students are 50 per cent more likely to progress into a full-time university education than they were in 2009.

We’ve also increased the maximum grants and loans by over 3 per cent for the 2018/19 academic year. Disadvantaged students who are starting courses this year will have access to the largest ever amounts of cash-in-hand support for their living costs.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

There should be no barriers to anyone who wishes to study at our world class universities and there are record numbers of disadvantaged young people taking advantage of all the benefits university study provides.

Young people from disadvantaged backgrounds were 50% more likely to study full time at university in 2017 than in 2009. We are determined to do more so have asked the Office for Students to challenge universities that are not doing enough to increase access and ask the sector as whole to do more with the £860million it will set aside next year to tackle this issue.

Our wide ranging review of post-18 education and funding will also look at how the system can work better for everyone, ensuring value for money for students and taxpayers.

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