After Theresa May’s January reshuffle saw Justine Greening removed as Education Secretary, there has been considerable speculation as to how the new secretary Damian Hinds would handle the issues he stands to inherit, and whether his priorities would align with those of his predecessor or with those of the Prime Minister.
After weeks of controversy and parliamentary outcry, the Department for Education has pulled a surprising about-face and withdrawn their plans to forcibly turn all schools into academies, despite education secretary Nicky Morgan’s previous assertion that there would be “no reverse gear” on the reforms.
In its latest budget the government has announced its plans to transform all schools into academies, aiming to bring all schools to academy status by 2022. There are currently 5,000 academies in England out of a total of 24,000 schools, with the majority of non-academy schools being primaries. While the government has always been clear on its plans to step up the academisation of schools, many are still surprised by the scale of the proposal and the sudden way in which academy status is to be imposed.
Nicky Morgan is facing mounting criticism over recent changes to Keystage 1 and 2 assessments, with the NUT considering strike action as teachers are beset by last-minute alterations, withheld information, unfeasible performance standards, and a hugely increased bureaucratic burden. The scheme includes new assessment criteria, new standards, increased testing and a host of other changes, yet teachers have found the guidelines vague and unhelpful.
Educational news in the past month has been dominated by the controversy over education secretary Nicky Morgan's introduction of new primary school testing and assessment guidelines, while the ongoing plans for grammar school expansion in Kent have seen pundits analysing the performance of state and grammar schools in the university admissions tables.