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Education funding, social mobility and the importance of an active summer

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Today our blog looks at new reports from the Education Select Committee and the Social Mobility Commission, whilst we also include links to two new interviews with the Education Secretary.

Select Committee report

Today, Friday 19 July, the Education Select Committee published a report calling for a ten-year school and college funding plan and more investment for the education system. This was covered by BBC Online, the Independent, the Mail and the Sun.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We welcome this detailed and considered report from the Education Select Committee and will respond in full in due course.

While it is accurate to say that school funding is at its highest level, we do recognise that there are budgeting challenges.  This government is investing more than ever before in early education and childcare and since 2010 the overall core schools budget for 5 to 16 year olds has been protected in real terms.

We have also protected the base rate of funding for 16 to 19 year olds until 2020 and are providing additional funding for the delivery of the new gold standard T Levels, rising to an additional £500m every year once they are fully rolled out.

We are glad to see that school and further education funding is being highlighted as an important issue ahead of the next spending review, where the Education Secretary will back the sector to have the resources they need to deliver world-class standards across the board.

Social Mobility report

Today, the Social Mobility Commission published its report on access to extra-curricular activities for disadvantaged children. This was originally commissioned by the Education Secretary Damian Hinds during his social mobility speech in July 2018. The report finds that opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities are unequally distributed, with low-income households less likely to participate in music and sport. This has been covered by the Independent, the Times and the Express.

You can read the full report here.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

We all know that taking up a hobby, getting outdoors or volunteering your time to a good cause can give us a different set of skills to the ones we learn in the classroom. Today’s research from the Social Mobility Commission backs that up – and shows us where the barriers exist that prevent young people from participating in these kinds of character-building extra-curricular activities.

The recently announced School Sport and Activity Action Plan includes additional support for schools to open up their facilities over the holidays and after hours to encourage every child to find a sport they love and our music ‘hubs’ support thousands of children can learn to play instruments, but there is more to do. We want to make sure that there is true equality of opportunity to access extra curricula activities so that every young person can develop the self-belief that they can do amazing things. Whether it’s through playing a sport, learning a musical instrument, or joining a club or the scouts or guides, these opportunities help to build the confidence and resilience we all want our children to have.

Confidence comes from taking chances and seeing things work out; and it also comes from trying to do something - a project, an activity - until you get it right; it comes from learning ways to cope with whatever the task in hand is and it calls for bravery, gumption, maybe even a stubborn determination to succeed. The more opportunities we make available to young people, the more chance they have of becoming well-rounded adults who can take on life’s challenges with confidence.


Today, I News has published an interview with the Education Secretary Damian Hinds, where he talks about character education and the launch of the #SummerOutdoors campaign.

The Education Secretary emphasised in the interview that children need to enjoy outdoor activities during the summer holidays. You can read the full interview feature here.

In addition to this interview, the Education Secretary also took part in a wider-ranging interview for TES this week, taking the opportunity to stress his desire to reduce workload for teachers, and narrow the attainment gap in education. The full TES interview can be read here.

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