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Nicky Morgan: link qualifications to income to show 'true worth' of different courses

Qualifications could be linked to tax data to show the “true worth” of certain subjects as part of the government’s drive to track students after they leave school, the education secretary said today.

Speaking at the education technology show Bett in East London this morning, Nicky Morgan said that technology could transform accountability, assessment and teachers’ workload in the future.

Ms Morgan told the audience that change was needed in the way schools were held to account, adding: “We have an analogue system in the digital age."

League tables and Ofsted would always be essential, she said, “but there is so much more we can do”. Parents and their children would demand more information as more “choice and competition" were injected into the school system, the education secretary added.

“Already we have begun to produce destination data on school-leavers to identify where they end up. We aim to include them in league tables by 2017,” Ms Morgan said.

“In future, we could try to link qualifications to tax data too, in order to demonstrate the true worth of certain subjects.”

Technology could also help to reduce teachers’ workload, the Conservative MP said, stating that technology could “streamline” two of the biggest burdens on teachers – lesson planning and marking.

“On my regular tours of schools across the country, teachers have shown me apps that can scan and mark almost instantly – saving hours of work,” she said.

Lesson plans are increasingly being curated, Ms Morgan added, helping to “reduce duplication” in the system and helping to “spread good practice from school to school”.

She also highlighted how technology could change how students are assessed in the future, citing the work of educationist John Hattie, which uses regular testing to ascertain how students are progressing.

“By using technology to administer regular standardised tests, he has transformed the way children learn and the way parents are able to monitor their child’s progress,” Ms Morgan said.

“New York City’s School of One does much the same thing. It provides real-time feedback to parents through pupil-specific algorithms for maths. Each day the parent can see areas for improvement and track day-to-day progress. This is vital."

The minister has also announced £3.6 million in funding to help train primary teachers in computing skills, supported by major tech firms such as Google and O2.

Experts from the companies will provide resources and training to help teachers deliver the new computing curriculum, she said.

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