Today’s Education in the Media looks at the Higher and Further Education review, school exclusions and the Together We Can Tackle Child Abuse campaign.
On Monday, 19 February, the Prime Minister and Education Secretary launched a review of post-18 education. The review, led by finance expert Philip Augar, will focus on four key issues: value for money; choice; access; and skills provision.
Yesterday’s announcement received widespread media coverage and was picked up by all major print and broadcast outlets. This included the Daily Mail, FT, Evening Standard, the Express, Metro, the Sun, Telegraph, I news, Mirror, Guardian and Northern Echo.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
Our post-18 education system has many strengths. It has a fantastic global reputation, we have record rates of disadvantaged students going to university and we are transforming technical education so employers have access to the skills they need.
However, with a system where almost all institutions are charging the same price for courses – when some clearly cost more than others and some have higher returns to the student than others – it is right that we ask questions about choice and value for money. We also need to look at the balance between academic study and technical education to ensure there is genuine choice for young people and that we are giving employers access to a highly skilled workforce.
Following the announcement of the review, a number of organisations have come forward with supportive comments.
Neil Carberry, Chartered Business Institute said:
Businesses will be looking to the review to build on the strengths of our world-leading university sector and on the role further education plays in supporting the industrial strategy.
Maintaining a strong independent funding stream to universities through fees will be key, but there are important issues to address. These include the drop in part-time study, maintenance support for the most disadvantaged students and improving the provision of higher technical education. We look forward to working with the review team.
David Hughes, Association of Colleges said:
I am very pleased that the Review is looking at the whole system of post-18 education funding. The growth in higher education numbers and the widened access has almost exclusively been for young people taking traditional 3 year undergraduate degrees. That is good news for our economy and for society, and must not be damaged going forward.
However, that very growth has been at the expense of adequate and fair investment in the 50% of young people who leave education at 18 and who want to study to higher levels later. Their opportunities have been hampered because of the lack of attention, leading to fewer chances, less funding and a lack of support for them to learn whilst working.
Chair of the post -18 education review panel Philip Augar said:
I am delighted to chair this crucial review and to work alongside an excellent panel experienced in many different parts of the tertiary education sector. A world class post-18 education system has never been more important to business, society and the economy. We will be focused on ensuring that the system meets those needs by driving up access, quality, choice and value for money for students of all kinds and taxpayers.
I look forward to engaging widely with students, business, and providers across the post-18 education landscape. This is a wide open and far reaching review. We begin with no preconceptions and our first priority will be a serious examination of the evidence and hearing from a broad range of stakeholders who like us are committed to ensuring the system works for everyone.
Secondary school exclusions
On Tuesday, 20 February, the Times , BBC Online, Daily Mail, Yorkshire Post and the TES reported on an Ofsted press release on exclusion rates in the North. Ofsted’s Regional Director for the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber, Cathy Kirby, is calling on secondary schools in eight local authority areas to explain their high exclusion rates.
Any decision to exclude a pupil should be lawful, reasonable and fair. While exclusion can be used as a sanction for schools to deal with poor behaviour, permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Any decision to exclude a pupil should be lawful, reasonable, and fair, and permanent exclusion should always be used as a last resort. Should a school believe there are grounds to exclude a child, either for a fixed period or permanently, parents have the opportunity to ask for the decision to be reviewed.
We have announced an externally led review of exclusion practice to ensure we have a system that works for every pupil, regardless of background.
Tacking Child Abuse Campaign
Today, Tuesday 20 February, we are launching phase three of the Together, We Can Tackle Child Abuse campaign.
We all have a role to play in protecting children and young people from child abuse and neglect. The campaign encourages members of the public to help protect children and young people by reporting any concerns of abuse or neglect to their local council, NSPCC or the police. It tackles barriers that stop people reporting, to get help to children and young people more quickly.
Watch this video to find out more about our campaign: Together We Can Tackle Child Abuse.