https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/01/31/education-in-the-media-31-january-2017/

Education in the media: 31 January 2017

Today’s news review looks at a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) on apprenticeships and coverage of the government’s Adoption Support Fund.

IFS report on apprenticeships

Today, Tuesday 31 January, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) published a report criticising the government’s apprenticeship levy and the target to create three million apprenticeships by 2020.

The IFS claims the apprenticeship levy is poor value for money and wrongly suggests that most of the revenue raised will not be reinvested into apprenticeships.

The report was covered in City AM, BBC Online and MailOnline, among others. The Today programme also ran a piece featuring Dr Hilary Steedman from the London School of Economics (LSE). She defended apprenticeships, saying they were a critical route to boosting skills and raising the UK’s productivity levels.

We are clear that apprenticeship standards must meet the skills that employers need and give them value for money. That is why we are ensuring that employers are directly involved in designing high-quality apprenticeships that address the specific requirements of their sectors.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The apprenticeship levy will boost our economic productivity, increase the country’s skills base and give millions a step on the ladder of opportunity. In 2019–20 the levy is forecast to raise £2.8 billion, this will take the total investment in England to £2.45 billion, twice what was spent in 2010 – 11, with the Devolved Administrations receiving £460 million.

 

Quality is at the heart of all of our apprenticeship reforms. We have introduced new apprenticeship standards which are developed by employers themselves and rigorously checked and taken steps to protect the term apprenticeship from misuse helping us to achieve our target of 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020 and providing excellent value for money.

Adoption Support Fund

Today, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Show ran two pieces on adoption, including interviews with parents who have had traumatic experiences of adoption. The BBC also discussed the Adoption Support Fund and whether it provides enough support to families.

The Adoption Support Fund – backed by a government commitment totalling £70 million – helps to pay for therapeutic services for adoptive families and guardians and the children and young people they care for.

Since the Fund launched in May 2015, over 12,500 families have received more than £39 million of support to meet the therapeutic needs of their children.

In October 2016 we announced a £5,000 ‘fair access limit’ to ensure that families can continue to access support throughout the financial year.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We know that many children adopted from care have lived through traumatic experiences, which do not simply disappear once they have moved into their new home. The Adoption Support Fund has provided over 12,500 families with much-needed therapeutic support since it was launched 20 months ago.

 

We want more families to benefit, which is why we are looking at how we can distribute this fund more fairly. This year, we increased the budget from £21m to £23m and plan to increase the fund further in every year of this Parliament.

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