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VS23 - Statement of Intent from the Secretary of State for Education watch

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    Statement of Intent from the Secretary of State for Education











    Statement of Intent
    Secretary of State: Rt. Hon Quamquam123








    The government is committed to a modern approach to education. We firmly believe that education should not just be about learning facts, developing a few social skills and getting pupils ready for higher education but about preparing people for the real world. The government is keen to develop a 21st century curriculum that works for students and teachers alike, and to eliminate the age-old attitude of students across the country that school is a bind by diversifying school life, creating up-to-date facilities and reducing certain causes of stress.

    Extending the School Day with Extracurricular Provision
    At the moment, the school system has a tendency to get students to focus on academic studies, revisions and exams. Although these aspects are vitally important to people’s education, in some schools they can sometimes dominate school life. Combined with a lack of funding for activities outside the classroom, this can result in some pupils not having a chance to try out skills they otherwise would not have experienced before. Because of this problem, the Department for Education will provide a unified fund of £10,000 for each school and schools can request funds from that pot. This will give all schoolchildren an opportunity to take part in drama, music, dance, chess, art and other recreational pursuits. We recognise that school is more than just passing exams and that in turn, more access to activities could even improve students’ performance in their studies. In addition to this, participation in co-curricular sessions have the potential to boost pupils’ self-confidence, give them greater opportunities later in life, give them a sense of responsibility, develop specialised skills and improve their overall attitude.

    In order to ensure that the increased activities will not reduce lesson time and that they will not just act as a token effort, the Government will initiate a trial in which schools in carefully local authorities will choose three days of the school week where the school day will finish an hour later. In this extra hour at the end of the day, the extracurricular activities mentioned above will take place. The main reason why they will take place at the end of the day rather than another time is because studies show that as the day goes by, most students tend to lose concentration so at this time, they would be better suited to non-academic sessions which do not require intense concentration. If the trial is a success, it will be rolled out to the rest of the country.

    A Renewed Focus on Sports Programmes and Managed Gyms
    Similarly, students should also have greater access to decent sports programmes. At the moment, many schools do not offer pupils a choice of sports and the programmes that they do offer them can be poorly thought through and not taken seriously enough. In each term, schools will be forced to offer boys and girls a minimum of 2 sports choices respectively but will be encouraged to offer more. There will also be more opportunities for students to take part in more indivudal sports such as tennis, athletics and swimming. Pupils should not be forced into participating in a sporting activity that they detest but sport is an important part of schooling. It can bring with it several advantages including better teamwork, more patience, the art of persistence, greater fitness, leadership skills and a positive effect on academic studies. It can be difficult at times for schools to fit sports into the curriculum when they are under pressure to achieve good academic results but the diverse atmosphere that sports can bring must not be undervalued. We will create a mechanism for schools to apply directly to the Department for Education for special grants, specifically for the provision of sporting activities. We will also trial million pound 'managed gyms' in 50 schools around the country. These gyms will be located on school land and pupils can use them but members of the public can too, but they have to pay as though it were a normal gym. This in turn will generate a small profit and we expect neutral running costs within 3 months. This will also strengthen the position of schools as centres of their respective communties. In England, 39% of all sports facilities are located on educational sites. We want to see broadened public access.

    Information Technology for the Workplace
    Although the current ICT curriculum is sufficient and a useful part of the curriculum, it simply does not cover enough material. In the last decade, we have witnessed a technological boom with the introduction of smartphones, tablets, electronic watches, electronic headgear and most significantly of all, a large development in software. You would be hard pressed to find a company now that does not use software in some form or another and it is crucial that every student knows every single basic skill. We would particularly like to see a greater teaching focus that teaches pupils how to touch-type, use Microsoft Office, use Google Drive, use spreadsheets, use databases, create a website, use social media in beneficial ways, use certain messaging platforms and continue the push from last term regarding coding. Also, students should be given certain projects to carry out, during their ICT lessons, that test their initiative and the skills they have learn so far. These projects could range from marketing a fictional product online to creating a website for a charity. In order to accommodate for this expansion of the curriculum, schools will be expected to teach pupils an extra hour of ICT a week up to GCSE level. In order to test and certify the knowledge that everyone will have obtained, all students will take the European Computer Driving License tests in Year 9, a globally recognised qualification.

    Upgrading PSHE Programmes and Introducing Life Skills Days
    PSHE is viewed as a bind by a large proportion of students but the concept is very important. Even if pupils already know about the dangers they could face both inside and outside of school, PSHE should reinforce their understanding in an engaging but serious manner. Some schools already pride themselves for their teaching on PSHE but all schools need to do the same. All schools will now be required to either have a weekly slot for PSHE or a dedicated day for it every term. The PSHE sessions will either be run by teachers or charities coming into the schools to talk. All primary school PSHE programmes must contain the topics of bullying (including cyberbullying) and healthy eating but schools will be given a choice of what else to include. All secondary school PSHE programmes must contain the topics of bullying (including cyberbullying), depression, anorexia, drugs, smoking, sex and relationships, gender and sexuality, jobs, and finance (which will be split into several different topics which, among others, will include: including mortgages, bills, credit cards, pay checks and taxes. Although the students may find some of the themes in their PSHE sessions patronising, they are all serious matters which they need to learn about.

    We appreciate the last government’s good work in increasing the amount of first aid sessions but we feel that life skills should be more than just that. Therefore, at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 levels, all schools will give pupils a dedicated day each term in which they will learn a variety of life skills including cooking, ironing, budgeting and common household repairs. When the pupils eventually go to university and into the world beyond, they will need to learn how to look after themselves without constant assistance from their parents. By instilling these skills early, they will be much more prepared when the time comes to put them into practise. Furthermore, as they would be taking a day off lessons to learn these skills, they should enjoy learning them more than if they learnt them in their free time at home.

    A Different Approach to Assessment
    Partly due to the exam reforms that are taking place, both public and internal exams are much more focused on memory retention. For many subjects at the moment, particularly before GCSE level, students are required to memorise hundreds of dates, foreign words, scientific processes, mathematical equations, geographical landforms and so forth, but as soon as the exams are over, they can forget them. We believe that exams should encourage students more instead to think of their feet. Here is an example: in a Chemistry exam, instead of asking a candidate to list the 4 stages of a hydrolysis reaction, give them a list of chemicals and apparatus to get them to propose an experiment that would chemically break down a compound. This reduction of prompts could be rolled out to other subjects too. The reason behind this is to prevent students from mindlessly learning facts so they can simply transfer them to a page on the day of an exam but to engage them with their subjects more and deploy some critical thinking.

    The length of some exams, in particular essay based ones, will be lengthened. Extreme time constraints and students being pushed for time are common for many exams. However, such time pressures can make exams more of a test of writing speed than a display of knowledge and expertise in the particular subject. By extending certain exams by just 20 minutes, candidates will be able to answer exams to the best of their ability, without having to constantly worry about the time.

    Another Look at Selective Education
    On average, wealthier children are more likely to receive a place at grammar schools as their parents may pay for tutoring. This may not always be the case but pupils at selective schools are five times more likely to come from independent prep schools than from disadvantaged backgrounds. We recognise the good results that grammar schools achieve but across the board, they lead to a widening in the equality gap and can sting poorer students. Also, the pressure on children to get a grammar school place at such a young age is not always healthy and can sometimes lead to psychological problems.

    Instead of grammar schools in their current form, we would like to give selected sixth form colleges 'grammar school' status. These selective schools would choose their students based purely on their GCSE results; they would select based purely on how hardworking a student is. These schools would bring with them all the benefits of grammar schools such as strong exam results but not the bad aspects such as the 11+ exams and the favouring of wealthy children.

    Raising the Compulsory School Age
    Under the current system, English schoolchildren have to go to school by the age of four. In 2012, the University of Cambridge published a report in which they found that forcing children to go to school too early could have detrimental effects later in their schooling careers such as a lack of motivation for their studies and a higher chance of developing mental health conditions. Instead, it is much more beneficial for children to engage in what is known as ‘social play’ up until the age of five. Studies in New Zealand have also shown that getting children to go to lessons early does not improve their development and may be damaging. Also, raising the compulsory school age by a year would save the department a staggering £8.7bn.

    Reforming Homework
    The government will release guidelines as part of the updated national curriculum asking schools to reassess their approach to homework as a teaching tool. We believe that students at A level should be given more free rein over their homework. It is becoming increasingly common for teachers to give pupils worksheets and textbook exercises to complete for their homework. Homework is designed to be a way of consolidation but individual students have their own ways of doing this. If they find it more effective to do this by other methods such as reading or making flashcards, then they should not be forced to carry out tasks that won’t be beneficial to them. At the moment, they may rush this work to get it out of the way but if they do not take in what they are doing, there is no point in them doing it in the first place. Some students may use this extra freedom as an opportunity to become lax in their studies but at A Level, pupils need to take responsibility for their own learning. Also, they need to be more prepared for university where they will have to devise their own consolidation strategies. Reducing the levels of compulsory homework will alleviate the stress on teachers and pupils alike, and will in the long-term will improve exam performance.

    Reintroducing Maintenance Grants
    The abolition of maintenance grants for the poorest young people could deter some people from the most disadvantaged backgrounds from going to university. In previous decades, maintenance grants have played a key role in supporting deprived students, in particular with their living costs. However, the average student now has to spend an average of just over £12,000 on living costs, and with tuition fees set to rise once again, the cost of going to university for some young people is becoming increasingly daunting.

    Building a National Education Service
    The government believes that universal access to a high quality education not only empowers and enriches the individual, but is of tremendous importance to the future success and prosperity of our country. For this reason, the government will lay the foundations for a National Education Service as part of our goal to create a high-skill, high-wage economy. Although the government deems it to be fiscally imprudent to abolish all university tuition fees, the government will commit to making all courses at the Open University free as well as introducing a wider range of available courses and increasing the instructions funding to allow for a greater intake of pupils. This includes the building of 25 new specialist colleges. We believe the future of tertiary education is long-distance learning throughout one's life and we hope to see many more people building on the skills they already as part of a more dynamic workforce. In the information economy people will have the freedom to study at times that suits their lifestyles whether it be to improve their career prospects or for pleasure.

    Responding to VM414
    Following the passing of the Student Finance Parental Contributions Expectations Motion, we have decided to make it compulsory for all Student Loans Companies to state how much money they believe the parents in each case should contribute to their child’s finances. From now on, in their entitlement letter, they will have to explain that the total amount that SLC expect parents to contribute is the difference between the maximum loan a student could get based on no parental income, and the amount they are entitled to. That way, students will have some evidence to show their parents that they will require extra financial support. If more parents subsidise more financially, there will be less unnecessary stress for the student in question.

    Education Reform in Wales
    The Department for Education is keen to devolve powers concerning education in Wales to the National Assembly for Wales. This is because of the confusion that arises related to determining what legislation is canon and what is not. Therefore, we will aim to repeal Section 1 from the 2015 Education Reform Act, which will allow the National Assembly for Wales to determine how their own education system is run and what their teachers shall be paid. It is worth noting that the sections about bilingual schools and pupils' freedom to speak in the language of their choice will not affected.


    Costings:
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    Extracurriciular activites: £10,000 x 4040 = £40.4m (per annum)
    More money spent on sports: £50m(one off) and a £20m annual fund
    Financial support for parents for higher compulsory school age: £1100 x 386810 = £425m(per annum)
    Reintroducing maintenance grants: £5.2bn(per annum)
    Making Open University courses free: £229.1m (per annum)
    Building new National Education Colleges: £160m (one off)
    Savings from raising compulsory school age: 22,500 x 386810 = £8.7bn (per annum)

    One Off Cost: £160m + £50m = £210m
    Yearly Cost/Saving: (£40.4m + £20m + £425m + £5200m + £229.1m) - £8700m = -£2.7855bn










    Sources:
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    Number of schools in England: https://www.gov.uk/government/public...nts-in-england
    Number of schools in Scotland: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistic...contactdetails
    Number of schools in Wales: http://gov.wales/docs/statistics/201...ts-2016-en.pdf
    Number of schools in Northern Ireland: https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/site...02015%2016.pdf
    Number of school pupils by age: https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...al_Tables.xlsx
    On the amount of sports facilities controlled by schools: https://www.sportengland.org/our-wor...ts-facilities/
    Report by the University of Cambridge regarding school starting age: http://www.importanceofplay.eu/IMG/p...ce_of_play.pdf
    Cost of reintroducing maintenance grants: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-10380717.html
    Cost of National Education Service: http://www.open.ac.uk/foi/main/sites...015_16_pdf.pdf (pg.59) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/g...ce-of-tomorrow










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    No, it does some good things but many things are poorly thought out, not to mention the absolutely disgraceful behaviour of the government.
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    Surprised to see the Leader of the Opposition call a vote he's going to lose....
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    Open to tweaking some things but this is a fundamentally good policy platform. Aye.

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    Education, education, education.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    the absolutely disgraceful behaviour of the government.
    Excuse me?
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    (Original post by Saracen's Fez)
    Excuse me?
    You effectively had 2 relevant SoSs, the author and their replacement, neither of those had the good grace to defend their SoI, and for that matter no other member of the government took the initiative to step in and do it for them.
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    Aye.
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    There is a lot to like here but i fundamentally disagree with statements of intent being sent to vote. The time to vote for these ideas is when a bill is put before the House.

    Therefore, Nay.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    There is a lot to like here but i fundamentally disagree with statements of intent being sent to vote. The time to vote for these ideas is when a bill is put before the House.

    Therefore, Nay.
    It was your glorious leader that sent it to vote
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    (Original post by PetrosAC)
    It was your glorious leader that sent it to vote
    And how would you know that, after all there are three people who can, admittedly the debate would lead one to believe that one of the 3 is AWOL.
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    (Original post by PetrosAC)
    It was your glorious leader that sent it to vote
    He is permitted to do as he pleases, in this case though i am not required to join him in division.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    And how would you know that, after all there are three people who can, admittedly the debate would lead one to believe that one of the 3 is AWOL.
    Because the Speaker specifically said it was sent to vote by the Leader of the Opposition.
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    There's too much here I disagree with and it's missing some costs - it will be a nay.
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    One aye has been removed due to DanE1998 and JoeL1994 both voting on this, when the former was originally the proxy but the latter returned!
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    adam9317 Unown Uzer Owain5 has voted Aye and britboy3456, who he replaced, voted Nay
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    (Original post by cranbrook_aspie)
    adam9317 Unown Uzer Owain5 has voted Aye and britboy3456, who he replaced, voted Nay
    One aye removed!
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    adam9317 Quamquam123 hey, could I change my vote to 'abstain' please? Thank you.
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    (Original post by Nirvana1989-1994)
    adam9317 Quamquam123 hey, could I change my vote to 'abstain' please? Thank you.
    One aye changed to an abstain for seat 26
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    (Original post by adam9317)
    One aye changed to an abstain for seat 26
    Thanks.
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    (Original post by PetrosAC)
    Surprised to see the Leader of the Opposition call a vote he's going to lose....
    We are the opposoition!
    I fundamentally disagree ( as does many in the party in the party) with this statement of intent.
    We shouldn't have the attitude "oh we'll loose anyway" becasue thats not holding the government to account or doing our job.
    Its like saying " I won't vote because it won't change anything', you never know on the outcome.
    I will fight for what I believe in , you could have used the same reasoning to prevent D-day.(replace island with conservative values for this case)
 
 
 
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