https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/08/01/protecting-young-people-in-the-care-system/

Protecting young people in the care system

Today’s Education in the Media blog looks at children in care, as well as higher education news.

Children in care

Today, Thursday 1 August, the Children’s Commissioner for England published the 2019 stability index – an annual measure of the stability of the lives of children in care. The report found that the number of children in care aged 13 or over increased by 21% between 2013 and 2018. This was covered by the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent and the Mail.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Every young person should have as secure and stable an upbringing as possible - regardless of their circumstances or background.

We have established a new national programme, backed by up to £2m funding, to help local areas protect young people from being taken advantage of by criminals or ‘county lines’ gangs.

We are also working to reduce the number of ‘out of area’ placements for children in care and to improve our response for dealing with missing people.

GSM London

Today, the Guardian, the Times, the Financial Times, I News and the Telegraph reported that GSM London, one of the biggest private providers of higher education in the UK, has gone into administration.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

We are working closely with the provider and all relevant sector bodies to ensure the students affected are given the support and advice they need to continue their studies.

We want a broad, sustainable market in higher education which offers students flexibility and a wide range of high-quality choices for where and what they study.

The vast majority of institutions are in good financial health, however we cannot rule out provider failure in a competitive market which enables choice. Both the Department for Education and the Office for Students have been clear that neither will bail out failing providers.

Office for Students

Today, the final regulations for the Office for Students (OfS) will come into force, meaning that it officially has its full range of regulatory powers.

This gives the OfS the power to fine institutions up to £500,000 or 2% of a universities’ income where it deems there is appropriate cause to do so, among other powers.

Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:

Today marks an important milestone for future students and our world-class higher education – one which I am pleased to see, having worked hard to drive through these reforms two years ago.

Our vision for the OfS was for it to be a regulator with teeth and it has already made a significant impact on the sector. Now I expect it to use its full range of powers to ensure students up and down the country are at the heart of the system and receive value for money from our universities.

For the thousands of young people collecting their A Level results this month and starting university in September, they can be confident that the OfS will be a champion for students which is able to take strong action.

Our universities are world-leading and this reputation must be protected. I look forward to getting back to work to drive a focus on ensuring all students have a high-quality higher education which leads to a successful, fulfilling career.

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