Today our blog looks at the announcement of £80m investment for the music hubs programme, as well as university drop-out rates and apprenticeships.
Today, Friday 3 January, the Department has announced continued funding for its successful music hubs programme. This has been covered by I News, The Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, TES and Schools Week.
The investment, totalling £80m, will help thousands more children learn to play musical instruments while additional funding of £1m is going to a group of charities that support pupils to learn about different styles of music. A further £4m is being invested in a range of other cultural programmes that help young people access other opportunities like film making, going to museums and acting.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:
Music, arts and culture play an essential role in enriching pupils’ education, and we want to give as many young people as possible the opportunity to learn an instrument or perform in a choir or a band.
Our continued investment will play an important role in helping young people widen their horizons and access all the opportunities that learning a musical instrument can provide - whether that be playing for pleasure or performing.
University drop-out rates
Today, the Press Association published new analysis of Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data from 2011/12 to 2016/17 on university drop-out rates. The analysis claims that two thirds of universities and colleges have seen an increase in the proportion of students dropping out. This has also been picked up by The Telegraph, The Sun, The Times, Daily Mail and Metro.
The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has previously warned universities that they must do everything in their power to ensure students complete courses.
Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:
Record levels of students are going to university, with significant increases of disadvantaged pupils reaching higher education. Universities need to focus not just on getting students through the door, but making sure they complete their course successfully.
I want to see each university and indeed courses held individually accountable for how many students are successfully obtaining a degree, so that we can be transparent and open about where there are real problems.
Many universities are doing excellent work to support students, but it’s essential that dropout rates are reduced. We cannot afford to see this level of wasted talent.
Today, the think-tank EDSK issued a press release claiming that £1.2 billion has been wasted on ‘fake apprenticeships’ – where employers and universities label training courses as apprenticeships in order to use apprenticeship levy money for them. This was covered by the Financial Times, BBC Online, the Guardian, I News, The Sun and The Times.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Our reforms mean apprenticeships are better quality, lasting for a minimum of 12 months with at least 20 per cent off the job training. In 2017 we introduced legislation so training cannot be called an apprenticeship unless it meets those basic criteria and the minimum quality requirements set by us.
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education approves all apprenticeship standards to ensure they meet high-quality requirements.