This podcast from the education and skills think tank EDSK takes a look inside the latest stories from across the education system in England including schools, colleges, universities and apprenticeships. You can find out more about EDSK at edsk.org or on Twitter @EDSKthinktank.
Why are the government's plans to reform teacher training so controversial?
The government does not often find itself in a war of words with the likes of Oxford University and Cambridge University, yet that is precisely what has transpired over the past few months.
But their public disagreements have nothing to do with tuition fees, student loans or university funding. Instead, it is the government’s proposed reforms to the way teachers are trained that has generated a considerable amount of friction.
Anyone who wants to become a teacher in England has several options available to them in terms of how they train. For example, you can train at a university through a 1-year post graduate certificate in education, or PGCE.
Alternatively, you could train on the job in a group of neighbouring schools or colleges. Both these options are known as Initial Teacher Training (or ITT for short).
So why has the government decided to reform the way that teachers are trained? What are the potential benefits and risks of what they are proposing? And why is it that the government’s plans have met such vocal opposition?
To give us their perspective on the government’s proposed changes to Initial Teacher Training in England, we are joined by two guests who take a very keen interest in how we train teachers and how that training is delivered.
John Blake is the Head of Public Affairs and Engagement and the former Curriculum Research and Design Lead at Ark Schools, a large multi-academy trust.
And James Noble-Rogers is Executive Director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers, a membership organisation for universities involved in teacher education and education research.
How will the Augar Review affect the future of Higher Education?
It is often said that a week is a long time in politics, and yet it is now almost four years since the former Prime Minister Theresa May announced a review of Post-18 Education and Funding to be led by Philip Augar.
The Review, which was completed in May 2019, provided a detailed analysis of the whole post-18 education sector in England including universities, colleges and apprenticeships. In fact, it was so detailed that it offered 53 separate recommendations on the future structure and funding of post-18 education.
But two and a half years after the Review was published, we are still waiting for the government to decide how they are going to respond to some of the biggest questions raised by the Augar Review. Will university tuition fees be cut, will student loans be reformed, and will money be taken away from universities and given to colleges instead? These questions and many more remain unanswered.
To help us understand what has happened with the Augar Review and why it is taking so long for the government to make up their mind, we are joined by two guests who have been following the Augar Review ever since it was announced.
Rachel Hewitt is Chief Executive of MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities and previously worked at the Higher Education Policy Institute and the Higher Education Statistics Agency
And Dr Gavan Conlon is a partner at London Economics and a specialist education and labour market economist who has written extensively about higher education fees and funding.
What did the 2021 Spending Review mean for education?
On Wednesday this week, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled the government’s Autumn Budget and the outcome of their 2021 Spending Review. The Budget described the upcoming changes to taxation while the Spending Review set out how much money each government department will get over the next three years.
There were certainly some eye-catching announcements including big increases in government spending and investment, tax cuts for businesses and an increase in the national living wage. But what did the Budget and Spending Review mean for our education system from primary schools all the way up to universities and beyond? Which education institutions are the winners and losers from the Chancellor’s decisions? And should headteachers, college principals and university vice-chancellors be feeling optimistic or pessimistic about the months ahead?
To help us unravel the contents of the Spending Review in this inaugural episode of the EDSK think tank’s new podcast, we are joined by two guests who know all about Spending Reviews from their own careers in and around government. Jonathan Simons is a Partner and Head of the Education Practice at Public First, a specialist public policy consultancy, and Andy Westwood is Professor of Government Practice at the University of Manchester and a Director of the Productivity Institute.