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Education in the Media: Thursday 24 January 2019

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Apprenticeships, Higher Education, Statistics, Universities

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at accelerated degrees, new data on schools and apprenticeships, as well as news on how education is contributing to the UK economy.

Accelerated Degrees

Yesterday, Wednesday 23 January, the House of Commons voted to approve the proposed accelerated degree regulations. This has been covered by the Independent, I News, the Daily Mail and the Times.

The accelerated degree proposals would mean that higher education institutions could offer two-year courses, charging only 20% more per year than a standard three-year course. Given the accelerated learning this would allow, students would make a total saving of 20% in comparison to a three-year degree course.

Not only are there financial benefits, but saving a year of study will also present practical benefits for students looking to accelerate their path into employment, or mature students taking career breaks.

After being approved by the House of Commons, the proposals will now need to be passed through the House of Lords.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:

The passing of this legislation is one of the great modern-day milestones for students and breaks the mould of a one-size-fits all system for people wanting to study in higher education.

For thousands of future students wanting a faster pace of learning and a faster route into the workplace at a lower overall cost, two-year degrees will transform their choices.

Performance Tables

Today, Thursday 24 January, we published the secondary school performance tables. There was coverage on this topic from the Independent, BBC Online, the Times, and the Express.

Today’s data shows that there is strong progress being made in numerous measures. Converter academies are performing well above the national average, and there is also good news with disadvantage pupils in multi-academy trusts (MATs) making more progress than the equivalent national average.

The proportion of pupils achieving a grade 5 or above at GCSE in both Maths and English has increased from 42.6% to 43.3% since last year. In addition to this, 95.5% of pupils are now entering EBacc science at GCSE, up from 63.2% in 2010, including a rise of around 7% in the number of girls taking at least one of these subjects.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Making sure that all pupils, regardless of their background, are able to fulfil their potential is one of this Government’s key priorities and these results show that more pupils across the country are doing just that.

It’s been clear for some time that standards are rising in our schools and today’s data underlines the role academies and free schools are playing in that improvement, with progress above the national average and impressive outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.

Also vital to rising standards is the increasing number of pupils entering the EBacc. With a record number of disadvantaged pupils achieving good grades in the EBacc, more pupils will go on to further and higher education with a wider range of options and opportunities.

You can read more about the latest secondary school performance data here.

Education for the Economy

Today, new figures have revealed that Britain’s education sector remains one of its most lucrative international assets, with exports overseas generating almost £20 billion for the UK economy.

This is a 26% increase since 2010, placing the education revenue alongside industries such as automobiles and advertising. The revenue includes over £13b from higher education as our universities sector continues to be one of those leading the way on the world stage.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

The UK has always provided world class education and these figures underline the importance of it to our economy - cementing our status as a global leader in this sector.

International university students constitute an important earnings source for our universities but they are also an important part of Britain’s cultural influence in the world. As well as this, there are big growth opportunities in areas like education technology, services and satellite or partner campuses.

Education is a fundamental part of our offer to the world, and we will work to maintain and grow this in the years to come.

You can read more about this news and the breakdown of revenue here.


Today, we published the latest apprenticeship statistics for the first three months of the 2018/19 academic year.

The latest figures show that there have been 76,300 starts on our new higher quality apprenticeship standards so far, with 269,400 starts since their introduction in September 2014. We hope that starts on the higher new standards will continue to rise with the launch of our Fire It Up campaign, which we posted on last week.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton, said:

I’m thrilled to see that the latest figures show there were 132,000 people starting apprenticeships in the first three months of the 2018/19 academic year – a rise of 15% on this time last year.

Since we overhauled the apprenticeships system in 2017 more and more employers including leading firms like Royal Mail, Ernst and Young and Channel 4 are recognising the huge benefits apprentices are bringing to their workplaces.

Apprenticeships offer people, of all ages and backgrounds, a high-quality route to skilled employment with the option to train at every level. You get paid while you train and can start a great career in a huge range of professions like accountancy, nursing, teaching and law.

I want as many people as possible to know about the amazing apprenticeship opportunities out there. Our new campaign, ‘Fire it Up’, is playing a vital role in this, helping to challenge outdated perceptions around apprenticeships and raising awareness of the huge variety of apprenticeship options available.

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