https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/10/22/education-in-the-media-monday-22-october-2018/

Education in the Media: Monday 22 October 2018

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at refinements to the criteria in the Teaching Excellence Framework, how we are promoting access to swimming in local areas, and the work we are doing surrounding teacher wellbeing.

Teaching Excellence Framework

Today, Monday 22 October, we have published the government consultation response on subject-level Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework. This was covered by the Guardian, the Telegraph, BBC News, the Independent, the Daily Mail, i News, the Daily Mirror and the Metro.

As part of the refined framework, grade inflation will now be taken into consideration as part of TEF. This is part of our wider activity to tackle this issue. This means that universities that fail to tackle grade inflation will receive a lower TEF rating.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said:

When you look at what makes our universities so prestigious, it comes down to the value of our degrees – they open up a huge range of opportunities and the chance to step into a rewarding and highly-skilled career.

The value of those degrees is threatened by grade inflation and that is a problem for students, employers and the universities themselves. These new measures will look at how we can protect our globally recognised higher education system by discouraging universities from undermining the reverence a degree qualification from the UK commands.

You can view the consultation outcome document here.

Swimming

Yesterday, Sunday 21 October, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds encouraged independent schools to share their swimming facilities and expertise with other schools in their local community. This is part of our ambition to help all children learn to swim. There was coverage of this from the Independent, the Telegraph, the Sunday Times, i News, the Sunday Express, the Mail on Sunday and the Observer.

The Education Secretary has acknowledged the contribution already being made by many of England’s 2,444 independent schools, and is now calling on more private schools to share their facilities and swimming coaches with the wider school community.

Currently, 72% of primary schools access public facilities for their swimming, with the rest using their own pools or private facilities.

The Education Secretary recently announced the development of a cross-government School Sport action plan which will aim to increase the opportunities for children to get involved in a range of sports in primary school. Swimming and water safety are compulsory parts of the National Curriculum in primary school, and we aim for all children to be able to swim 25 metres by the age of 11.

The Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

As a parent I want my children to enjoy swimming as part of an active lifestyle, and as Education Secretary I want to make sure our children grow up safe and water confident.

That’s why I wanted to partner with the Independent Schools Council to get more private schools to offer up their pools, teachers or training to their neighbouring local state schools.

Many independent schools are already doing this but others can and must do more to help every child in their community. And as these partnerships develop, I hope to see some healthy competition between and within schools so that children can not only have the health benefit of swimming, but the team spirit and personal development that comes from competitive sport.

Teacher Wellbeing

Today, Monday 22 October, the Education Support Partnerships released their Teacher Wellbeing Index 2018. This study looks at the health and wellbeing of teachers. This was covered by the Metro, the Mirror and the Sun.

We recently published a teacher workload toolkit, which aims to reduce the stress on teachers and give them access to practical advice and tools to aid their wellbeing. We are also working with the unions to cut down on unnecessary practices. This work has included a series of videos with Minister and encouraging schools to review practices regularly.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

The Education Secretary has been clear that there can be no great schools without great teachers and we have committed to tackling issues that could affect teachers’ mental health and wellbeing.

We understand that teacher mental health and wellbeing can be affected by a whole range of issues – we are considering these as part of our teacher recruitment and retention strategy. This includes thinking about how we can support schools to increase opportunities for flexible working that can support teacher wellbeing. The department has also taken a number of steps – collaborating with teachers, unions and Ofsted – to strip away excessive workload which is one of the factors that can affect wellbeing.

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