What will the Budget mean to education?

‘Plans to force all schools in England to become academies are to be outlined in the Budget.

The Department for Education is expected to publish draft legislation as early as Thursday, BBC Newsnight has learned.

Local authorities, in truth, have not "run" any mainstream schools since the early 1990s. They, instead, supervise them and offer them back-office services. The principal advantages to school leaders of academy status are that they are exempt from the national curriculum and the national pay regulations for teachers.

This report, in short, would mean the end of the national curriculum and national pay scales. By forcing the local authorities out of mainstream education, it would also finally unpick the local authority system of schools put in place in England by Arthur Balfour's Conservative government in 1902.

The proposals have been attacked by unions, local authorities and by the Labour party.

Lucy Powell, shadow education secretary, said: "There is no evidence to suggest that academisation in and of itself leads to school improvement... In some parts of the country where standards remain a concern, all schools are already academies, yet the government has no other school improvement strategy."’ - BBC

‘More than five years of George Osborne’s budgets have left young Britons with mounting student debt, depleted housing benefits, and cuts to youth employment and wage support, as millennials continue to weather the fallout from the financial crisis.

The chancellor has delivered a series of blows to higher education support for young adults since 2010, saddling students with record debt as they move into adulthood. Maximum university tuition fees nearly trebled to £9,000 in 2012, covering a £3bn government cut in universities’ teaching budgets and shifting the burden to students.

At the same time, the £500m education maintenance allowance was axed in England, meaning the poorest students aged 16-19 lost up to £30 each week. As a small concession, the government invested £150m a year in a national scholarship fund.

But in another move against low-income students, the last budget revealed that student grants would be scrapped in favour of student loans. The education maintenance grants for disadvantaged students in England and Wales came to £1.6bn per year, and more than half a million students will lose access to grants of up to £3,387 a year from September.

These drastic cuts to education funding have not deterred enrollment rates for full-time students, proving early critics wrong. But student debt has surged from an average £19,400 in 2012 to £30,000 in 2015, according to the UK Graduate Careers Survey.

Since 2010, the government has spent more than £5.5bn on 2.6 million apprenticeships, but 18- to 24-year-olds have not seen major gains, as those aged 25 and over have taken the majority of new places.’ - Guardian


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