Thursday, 27 September 2012

Who cares about the 14-19 phase now?

by Mark Corney

The key point about the Key Stage 4 reforms announced by the Coalition Government is that 16 is reinforced as the 'break' in the English education and skills system.

Up to 16, pupils will follow an academic education of English, maths, science, history and geography.

At 16, pupils will be tested on their academically ability.

And it is after 16 when young people have permission to choose between an academic, vocational or apprenticeship pathway.

Together, the Key Stage 4 statement and the Wolf Review have 'blown out of the water' the idea of a 14 to 19 phase where students are obliged to study Maths and English throughout these years but can follow an academic or vocational curriculum.

The break at 16 and the proposed English BAC Certificate is standard Conservative Party policy.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Linking the Pupil Premium to Premium Practice

by Tricia Hartley

Today’s Ofsted report suggesting that Pupil Premium funding is having little impact on schools is disappointing but not surprising. Schools are struggling to cope with budget cuts, so using these funds to plug the gaps would be a logical strategy. However, the survey on which the report is based asked schools about how their practice has changed rather than what impact the additional funds have had, so we may hope that some schools have simply used them to enhance strategies which have already proved effective in raising attainment amongst poorer children.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Have an income, get a job

by Mark Corney

Despite the double-dip an extra 236,000 people were in employment between May and July this year compared with the previous quarter.

Good news until the headline figure is broken down.

Only 30% were full-time opportunities, either full-time jobs or full-time self-employment. The majority, 53%, were part-time jobs or part-time self-employment. And a further 10% were on government supported training programmes such as the Work Programme reflecting the failure of participants to be placed in jobs.

At the same time, a third of the new employment opportunities were temporary even though most of them wanted a full-time job.

And so we have an economy which is producing part-time, temporary and self-employment opportunities. But the other side of the coin is the type of people who are filling them.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A retrospective graduate tax

by Mark Corney

Ministers and their shadows remain open to the charge of introducing tuition fees for full time higher education when ‘they got free HE’.

Even though funding tuition fees through income contingent loans softens the blow for current students, the sour taste between the generations lingers.

As someone who received 'free HE' I have sympathy with the argument that my generation should make a contribution.

Somehow a policy must be devised where graduates before 1998 make a contribution towards the 'free' higher education they received.