Time to hear their side of the Tory…

5th October 2018 at 00:00

After last week’s Labour conference, this week, it was the Conservatives’ turn in the spotlight as they descended on sunny(ish) Birmingham for their annual gathering.

While the small, piffling matter of Brexit took up much of their time – and of the column inches – there was still time to gather a fair few headlines about education.

Here’s everything you need to know:

•  The Department for Education is looking at incentivising school collaboration to cut exclusions, according to minister Nadhim Zahawi, who said that off-rolling was “illegal, unethical and will not be tolerated”. And education secretary Damian Hinds said that he hadn’t “ruled out” taking action on schools who were found to be engaging in the practice.

•  Hinds urged schools to “call out” Ofsted when its inspectors demand inappropriate amounts of data.

•  Hinds also said he wanted to “make sure we are learning all the subjects of the future, the languages of mankind and the languages of machines as well”.

•  Former education secretary Justine Greening said that the Treasury saw education as a cost, rather than an investment, making it difficult for the DfE to secure extra funds for schools.

•  The health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has instructed medical experts to draw up official guidelines for social media use amid fears over its impact on child mental health.

•  Hinds used his big speech on education to highlight his vision, which included more competitive sport in schools, a renewed focus on the 3Rs, and updated guidance and training on behaviour management. However, he didn’t directly address some key points affecting schools and teachers, including whether overall funding would be increased, ongoing woes over teacher recruitment, and tackling teacher workload.

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