https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/07/25/education-in-the-media-wednesday-25-july-2018/

Education in the Media: Wednesday 25 July 2018

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at the publication of the Education Policy Institute’s (EPI) annual report on the state of education in England, as well as the Education Select Committee’s (ESC) report on Alternative Provision.

EPI Report

Today, Wednesday 25 July, the EPI’s Annual Report was published which looks at education in England. Key findings from the report include the fact that the disadvantage gap across all GCSE subjects has narrowed in the last year to 18.4 months.

However, the report also highlighted that the EPI estimate it will take 100 years to close the disadvantage gap completely. This was covered by the Times and Mirror, followed by an opinion article by David Laws of the EPI for the Times Red Box.

Tackling the disadvantaged gap is a key priority for the Government. We have established the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) with a £137 million grant to identify the best methods of raising achievement in disadvantaged pupils.

We are also investing a further £72 million in 12 opportunity areas over three financial years to combat social mobility issues, prioritising resource and bringing local and national partners together. These 12 areas will also benefit from a share of £22 million through the Essential Life Skills programme to help young people in these areas develop life skills and employability.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

Closing the attainment gap to make sure every child fulfils their potential is a key priority for this Government. In fact, the gap has closed by 3.2% in the last year alone – one of the highest reductions we’ve seen since 2011.

To ensure this continues, we are targeting support at some of the poorest areas of the country through our £72m Opportunity Areas programme and our Social Mobility Action Plan is focusing £800 million of resources on helping disadvantaged children.

This builds on the 1.9 million more children now in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 – up from 66% of pupils in 2010 to 86% of pupils as of March 2018.

Alternative Provision

Today, Wednesday 25 July, the Education Select Committee (ESC) published a report on Alternative Provision. This was covered by BBC News, BBC Victoria Derbyshire, The Independent, The Guardian, and BBC Breakfast.

The report claims that there are increasing levels of exclusions and that alternative provision is not of a good enough quality. We will be considering the recommendations made by the Select Committee in their report. We have produced a document that outlines how government will transform alternative provision to ensure that the system delivers high-quality teaching and tailored education for children from a range of backgrounds and circumstances.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

The number of children being excluded is lower than it was ten years ago but exclusions should only ever be used as a last resort. The rules are clear that they should always be reasonable and justified. Where pupils are excluded the quality of education they receive should be no different than mainstream settings.

We are taking a range of actions to drive up the quality of alternative provision, and have launched an external review to look at how exclusions are used and why certain groups are disproportionally affected.

The full report from the DfE about alternative provision can be viewed here.