https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/06/19/education-in-the-media-19-june-2017/

Education in the media: 19 June 2017

Today’s blog looks at those from the education sector who have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, coverage relating to the update of the new computer science GCSE, and a story about how teachers help adopted children.

Queen’s birthday honours

On Friday, 16 June, the Queen’s Birthday Honours list was published. This included over 130 people who were recognised for outstanding contributions to education, children’s services or advancing equality and diversity.

The full list is available here and includes headteachers, chief executives of charities and academy trusts, university staff, authors, early years specialists, teachers, foster carers and more.

Department for Education Permanent Secretary Jonathan Slater said:

I would like to congratulate everyone recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. These are extraordinary people, whose achievements improve the lives of children, young people and adults through excellent care and education, and promoting equality and diversity for all.

Computer science GCSE

In 2015 we introduced a new computer science GCSE to replace the existing ICT qualification. The new computer science GCSE is more academic and more closely aligned to what the computing industry would expect from young people coming into the profession.

The new qualification, which was designed with extensive input from industry experts, was taught for the first time in 2015.

Today, 19 June, the BBC reported both on its website and on Radio 4’s Today Programme that the British Computing Society has concerns that uptake of the new computer science qualification isn’t going up quickly enough, meaning that once the old ICT qualification is phased out, a lower number of pupils overall could be studying computer-based courses.

It’s important to note that since it was introduced the number of pupils taking computer science GCSE has more than doubled from 33,414 pupils to 69,350 and we expect that number to continue to rise while ICT GCSE is phased out.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We want to raise standards of achievement and participation in STEM subjects to ensure our future workforce has the skills to drive the productivity and economy of this country. That’s why we have introduced the new computer science GCSE, which has been designed with input from industry experts to develop pupils' computational thinking skills needed for today’s economy, including coding and important IT topics such as data storage, networking and cyber security.

Support for adopted children at school

On Monday, 19 June, a piece in the Times discussed the support available to adopted children in schools, recognising that their needs can be more profound than non-adopted children.

The Adoption Support Fund helps to pay for therapeutic services such as attachment-based therapy and art and drama therapy for adopted children. The Adoption Support Fund has provided therapeutic support to over 16,000 families since May 2015. In this financial year alone, £28 million has been made available.

There is also the Care Pathways Expert Group, jointly commissioned by Department for Health and Department for Education. The overall aim is to ensure that the emotional wellbeing and mental health needs of children and young people in care, those adopted from care or under a Special Guardianship Order (SGO), and care leavers are better met.

Through the Children and Social Work Act, we will also be issuing statutory guidance for schools and local authorities on the new duties for virtual school heads and designated teachers.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

 We want all adopted children to feel supported at school, which is why we made changes through the Children and Social Work Act to issue statutory guidance for schools and local authorities to help improve the educational outcomes for adopted children.

 

Adoptive families and children also have access to the Adoption Support Fund – backed by a government commitment totalling £70 million – which helps to pay for therapeutic services.

If you know someone working in education or children’s services or making a difference to equality for women and the LGB&T community who deserves an honour, please contact: Honours.team@education.gov.uk.