Today’s Education in the media blog focuses on the issue of ‘essay mills’ and tomorrow’s head teachers’ march on Downing Street about school funding.
Today, Thursday 27 September, a letter signed by 45 Vice Chancellors was sent to the Secretary of State, requesting that legislative action be taken to combat so called ‘essay mills’. This was reported by BBC News and also picked up by the Guardian.
The term ‘essay mills’ refers to companies who charge a fee to write essays or coursework on behalf of students.
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said:
Today's news on essay mills reveals the scale of the black market available to students - these services are normalising and enabling cheating, but also trying to devalue the quality of our degrees and put our world-class reputation at risk
University is all about learning, training your intellect and applying knowledge to a high standard. Students work incredibly hard to get a place at university and those who choose to cheat risk throwing it all away, cheating their futures, for the sake of a short-cut.
Students must not resort to cheating - it is not the solution for anyone who may be struggling on their course - the right thing is to speak to lecturers and get the right support.
Legislative options are not off the table, but I also expect universities to be taking steps to tackle this issue - the OfS will take tough action if they fail to do so.
The OECD has confirmed that the UK is putting the third biggest spender on education in the world. We are also helping schools to save money through the Schools Resource Management Strategy.
In July, we also announced a pay rise for teachers, backed by a £508 million investment from the department.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
There is more money going into schools than ever before, rising to a record £43.5 billion by 2020 – 50% more in real terms per pupil than in 2000. The OECD has recently confirmed that the UK is the third highest spender on education in the world, spending more per pupil than countries including Germany, Australia and Japan.
Every school attracts more funding per pupil through the National Funding Formula, high needs funding has risen to over £6 billion this year and the 3.5% pay rise we announced for classroom teachers on the main pay range is backed by £508 million government funding.
We know that we are asking schools to do more, which is why we are helping them to reduce the £10 billion spent each year on non-staffing costs, providing government-backed deals for things like printers and energy suppliers that are helping to save millions of pounds.