Queen’s Speech and education priorities – Friday 23 June 2017

This week I report on the Queen’s speech and the impact it will have on education, the publication of information for parents/employers/FE and HE providers on the new GCSE grading structure and two new EEF trials to test school careers programmes.

Queen’s Speech – legislative priorities for next two years
On Wednesday, the Queen unveiled the Government’s legislative priorities for the next two years. Whilst the speech set out laws the Government wants to pass, it was silent on a series of promises made in the Conservative election manifesto including overturning the ban on grammar schools and scrapping free school lunches.

The speech included a commitment to ensure “all schools are fairly funded”. The government has indicated that the national funding formula for schools that it recently consulted on will go ahead in some form. The Conservative manifesto pledged that no school would see its budget cut under the new formula. It is not clear if the Government has the votes to push the reform through the Commons, and the Queen’s Speech did not promise any legislation on this.

In relation to technical education the Queen said the Government would “work to ensure that people have the skills they need for the high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future” with “a major reform of technical education”.

The Government also said it will publish a green paper on children and young people’s mental health “focused on helping our youngest and most vulnerable members of society receive the best start in life”. The manifesto committed the Government to publishing this “before the end of this year”.

Information on the new GCSE grading structure      
This week the DfE published information about the new GCSE grades for parents, employers and further and higher education providers.

New trials launched to test school careers programmes 
The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has announced two new trials will test how different careers education programmes can boost teenagers’ motivation at school. One will link-up pupils with business mentors to deliver community projects and the other will test the impact of supporting pupils to apply and participate in Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM)-related work experience.  Both programmes will be funded under a million-pound partnership between the EEF, the Careers & Enterprise Company and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.