Friday Five: A Manifesto for Teachers, exclusions, the skills gap, young carers, and levelling up funding
13th October 2023
1. NASUWT release Manifesto for Teachers
This week, NASUWT released a Manifesto for Teachers. The union note a >25% fall in real terms teacher pay over the last decade has coincided with concerns about workload and the considerable demands placed on the profession. There are significant fears about a deepening recruitment and retention crisis, which could have stark consequences for children and young people’s education.
In response, NASUWT propose a New Deal for Teachers, with recommendations including, but not limited to:
- A a fully funded real-terms pay restoration for teachers
- Anational framework of statutory, contractual conditions of service for all teachers and headteachers, including a maximum 35-hour working time limit
- Paid sabbatical leave every five years to aid teacher retention
The report also notes that schools are having to respond to the challenges that children face in their lives within and beyond the school gates, such as poverty, inequality, deprivation, poor mental health, and discrimination. Here, the government need to rebuild trust and confidence in public services, including education, and ensure that schools can benefit from support from wider children’s services to meet the needs of every child.
Read the manifesto here.
2. FFT Education Datalab reports on exclusions and suspensions in 2022/23
FFT Education Datalab analyses school absence codes to estimate the exclusions and suspensions for the year 2022/23. Pupils who are permanently excluded or suspended, but who remain on the school roll, are marked as code E in registers for up to five days. From the sixth day, alternative provision is supposed to be arranged for the pupil. Using attendance data for 2021/22 and 2022/23 supplied by 10,000 schools subscribing to FFT Aspire Attendance Tracker, the article analyses rates of absence due to exclusion and suspension for both 2021/22 and 2022/23. They find that rates of exclusion were higher in 2022/23 across all year groups; as compared to the number in 2022 there seems to have been an increase in exclusion/suspension of about 33% in 2023 and even higher among pupils in Years 8 and 9. The authors posit that since suspensions greatly outnumber exclusions, there is likely to have been an increase in suspensions in 2022/23.
Read the full article here.
3. IFS report on UK skills gap
This report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies reiterates the need to make meaningful changes to the skills training landscape in the UK. The report notes that total public spending on adult skills has fallen by 31% since 2011. It also highlights the disparities in funding between higher education and further education: In 2022, the amount lent through advanced learner loans to students in advanced further education courses was less than 1% of the amount lent through higher education loans. The authors caution against making hasty policy changes, to reduce the risk of adding to the policy instability and inconsistency that have plagued the sector. They argue, instead, for reforming the existing apprenticeship levy to set a uniform rate for all private sector employers, set at a lower level than the current rates. Dr. Emily Tanner from the Nuffield Foundation, one of the authors of the report, says in response to the issue, ‘Rapid changes in the labour market mean that upskilling and retraining are essential for the workforce to thrive and skills gaps to be met. Long-term planning that takes account of the complexities and trade-offs in skills policy is needed to ensure that resources are invested effectively and in a manner that develops the skills for fulfilling and productive jobs.’ CfEY, in collaboration with Policy Connect, have authored a report on Higher Technical Qualifications that will be launched at the House of Commons at the end of the month.
Read the full report here.
4. Rapidly expanding number of young carers in the UK
Census data suggests that there are 20,945 under-18s providing between 20 and 49 hours of care, up 7% from 19,530 in 2011. The number of young carers known to Essex County Council has risen from 2,482 in 2021 to 3,577 at the most recent count. The council claims the rise is largely down to schools and other organisations being better at identifying young carers. However, the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis have also contributed to the rise in this number. Charities like Kool Carers and Action for Family Carers, are supporting young carers to share their experience, process their often complex emotions, be comfortable with their identity, and reach their full potential academically.
Read the article here.
5. Schools Week estimate that levelling-up education money amounts to just £50 per-pupil
A new investigation from Schools Week finds that ‘levelling up’ money falls drastically short of what is needed to tackle the attainment gap. Using data gathered through Freedom of Information requests, they look at the funding allocated through the government’s flagship Education Investment Areas (55 local authorities with weakest educational outcomes) and Priority Education Investment Areas (high deprivation and low achievement).
After looking at five funding channels (such as the trust capacity fund for EIAs and local needs fund cash for PEIAs), they find that the funding total amounts to £105m every 12-months or £49.83 for each pupil. As one trust chief executive pointed out, this appears a very small investment, given pupil premium payments start at £1,035 per eligible child.
The article contains a wealth of other insights on levelling up spending, including the thoughts of other trust leaders and a response from the DfE, which has disputed the figures.
Read the article here.