Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at national offer day, 11 plus exams, apprenticeships, and the RSE curriculum.
National Offer Day
Today, Friday 1 March, primary school pupils across the country will find out which secondary school has offered them a place for September 2019. This has been covered by the Independent, the Sun, the Mail, the Times and the Mirror.
The reports say record number of children will miss out on their first-choice of secondary school this year, according to analysis by the Good Schools Guide.
The latest figures from last year show 82.1% of pupils were offered their first choice of secondary school and 93.8% of pupils were offered one of their top three choices last year.
We have already committed £7b to creating new school places between 2015 and 2021.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:
Today is a significant milestone for thousands of parents and children finding out which secondary school they will be attending from September. This government is determined to create more choice for parents when it comes to their children’s education and we have created 825,000 school places since 2010, and are on track to see that number rise to a million by 2020.
Standards have also risen, with 86% of schools now good or outstanding, compared to 68% in 2010, and last year more than nine out of ten pupils got a place at one of their top three choices, setting them on the path for a successful future.
Today, the Independent (p11) has run a positive report about the benefits of doing an apprenticeship. The piece reports that apprentices are likely to earn £50,000 more than a graduate over their lifetime.
It is our ambition for young people to have a range of options for further and higher education, and be able to choose what is best suited for them.
The Sunemployment has also run a piece on apprenticeships, tackling some of the myths and misconceptions and highlighting the offer of earning whilst learning. The piece also looks at the option to train at every level up to degree level in a range of professions, from cyber security to fashion.
Relationships and Sex Education
The piece states that “Independent schools can make up their own minds on how much and how far to teach about sex. When parents can afford it, they can break free of Hinds’ department” implying the new guidance published by the DfE does not apply to independent schools. This is untrue: the guidance on Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education will apply to all schools including independent schools from September 2020.
The piece also states that “[Damian] Hinds wants instruction in LGBT ‘sensitivity and inclusiveness’ to be ‘integral throughout the programme of study’, including in primary schools”, implying that this is compulsory for primaries. While we expect LGBT content to be covered at secondary, there is no specific requirement to teach about LGBT in primary schools – they can cover LGBT content if they consider it age appropriate to do so.