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Education in the Media: Monday 21 January 2019

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Education Standards, Equalities, school absence, School sport

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks to the Education World Forum and responds to media coverage on school absences. There is also good news of the Department’s work around diversity and inclusion, as well as engaging children in sport.

Education World Forum

Today, Monday 21 January, the Times Red Box has published a piece by the Education Secretary Damian Hinds to mark the start of the Education World Forum.

In the piece, the Education Secretary talks about Britain’s role as a world leader in education – noting that the British Council has estimated that one in four countries have leaders who have been educated here at some point.

He also takes the opportunity to point to the brilliant examples set by Brampton Manor Academy and Harris Westminster Sixth Form, who both made national news last week for succeeding in helping students receive offers for places at Oxbridge, despite having many disadvantaged pupils. You can read more about this on our blog for Thursday 17 January.

Also in advance of the Forum, the Government has announced a £2.5 million investment into international exchange programmes.  This funding will be given as grants to schools by the British Council who are delivering the programme, and targeted at the most disadvantaged pupils.

Unauthorised Absences

Today, Monday 21 January, there was widespread media coverage on a letter from Lancashire County Council to parents regarding unauthorised absences from school. This was initially reported in the Sunday Times, and subsequently picked up today in the Telegraph, the Sun, the Independent, I News, the Daily Mail, the Mirror, the Express and the Star.

The Department has clear guidance  regarding absences and how much schools are allowed to fine parents for term time absences.  We support schools and local authorities in dealing with these cases in the most fair and constructive ways possible.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

No child should be taken out of school without good reason – children only get one chance at an education and evidence shows that every extra day of school missed can affect a pupil’s chances of achieving good GCSEs. The rules on term-time absences are clear and we have put schools back in control by supporting them – and local authorities – to use their powers to deal with unauthorised absence. The amount local authorities can fine parents for unauthorised absence is set out in the Education Penalty Notices regulations.

Diversity Champion

Today, Monday 21 January, the LGBT equality charity Stonewall released their list of the UK’s top 100 most LGBT inclusive employers. This was covered by the Metro.

The Department for Education is proud to be included in this list, ranked number 56 – a 22 place increase on last year. Stonewall has also honoured the Permanent Secretary Jonathan Slater, as Senior Champion of the Year, for his work on diversity and inclusion within the Department.

Read more about the Stonewall Top 100 list for 2019 here.

Cricket World Cup

Ahead of the Cricket World Cup in May, today, Monday 21 January, England cricket player Eoin Morgan is visiting Grafton School in Islington to launch ‘Welcome to our Area’ and ‘Playground Pundits’ – two of the great projects which help to make up the ICC Cricket World Cup Schools Programme.

The Schools Programme is part of the wider strategy of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, to engage one million young people age 5-12 in primary schools in the lead up to, and duration of the Cricket World Cup.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

Sport has so many benefits for children, from keeping them fit and healthy to teaching them about teamwork – that’s why in spring the Government will be launching our School Sport Action Plan, to help every child learn to love being active.

The 2019 Cricket World Cup is a fantastic opportunity to get pupils excited about sport – and I hope it will inspire them to give cricket a go.

You can read more about the ICC Cricket World Cup Schools Programme, and Welcome to Our Area and Playground Pundits projects here.

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