Education Secretary Justine Greening has (1 October) announced a series of measures to place education at the heart of the government’s ambition to provide opportunity for all and ensure we are building the skills needed to secure the nation’s prosperity.
The announcements will build on the government’s record of driving up standards in education – with 1.8 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, more rigorous qualifications and fairer funding for schools, backed by £1.3 billion of additional funding.
The measures announced include:
Help for students
To help more young people access the widest choice of high quality education or training, the government has outlined additional support for university students. The government has announced that it will raise the earning threshold for student loan repayments from £21,000 to £25,000 – which could mean up to an additional £360 a year for thousands of graduates early on in their career. The government is also freezing tuition fees for 2018/19 at their current rate.
Getting great teachers in the schools that need them most
The government wants to ensure every young person can reach their potential – and great teachers are at the heart of this. There are already a record number of teachers in our schools – 15,500 more than in 2010. To support more schools to attract the best staff, the Education Secretary has set out a series of measures, including:
- Piloting a new student loan reimbursement programme for science and Modern Foreign Language (MFL) teachers in the early years of their career, targeted in the areas of the country that need them most. The pilot scheme will benefit around 800 MFL and 1,700 science teachers a year. A typical teacher in their fifth year of work would benefit by around £540 through reimbursement, and this would be more for teachers with additional responsibilities. This is in addition to the benefit that teachers will get from the newly-announced student loan repayment threshold rise.
- New style bursaries in maths will also be piloted, with generous upfront payments of £20,000 and early retention payments of £5,000 in the third and fifth year of a teacher’s career. Increased amounts of £7,500 will also be available to encourage the best maths teachers to teach in more challenging schools.
- £30 million investment in tailored support for schools that struggle the most with recruitment and retention, including investment in professional development training so that these schools can benefit from great teaching.
- Supporting our best teacher trainer providers, including top Multi Academy Trusts, with Northern Powerhouse funding to expand their reach in to challenging areas in the north that do not currently have enough provision so more areas benefit from excellent teacher training, and help increase the supply of great teachers to the schools that need them the most.
Tackling inequality and boosting opportunity across the country
Tackling the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is a crucial part of unlocking the potential of every child and, for many children, we know this gap is already in place before they even start primary school. In particular, research shows that five-year-old children who struggle with language are six times less likely to reach the expected standard in English at age 11 then children who have has good language skills at five, and ten times less likely to achieve the expected level in maths.
To help tackle this, the Education Secretary has set out:
- A new national network of English hubs will be established across the country with a specific focus on improving early language and literacy – starting with £12m in the north.
- £6 million further investment to expand Maths Hubs to more challenging areas, spreading excellence in maths teaching.
- The latest round of the £140 million Strategic School Improvement Fund which will include a new focus on boosting literacy and numeracy skills in Reception year.
- £5 million investment to trial evidence-based home learning environment (HLE) support programmes in the north of England, which focus on early language and literacy.
- Plans to transform alternative provision so that no pupils outside of mainstream education are left behind – working with school leaders, parents and local authorities to ensure it is fit for purpose and ensures every child has access to good education, regardless of their background or their ability.
Building the next generation of skills our economy needs to thrive in a modern, post-Brexit economy
We want to deliver the skilled workforce our economy needs to stay competitive. Today’s announcement includes a number of steps to continue to diversify the training and quality of qualifications on offer and ensure we remain at the forefront of higher education:
- A boost for degree-apprenticeships – with 27 new projects tasked with promoting and increasing this high-quality route into employment – which allows apprentices to earn while they learn, while gaining a full degree that has been developed in partnership with employers and universities. Projects will be spread across the country and are part of a £10 million fund launched in 2016 that has already supported more than 2,000 people to begin a degree apprenticeship.