Today our Education in the Media blog looks at teacher workload, universities and apprenticeships.
Today, Monday 5 November, the Teacher Workload Advisory Group released a report on tackling teacher workload concerning data collection. Alongside this, the Education Secretary has written a joint letter with the teaching unions and Ofsted that underlines our support for school leaders and our ambition to reduce teacher workload. This was covered in the Guardian, the Times and the Daily Mail.
The report has found that teachers are spending more than half of their working time on non-teaching tasks such as marking and admin. Although this work is necessary from time-to –time, the Education Secretary has committed to reducing the unnecessary or excessive regularity of such tasks, as well as helping teachers to make better use of technology to simplify data systems.
The department has also committed £7.7 million for a Curriculum Fund which will include pilots on how classroom teachers use high quality curriculum programmes to help cut unnecessary workload
Today’s announcement is part of our continued work to increase support for the teaching profession, which includes boosting training opportunities for teachers in the early stages of their career, as well as a recent 3.5% pay increase for classroom teachers on the main pay range.
Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds said:
Many teachers are having to work way too many hours each week on unnecessary tasks, including excessive time spent on marking and data analysis. I want to make sure teachers are teaching, not putting data into spreadsheets. That's why I am stopping my department asking for data other than in the school’s existing format.
I am united with the unions and Ofsted in wanting teachers to do less admin. I have a straightforward message to head teachers who want their staff to cut right down on collecting data to be able to devote energies to teaching: I will support you. Frequent data drops and excessive monitoring of a child’s progress are not required either by Ofsted or by the DfE.
Today, Monday 5 November, the Education Select Committee (ESC) published a report on universities – looking at access, value for money and more. This was covered by BBC News, the Guardian, the Times, the Telegraph, the Metro, the Mirror, the Daily Mail and the Sun.
Our post-18 education review will look at how disadvantaged learners receive maintenance support and how we can make higher education accessible for all. It will also look at how we can ensure greater value for money for both students and taxpayers.
More than £860 million is going into measures for 2018/19 to widen access to university and further education colleges for students from disadvantaged backgrounds; more than double what was being spent in 2009.
We are also committed to helping future students and have increased the repayment threshold for post-2012 undergraduate student loans from £21,000 to £25,000 and will increase the repayment threshold again in April 2019 to £25,725.
On top of this, last week the department announced a further £300,000 in funding for the next stage of the Open Data Competition which is creating mobile apps to help prospective students to choose the right courses and universities for them. More choice is also being offered in higher education from a wider perspective, with over 100 universities now offering degree apprenticeships, including Cambridge.
A DfE spokesperson said:
Our reforms have seen record rates of disadvantaged 18-year-olds attending our world class universities and we want this to continue. That’s why we are pleased to see universities and further education colleges planning to spend more than £860 million on measures to improve access and outcomes for disadvantaged students.
We know that what you study and where you study really matters, and we are introducing and developing digital tools that provide data on graduate outcomes that will begin to revolutionise how students choose the right university for them. We are also reviewing post-18 education and funding which will look at how we can ensure greater value for money for both students and taxpayers.
We want to offer students more choice than ever before, which is why is it good news that over 100 universities are now on board and able to offer degree apprenticeships, including many Russell Group universities. This allows students to get a degree through an apprenticeship while earning a salary, training on the job, meaning they can bring their valuable skills to the workforce sooner than a traditional degree.
Today, Monday 5 November, the Confederation of British Industry has released their annual education and skills report. This was covered in the Times.
We are clear that we want to put quality at the heart of apprenticeships. Old style ‘frameworks’ are being replaced by new high-quality-employer designed ‘standards’. These will be universally implemented by 2020/21 and the nature of the standards will cater to the skills desired by employers.
The number of learners starting higher level apprenticeships in the provisional 2017/18 academic year was 46,900. This is an increase of 29.9% from the previous year.
As well as this, the careers statutory guidance requires schools in England to offer pupils the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills and have access to advice on their options at post-16 level, including the entrepreneurship pathway.
Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:
We are working with employers across the country so everyone leaves education ready for work, and so businesses can employ people with the higher skills they need for a rapidly changing world.
Our academic system remains world-renowned, but we are also overhauling technical education with the introduction of new T Levels in 2020 so young people have a genuine high quality choice after GCSEs. We have worked with over 200 employers to design the new T Level content so that students will have the skills that they demand.
We introduced the apprenticeship levy to create long-term investment in training and make sure large companies are supporting the next generation of workers’ skills. In response to feedback from employers, we are making the levy more flexible but we need businesses to get on board for the full benefits of this to be felt. I’ve seen some amazing programmes kick-started, providing opportunities for people of all ages in a range of exciting industries.
And it’s great news that in recent years we are also seeing the number of people starting on higher level apprenticeships increase. These apprenticeships have been developed with employers in cutting edge sectors such as aerospace engineering, digital technology and nuclear science – essential sectors if we want to continue to compete globally.