https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2017/09/28/education-in-the-media-28-september-2017/

Education in the media: 28 September 2017

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Today’s education in the media looks at a report from the Sutton Trust and an interview with a new teacher.

Sutton Trust

A report released today by the Sutton Trust looks at early years policy in the UK, and specifically the new offer of 30 hours a week free childcare for working parents. Despite the fact that the offer saves parents on average £5,000 per year per child and being backed by £6billion of funding each year, the report suggests it could harm social mobility and is not adequately resourced. This was covered by The Guardian, Sky News, Nursery World, TES, and Schools Week.

Early delivery of the 30 hours offer has been a great success, with around 15,000 children across the country already being able to benefit from the offer. We are already seeing the positive benefits the additional hours are having, taking huge pressures off families’ finances.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Every child should receive the same high-quality care and support, regardless of their background or where they live, which is why we are increasing spending on childcare to over £6 billion per year by 2019-20.

Alongside our 30 hours free childcare offer, we are spending over £2.5bn on free childcare for disadvantaged 2-year-olds over five years, as well as providing extra support for disadvantaged families through the Early Years Pupil Premium.

Our independent evaluation of the early delivery areas showed that 30 hours did not have any significant adverse effects on the 2 year old offer. This evaluation also showed the 30 hours offer supported families by taking huge pressure off their finances and helping them increase their working hours.

School Funding

A group of headteachers from 4,000 schools over 17 counties announced today, Thursday 28 September, that they are writing to parents to criticise the funding they will receive under the national funding formula. To coincide with this letter, the headteachers have analysed government statistics for each of their areas to work out what amount they will receive under the national funding formula. This was covered by The Guardian (p5), Mail (p29) and BBC News online.

Under the national funding formula, all of the counties from this campaign are set to gain:

  • Northamptonshire - 4.3%
  • West Sussex – 6.5%
  • East Sussex – 5.4%
  • Dorset - 5.3%
  • Surrey – 4.8%
  • Suffolk – 4.7%
  • Essex – 4.7%
  • Brighton and Hove – 1.7%
  • Wokingham – 4.4%
  • Cambridgeshire – 4.4%
  • Thurrock – 4.0%
  • Peterborough – 3.5%
  • Devon – 3.5%
  • Cornwall – 3.4%
  • Norfolk – 3.3%
  • Oxfordshire - 3.0%
  • Hertfordshire – 2.5%

In particular, BBC online runs comments from Jules White, headteacher of Tanbridge House School in West Sussex. Under our new formula, Tanbridge House will gain 10.9 per cent by 2019-20 and specifically benefits from the introduction of the £4,800 minimum per pupil funding level for secondaries.

The campaign’s claim is also based on a flawed calculation that starts from the position of school budgets in 2015-16, and then calculates the cost pressures on school budgets over 4 years. It does not reflect that most of these pressures have already been absorbed by schools, at the same time as standards continue to rise. The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies have said that there will be no cut in overall schools funding, in real terms per pupil, over the next two years; and that, if the starting point was 1990, the growth in per pupil funding by 2020 would be over 70 per cent in real terms.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The National Funding Formula – backed by £1.3bn of investment - will mean that for the first time school funding will be distributed according to a formula based on the individual needs and characteristics of every school in the country. It has been widely welcomed and will put an end to historic disparities in the system.

As the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has confirmed, overall schools funding is being protected at a national level in real terms per pupil over the next two years.

Our formula will provide significant gains for under-funded schools of up to 3% per pupil in 2018-19 and a further 3% in 2019-20.

Teacher interview

The Mirror runs an interview with teacher Shannon Parsons. Shannon used the Get Into Teaching website to train as a teacher after first experiencing a taster session at her local school. She says she’s now in her second year of teaching and says she’s never been happier.

She discusses the merits of teaching and states that most teachers love and enjoy their jobs. She says:

“Nothing beats the moment when you see someone understand something for the first time. I also love science so much – and when I see a student start to enjoy it too I get a real kick. If a boy thanks me for a class and says he can’t wait for the next lesson, I’ll be buzzing for hours. That feedback is magical.”

Teaching remains an attractive career and there are now a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010 – and overall the number of new teachers entering our classrooms outnumbers those who retire or leave.

If you are interested in funding our more about teaching please visit the Get Into Teaching website.