Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at Safer Internet Day and Academy Trust pay.
Safer Internet Day
Today, Tuesday 5 February, the Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi will give a speech for Safer Internet Day, run by the UK Internet Centre. This coincides with Children’s Mental Health Week, and has been covered by the Telegraph.
Safer Internet Day aims to spark national conversation about the responsible use of technology. This year the theme is around consent in an online context and asking young people how they give and receive consent online, to improve knowledge and understanding on what is an important issue.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:
The internet can be an amazing resource. Used wisely, it can open up a world of information and learning, but as any parent knows only too well these days, with these benefits come serious and real dangers online.
We must provide children with the skills to use technology and take advantage of the online world effectively and safely. We are making Relationships Education compulsory in all primary schools and Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in all secondary schools, to sit alongside the existing Computing curriculum. Teachers will address online safety and appropriate behaviour in a way that is relevant to pupils’ lives.
All children will be taught about online friendships as well as to face-to-face relationships. I want children to understand that the same rules of good behaviour and kindness that they are taught in the playground also apply online.
Academy Trust Salaries
Today, Lord Agnew has written to the chairs of 28 academy trusts that are not engaging with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) on salaries and have not committed to reduce salaries deemed excessive. This was reported in the Times.
The letter calls on trust chairs to present plans to revise down salaries or justify the pay of those earning £150,000 or more.
Alongside these letters, Lord Agnew will also send a separate letter to all the chairs of all trusts, thanking them for their work over the past year. This letter will draw attention to the recent landmark announcement that 50% of children in state-funded schools in England are taught in an academy.
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Schools System Lord Agnew, said:
Academies are raising standards in schools across the country – replacing underperforming council-run schools in some of the most disadvantaged areas and helping young people to raise their aspirations through a better standard of education.
The best academies place freedom in the hands of school leaders but with that autonomy comes greater accountability and transparency, which is exactly why I am insistent that the salaries of their executives are justifiable. And just because we are advocates of the academies programme, doesn’t mean we won’t call a trust out where we believe they are not acting responsibly.
The overwhelming majority of academies are behaving responsibly and by publicly challenging the minority of trusts that are not complying with this request, we will ensure that every pound of public money is spent as effectively as possible to continue improving the standard of education in our schools.