ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

for Christians working in education

The week
News items from the week’s daily and education press, covering the major education news stories of the week.

LAs needing more Free Schools.

‘Local authorities seeking proposers’ contains details of all local authorities seeking proposers to establish a new academy or free school.

It includes the:

  • name of the local authority
  • location of the new school
  • phase of education
  • capacity of the school
  • sponsor application closing date
  • link to the local authority specification and application form

‘Section 6A approved/under consideration schools’ contains details of:

  • academies and free schools that have approval
  • free schools that don’t have approval yet under the ‘academies/free school presumption’ section of the Education and Inspections Act 2006

Read more.


Apprenticeship statistics released.

Apprenticeship service account (ASA) registrations and commitments

(Tables 1a and 1b)

As at 28 February 2018, there have been a total of 13,300 ASAs registered. Please note that the date of registration is the date the apprenticeship service account first registered their Pay As You Earn (PAYE) account number and a legal entity in the digital apprenticeship service system.

As at 28 February 2018, there have been a total of 132,800 commitments entered into the apprenticeship service. Of these, 123,800 were fully agreed.

Figure 1: Commitments by training start date, as reported at 28 February 2018

59,400

Read the full report.


90% get their first choice primary school.

  • 90% per cent of pupils offered their first choice of primary school and 97.2% were offered a place at one of their top three last year
  • Disadvantage gap index at Key Stage 2 down 10.5% since 2011
  • 825,000 new school places created since 2010 – with 90,000 more over 2016-17 alone

Pupils across the country will find out today (Monday 16 April) which primary school they will be going to in September, amid rising education standards in England.

Figures show 97.2 per cent of pupils were offered one of their top three primary schools in 2017 and follows the creation of 825,000 new school places since 2010.

Families will receive their offers as standards continue to rise thanks to the government’s reforms and the hard work of teachers, with 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 and nine out of ten schools awarded this rating at their last inspection.

Read more.


Children's centres closing fast.

Up to 1,000 children’s centres in England, designed to provide support to parents and young children, have been shut since 2009, according to recent research for the Sutton Trust charity. These closures have often been somewhat hidden, with centres merged, renamed or their focus shifted. Yet such changes represent a significant loss which will impact the lives of many parents and young children.

Sure Start centres first appeared in 1998 in England, as part of a flagship Labour policy to focus resources on children under five and their parents. The centres, which were initially only in certain deprived areas and were later rolled out nationally, provided support to parents and young children, including play sessions, parenting support, health, education, employment support and more.

Read more.


Should tuition fees for teachers be waived?

Tuition fees should be waived for trainee teachers, say teacher trainers – who argue students are being dissuaded from becoming teachers by their parents because of fears of debt.

In a joint letter to Damian Hinds, education secretary, school and university teacher training providers say that graduates are now leaving university after having accumulated three years of tuition fee debts at £9,000 a year and significant maintenance loans – deterring them from the prospect of paying for teacher training and supporting themselves through it.

“With a relatively small number of exceptions, even those trainees receiving bursaries will be expected to accumulate more debt to become qualified or, at the very least, forgo the opportunity to embark on alternative salaried careers,” the joint letter from the National Association of School-Based Teacher Trainers, the Universities’ Council for the Education of Teachers, the Chartered College of Teaching and the Teaching Schools Council states.

“We have received reports of people being dissuaded from entering the profession, or being counselled by parents and others from doing so, for this very reason.”

The letter goes on to ask Mr Hinds to consider waiving tuition fees for all those on postgraduate initial teacher education programmes.

Read more.


MPs launch enquiry into school funding.

MPs have launched an inquiry into school funding in England.

The investigation will examine whether the government should have a 10-year plan for schools and colleges, instead of the current system of three-year spending reviews.

Commons Education Select Committee chair Robert Halfon said he hoped the MPs would be able to “help to make the case” that there should be a new approach to school funding, similar to that signalled by the prime minister for the NHS.

The inquiry will also consider the effectiveness of the pupil premium, which targets additional resources at children from deprived backgrounds, and how the new national funding formula will be implemented.

The move comes amid continuing warnings about the effect of the funding squeeze on schools.

Read more.


Prue Leith backs call for better school meals.

The Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith has joined leading restaurateurs Thomasina Miers and Yotam Ottolenghi to help launch a charity that hopes to recruit top chefs to work in school kitchens.

The aim is not just to improve the quality of food – which remains patchy despite chef Jamie Oliver’s best efforts – but to teach pupils some fast-disappearing cookery skills to help protect their future health. One in five children leaves primary school obese, with those in deprived areas three times as likely to be obese than their wealthier peers.

The new charity, Chefs in Schools, hopes to recruit 100 professional restaurant-trained chefs for 100 state schools over the next five years. Leading restaurants such as Dishoom, Wahaca, Murano, the River Cafe and Moro will support the chefs’ retraining.

Read more.


Governors quit Devon free school.

All the governors of a free school in Devon have quit after it was taken over by another school.

An damning Ofsted inspection last year rated Route 39 Academy, near Bideford, inadequate in all areas and Launceston College was brought in to run it.

The eight governors said they had "no confidence that the plans for Route 39 Academy are in the best interests of students, staff or parents".

Read more.

 


Student loan rate rise.

Students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will face interest rates on their loans of up to 6.3%, following an increase in the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation. 

The rise from 6.1% currently will take effect from September for students and graduates under the 2012 fee scheme.

The increase comes as the government is conducting a review of post-18 education and funding.

Ministers say the role of interest rates will be considered in the review.

The RPI inflation rate in March is used to set the interest on student loans from the following September.

Read more.


Two child benefit cap lawful.

Campaigners have lost a High Court challenge to the government's two-child limit on some benefits.

Lawyers representing three families had argued that the policy was incompatible with human rights law.

But a judge has ruled that limiting tax credits and universal credit to a family's first two children is lawful.

However, Mr Justice Ouseley's ruling also accepted a claim that the rules relating to children in kinship care arrangements were unlawful. 

These regulations allow an exception to the two-child rule for families who look after children of relatives - but only if they are the third or subsequent child.

    

Families who take in a relative's child and subsequently have children of their own, still lose out on benefits, under the policy which came into effect last year.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), which brought the case, welcomed the judge's declaration that "the purpose of the exception is to encourage, or at least avoid discouraging a family from looking after a child who would be in local authority care, with the disadvantages to the child over family care which that can entail and the public expenditure it can require".

Read more.


 

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