Education Update

Department for Education written statement – made on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson The Secretary of State for Education

I would like to update the House on some of the Department for Education’s key achievements since 2010.

We are helping families with the cost of childcare. The parents of over 1.4 million children are taking advantage of funded early education in 2019. This Government is committed to making childcare more affordable and more accessible, saving eligible families up to £5,000 per child every year.

  • We offer free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds. The Government offers a free universal 15 hours per week of childcare, with a free additional 15 hours for 3 and 4 year olds whose parents are in work (a total of 30 hours of free childcare per week for eligible working parents).
  • The vast majority of eligible children benefit from these entitlements. An estimated 328,200 children aged 3 and 4 were benefitting from 30 hours free childcare in the spring term of 2019. Take up of the 15 hours offer is very high - 92% of 3 year olds and 95% of 4 year olds are benefiting from free hours.
  • An estimated 600,000 children have benefitted from a 30 hours place throughout the first two years of national delivery.
  • We offer free childcare for disadvantaged 2 year olds. The Government offers 15 hours of free childcare per week for the most disadvantaged families.
  • The vast majority of eligible children benefit from this entitlement. In the spring term of 2019, 148,800 2 year olds from disadvantaged families benefited from 15 hours a week of funded free childcare.
  • Over 850,000 children have benefitted from the 2-year olds entitlement since it began.
  • Free childcare is popular with parents of 2-4 year olds. There is 95% satisfaction among parents using the 2-year-old entitlement, 91% among parents using universal hours for 3-4 year-olds, and 95% among parents using the 30 hours entitlement on how the funded hours can be used. Three quarters of parents reported having more money to spend since they started using the 30 hours, and 80% said the quality of their family life had improved.
  • We plan to spend around £3.5 billion on our early education entitlements this year alone, and £3.6 billion planned for next year. We want to support early years providers in delivering high quality care and education, which is why the Chancellor recently announced funding to increase hourly rates for the Government’s free hours offers for 2020-21.
  • We are raising the quality and professionalism of the early years workforce by investing £20 million in high quality professional development for early years practitioners.

We are giving schools the biggest funding boost in a decade over the next three years: a total of £14 billion more - a cash increase of £2.6 billion next year, £4.8 billion and £7.1 billion in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively, compared to 2019-20.

  • We are levelling up funding across the country, so that every secondary school will receive a minimum of £5,000 per pupil in 2020-21, and every primary school will receive a minimum of £3,750 per pupil in 2020-21, rising to £4,000 by 2021-22.
  • This is in addition to the £1.5 billion per year we will continue to provide to fund additional pension costs for teachers over the next three years. Taken together, this means that by 2022-23 we will be providing an additional £150 million a week to our schools.
  • We introduced the National Funding Formula to distribute school funding fairly across the country, ensuring funding is based on schools’ and pupils’ needs and characteristics, not accidents of geography or history.
  • We are investing additional funding for 16 to 19 year olds, with increased funding of £400 million in 2020-21 – the biggest injection of new money into 16-19 education in a single year since 2010. In addition, we will be allocating at least £100 million in 2020-21 to cover pension costs in the further education sector.

Our education reforms mean more children are getting a world class education at good or outstanding schools. 85% of all children are now in good or outstanding schools, up from 66% in 2010. As of March 2019 there were 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, thanks in part to our reforms.

  • Failing schools are turned around as sponsored academies. Over 7 out of 10 inspected sponsored academies are now good or outstanding – only 1 in 10 were judged good or outstanding before they converted. There are over 2,300 sponsored academies.
  • Where schools are judged inadequate by Ofsted, we act quickly. For a maintained school, this means becoming an academy to benefit from the support of a strong sponsor. For an academy, we will transfer them to a stronger academy trust if necessary.
  • We are increasing support for schools that need additional help. We will be offering around 2,400 schools rated ‘Requires Improvement’ by Ofsted optional support in a package worth up to £16.5 million overall.
  • We are making it easier for underperforming schools to access school improvement support. Through the Teaching School Hubs test and learn phase around 2,000 schools will benefit from reforms to strengthen and improve school leadership. A competitive grant procurement is underway for Teaching School Hub ‘test-and-learn’ phase, which is the first part of our plans to strengthen the current structure of system leadership.
  • Introducing a clearer and simpler school accountability system. This offers much greater clarity about when we will and will not intervene in a school, by removing the floor and coasting standards, and acknowledges that Ofsted, as an independent body, is best placed to identify inadequate educational performance which requires intervention.
  • We are tackling teacher workload. Our wide-ranging programme of work includes publication of the workload reduction toolkit which supports school leaders, teachers and other staff to address workload issues in their school. We have published the Making Data Work report, and are acting on the recommendations to tackle excessive data burdens in schools.
  • In 2018, we announced an additional £7.7 million to support teachers to access high quality curriculum resources and reduce their workload.
  • The findings from the Teacher Workload Survey 2019, published on 11 October, suggest there has been a reduction between 2016 and 2019 in reported working hours for teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders of 5 hours a week. Whilst this is encouraging, we will continue to take action to address workload and improve work-life balance.
  • We are working hard to recruit and retain brilliant teachers. In January 2019 we launched the Early Career Framework. This will underpin a fully-funded, two-year package of structured training and support for all early career teachers, linked to the best available research evidence. We recruited 34,595 teachers to start their training in 2018, over 2,600 more than in 2017-18.
  • We are making sure teaching is an attractive graduate profession. It is vital we ensure that the pay offer for teachers is positioned at the top of the graduate labour market, and that is why we are setting out plans to significantly raise starting pay to £30,000 by September 2022.

We are opening high performing new free schools to improve choice for parents and outcomes for children. Through the free schools programme, this Government has funded thousands of good new school places and opened schools across the country.

  • As of 1 October 2019 there are 507 open free schools, 48 University Technical Colleges and 24 studio schools. These will provide over 320,000 places when at capacity.
  • We have approved a further 227 applications from groups that we are now working with to establish new free schools.
  • In 2019, 7 of the top 15 provisional Progress 8 scores were achieved by free schools, including 3 of the top 5 – Eden Boys’ School Birmingham, Eden Girls’ School Coventry and Michaela Community School in Brent.
  • Free schools are disproportionately located in more deprived areas, and 18 per cent of all open free schools are dedicated to special needs or alternative provision.
  • We have opened two specialist Maths Free Schools, offering A Levels in Maths, Further Maths and Physics, for young people aged 16-19 who wish to study mathematical subjects at university. These two schools are achieving excellent results: in 2019 King’s Maths School reported that 100% of their students achieved grades of A or A* at A Level Maths; Exeter Maths School reported that 93% of students achieved an A or A* in their Maths A Level. There are a further five such schools planned to open with funding secured for a total of eleven, enabling at least one Maths Free School to open in every region.

We are ensuring that all children are able to succeed, no matter their background. The attainment gap has narrowed between disadvantage pupils and others, as measured by the disadvantage gap index, by 13 percent at age 11 and 9 percent at age 16 since 2011.

  • We are supporting the most disadvantaged pupils, including those eligible for free school meals, with additional funding. The Government has spent more than £15 billion since 2011 – and another £2.4 billion this year - through the pupil premium to tackle educational inequality.
  • We have increased funding for pupils with Special Educational Needs. We will be investing an additional £780 million in high needs funding in 2020-21 – a 12% increase on the amount available this year. This will bring the total spent on those with the most complex needs to over £7 billion.

We are getting reading off to a strong start so children have the literacy they need to succeed. In 2019, 82% of pupils met the expected standard in the phonics screening check, compared to just 58% when the check was introduced (in 2012).

More pupils are studying the core academic subjects at school. The proportion of all pupils at the end of key stage 4 entering the English Baccalaureate (studying GCSEs in English language and literature, maths, the sciences, geography or history and a language) has risen from 22% in 2010 to 40% in 2019 in state funded schools.

  • Since the EBacc performance measure was first introduced in 2010, the proportion of pupils entering the EBacc has increased from 22% in 2010 to 40% in 2019 in state funded schools.
  • Mathematics has been the most popular A Level since 2014, making up 11.4% of all A Level entries in 2019.

This Government has created one million more school places. We are on track to create 1 million new school places this decade - the largest increase for two generations. This follows a fall of 100,000 school places between 2004 and 2010.

We are creating T Levels – a new gold standard technical qualification so that young people gain the skills they need for employment. T Levels will be high-quality technical alternatives to A Levels, combining classroom theory, practical learning and a meaningful industry placement.

  • We are on track for the first three T Levels for Digital, Education and Construction to be taught from September 2020, with a further seven taught from 2021, and all 25 by 2023.
  • We have extensive support in place for their implementation, including £60 million to build capacity for industry placements, £8 million to prepare teachers and leaders and a £38m capital fund.
  • Each T Level will require students to undertake a 45-day work placement.
  • Overall additional funding for T Levels will rise to an extra £500 million a year once the programme is fully rolled out.

Record rates of 18 year olds are going to university. In 2018, one-third of all 18 year olds entered full-time higher education – the highest on record. The proportion of 18 year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds entering full-time higher education is up from 13.6% in 2009 to 20.2% in 2018. This is the highest on record.

  • We have removed the cap on student numbers, allowing more people with the talent and potential the opportunity to be successful at university.
  • Through the Higher Education and Research Act we introduced a duty to promote equality of opportunity in access and participation in higher education and we expect to see further progress, particularly among the most selective institutions.
  • All higher education providers must now publish application offer, acceptance, dropout and attainment rates of students by ethnicity, gender and socio-economic background. This will help hold the sector to account for their record on access and retention of students from lower socio-economic and other backgrounds.
  • Higher Education providers have committed to spend £860 million in 2019/20 on measures to improve access and student success – up significantly from £404 million in 2009. The Office for Students is monitoring how effectively higher education providers spend this money.

Improving higher technical education by establishing new Institutes of Technology – making it easier to upskill and gain highly skilled employment.

  • An Institute of Technology is a legally binding collaboration between further education colleges, higher education institutions and employers.
  • They are being created to specialise in delivering higher technical training at Levels 4 and 5 (above A Level but below degree level), primarily in STEM subjects aligned to local economic priorities.
  • IoTs will deliver a mix of apprenticeship and classroom-based provision for industries such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering – industries where there are skills gaps and growing demand - in order to provide employers with the skilled workforce they need.

We are investing up to £290 million capital funding to build an IoT network across the country. The first 12 IoTs are now starting to go live, following a comprehensive competition, and we have recently announced plans to open up to 8 more to enable there to be an IoT in every region of the country.

More people are benefitting from new high-quality apprenticeships. Our reforms have fundamentally changed what apprenticeships involve and the long-term opportunities they provide.

  • Over 1.8 million people have started an apprenticeship since May 2015.
  • Over 60% of starts are now on high-quality, industry-designed standards, with over 500 available.
  • In 2019-20 funding for apprenticeships is over £2.5 billion, double what was spent in 2010-11.

Fewer young people are not in education, employment or training. The number of 16-24 year olds not in education, employment or training in the UK is down by 281,000 since 2010.

  • We have raised the participation age so that young people are now required to continue in education or training until at least their 18th birthday. Young people can choose to participate through full-time education, a job or volunteering combined with combined with part-time study, or by undertaking an apprenticeship. This gives all young people the opportunity to develop skills and qualifications that will open doors to future employment, help them make the most of their potential, and earn more over their lifetime.

We are improving support for the most vulnerable children.

  • Adoption waiting times have come down. The average time between a child entering care and being placed with a family has reduced by 7 months since 2012-13.
  • We are supporting families through the Adoption Support Fund. This has provided over £130 million to local authorities and regional adoption agencies for therapeutic support to over 5,000 families.
  • We are supporting foster families to provide on-going support to young people leaving care. We are investing a further £10 million to expand Staying Put, to create stable homes for care leavers as they become adults. The programme will help more care leavers to continue living with their foster families until they reach 21. We are providing a further £6 million in 2021/22 to roll out Staying Close across the country, helping young people leaving residential care to continue to get on-going support from their previous carers they know and trust.
  • We are helping Care Leavers achieve their ambitions. We launched the Care Leaver Covenant and are spending £5 million on 3 Social Impact Bonds to help care leavers into education, employment or training. We are also investing £3 million to extend the Pupil Premium Plus to all 16-18 year old care leavers, supporting their transition into further education.
  • We are improving support for children in care. Our Innovation Programme has invested £200 million in 98 projects to enable local authorities to test new approaches to supporting children in the social care system.
  • We are strengthening families. Building on and scaling the learning and evidence from the Innovation Programme by enabling up to 60 local authorities to adopt and adapt whole system and targeted projects which have successfully supported more children to stay at home thriving in stable family environments.
  • The Government has committed £920 million to the second phase of the Troubled Families programme, which aims to achieve significant and sustained improvement for up to 400,000 families in challenging circumstances.
  • We are improving the quality and prestige of the social care workforce. More than 2,200 high achieving graduates have been trained through fast-track programmes Frontline and Step up to Social Work. The Assessed and Supported Year in Employment has supported more than 15,000 newly qualified social workers since 2012.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS52