https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/03/16/education-in-the-media-16-march-2017/

Education in the media: 16 March 2017

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Today’s news review examines coverage of a report on funding, and a  piece on why we need more grammar schools.

Local Government Association report

On Thursday, 16 March, the Local Government Association claimed that councils could fail to meet their legal duties to protect schoolchildren due to new government funding arrangements.

This was covered in the i newspaper, the Guardian and in the Daily Star.

They reported that the change could mean that councils must seek the permission of schools if they are to provide some services.

We announced in 2015 that from 2017/18 the General Funding Rate – which delivered funding for such services – will be moved into the Dedicated Schools Grant and paid by a per pupil rate. Suggesting the money will be removed is therefore, incorrect.

It is our ambition to secure a school-led system, with head teachers and school leaders best placed to run their schools and to drive improvement by working together. We recognise, however, that we need to support the transition.

That’s why we have announced additional funding for school improvement once the ESG general funding rate is fully removed in September. This will amount to £50 million a year and will support local authorities to monitor and broker school improvement for weaker maintained schools.

A further £140 million will be set aside to create a new ‘Strategic School Improvement Fund’, which will support school improvement, alongside building school-led capacity in parts of the country where it is needed.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The government has protected the core schools budget in real terms since 2010, with school funding at its highest level on record at more than £40 billion in 2016-17 – and that is set to rise, as pupil numbers rise, over the next two years to £42 billion by 2019-20‎.

 

As announced at the Spending Review, we will be removing the Education Services Grant general funding rate from 2017-18. We recognise that local authorities will need support with this change, which is why we have introduced a new transitional grant worth £125 million in 2017-18. We have also amended regulations so that local authorities can use other sources of funding to pay for education services once the ESG is removed from September 2017. This will allow local authorities to retain some of their maintained schools’ Dedicated Schools Grant so that they can continue to deliver the statutory duties that they carry out on behalf of maintained schools.

Grammar schools

On Thursday, 16 March, the Daily Mail covered comments on grammar schools from the MP Graham Brady.

Mr Brady said that more grammar schools will be needed to stop  former public school pupils from dominating top professions such as law, politics and the civil service.

Through our Schools that Work for Everyone consultation, we are hoping to lift the ban on grammar schools to give even more pupils access to a good school place, and the option to choose what kind of school they go to.

A study by the University of Bristol found the educational gain from attending a grammar school to be around twice as high (7-8 GCSE grades) for FSM pupils as for all pupils (around 3.5 grades).

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We want to create a country where everyone has a fair chance to go as far as their talents will take them, and education is at the heart of this.

 

We know selective education can have a positive impact on pupils, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. That’s why our consultation on creating more good school places in more parts of the country includes proposals to scrap the ban on new grammar schools – on the strict condition they improve the education of other pupils in the system – as well as harnessing the expertise and resources of our universities, and our independent and faith schools. We are carefully considering responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

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