The education week that was: What a difference a year makes

Your one-stop shop for the week's biggest education news

Will Hazell

the education week that was

On Friday, it was one year since the country went to the polls in the general election. Most pundits were expecting at least a modest increase of the Conservatives’ majority, which would have paved the way for a roll-out of new grammar schools.

What a difference a year makes. The shock loss of Theresa May’s parliamentary majority killed a major expansion of selective education stone dead.

But it’s not just grammars – over the last year the education system has been affected in a number of other significant ways by that bolt from the blue election result. In an illuminating article, Tes reporter Martin George analyses what it meant for school meals, funding and teacher pay.

Of course, more happened this week than just the anniversary of the 2017 general election. And while the education world has changed dramatically in some respects, in other areas it feels much the same.

For example, uncertainty over the future of the controversial Durand Academy in south London drags on.

On Monday the Harris Federation, which was lined up to take over the academy, announced it was pulling out. It cited “risky legal agreements” between the school and the Durand Education Trust, which owns the land and property used by the academy, as well as the investment needed in Durand’s buildings.

The teacher recruitment crisis, unfortunately, is also very much still with us. This week the Department for Education published research which found that teachers from overseas are quitting English schools because of pay.

Thirty-eight per cent of international teachers leaving English schools said they quit over “negative experiences” and 35 per cent said pay and conditions were unsatisfactory.

The DfE research also looked at headteachers’ views about international teachers, with heads raising concerns about overseas teachers struggling with workload and the relatively short length of time that some stay in England.

Finally, in this week’s Tes magazine, Northern correspondent John Roberts looked at another priority which has fixated education policymakers over the last few years – raising standards in the North.

The investigation revealed that only 15 per cent of funds earmarked for the Northern Powerhouse schools strategy have so far been accounted for.

Lord Jim O’Neill, a former Treasury minister who is now vice chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, told Tes: “My experience is that the government can make an announcement that money is being committed to something and then that ends up being the end of it." 

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

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Will Hazell

Will Hazell

Will Hazell is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @whazell

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