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Education in the Media: Tuesday 18 December 2018

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: early years, Universities

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the change to how student loans are classified in government accounting, and a press notice from Save the Children.

Student Loans

Yesterday, Monday 17 December, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that student loans has been reclassified following a review the way they should be reflected in the government accounts. This was covered by the Independent, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Financial Times, the Guardian, the I News, the Sun and the Metro.

Before the review, student loans were not recorded as a cost until after 30 years, when unpaid debts are written off. The change now means that a ‘partitioned approach’ will be taken and treat part of student loans as financial assets and part as expenditure.

The change will have no impact on the support currently available to students. There is no impact on the value for money case for the student loan sales.

The ONS has said this change will come in later next year.

A Government spokesperson said:

This is a technical accounting decision by the independent ONS. It does not affect students, who can still access loans to help with tuition fees and the cost of living, which they will only start repaying when they are earning above £25,000.

Our balanced approach is getting debt falling while supporting our public services, keeping taxes low, and investing in Britain’s future.

Save the Children

Today, Tuesday 18 December, Save the Children released a press notice about child poverty in relation to early years attainment. This was covered by the Independent.

Last month, the Education Secretary hosted a Home Learning Environment Summit, where £18 million worth of projects were announced. The grants announced included:

  • £6.5 million for projects focused on closing the disadvantage gap at age five and improving the early years education of children with SEND, and £5 million for trials
  • £5 million for trials to be led by the Education Endowment Foundation in partnership with SHINE in the north of England that will research the best way to help parents in disadvantaged communities to start building their children’s skills at home, so that no child starts school behind their better-off peers.
  • £1.8 million for a programme with Public Health England, including new speech, language and communication training for health visitors, delivered by the Institute of Health Visitors.
  • £5 million for organisations to investigate what works through bespoke local projects focused on best practice in early language, literacy and maths, to build and share a stronger evidence base.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

Children from different backgrounds have a range of different needs but we know that too often ‎those from disadvantaged backgrounds arrive at school without the skills they need to thrive. That's why the Secretary of State wants to halve the proportion of children starting year 1 without the expected level of communication and literacy skills.

We already have help in place, such as 15 free hours of early learning and childcare per week for the most disadvantaged two-year-olds, and we’re supporting disadvantaged children when they arrive at school through the Pupil Premium grant – worth over £2.4bn this year.

But the truth is that the majority of a child’s time is spent at home so we have launched projects backed by nearly £18 million, to provide better support for parents with children’s early language and literacy development.

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