Across the UK and Ireland, students are returning back to school and teachers are prepped for the long-awaited new term. This week we’re diving deep into news about apprenticeships, sustainability education, and the latest government announcement about funding to support vulnerable families post-pandemic.
Should we green the curriculum?
We were really interested to read more from Meryl Batchelder, an accredited UN climate change teacher, who argues that environmental and sustainability education should be part of every subject. In this article, she talks about how the role of education is crucial, especially when young people will be relegated to living with this ‘ecological disaster’. Students see stories of natural catastrophes on the news, but do not receive the context required to understand them in schools. This may lead to potential confusion and anxiety. We’re supporters of Teach the Future, the youth-led campaign which has reported that 7 out of 10 UK teachers said they have received insufficient training to educate their students about the climate crisis so it’s clear more needs to be done in this space. Teaching about the climate crisis is a positive step to raising awareness for more young people to live sustainably and this article demonstrates how it is becoming more relevant across all industries.
Apprenticeship take-up at lowest levels since ’80s
Last year, only 3% of 16- and 17-year-olds took part in apprenticeships, according to a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The briefing on FE and sixth form spending revealed that it is the lowest level since at least the 1980s. According to a spokesperson from the DfE, the department is not ceasing to promote apprenticeships, and they are striving across government to integrate all their communications about education, training, and work with children and adults alike. This will include videos, written materials, and other media on all the opportunities available to young people, as well as apprenticeships for adults.
Girls in STEM: A cause for celebration, not complacency
Results for A-level sciences showed that entries in sciences increased by 6.4% since 2020, and this year's GCSE results show that girls outperformed boys in physics, chemistry, and biology. Despite this seemingly positive development, Dr. Foster from The Institute for Research in Schools cautions us not to become complacent in Schools Week. Considering this year has been anything but routine, it would be naive to assume a lot has changed in the outcomes for boys and girls. The gender gap within the workforce remains consistent even after years of encouraging women to pursue STEM careers. Foster stresses the importance of capitalising on this year's positive news by inspiring the next generation of scientists to succeed in their studies at a young age.
£20m to provide more early help for vulnerable families
There is a very positive development that many vulnerable or low-income families in England will benefit from a multi-million-pound investment to improve access to early education, health, and care services. Making £20 million available in new funding, the government plans to raise the profile of its Family Hubs programme, which supports councils in establishing and operating hubs in up to 10 new areas. These hubs are places where families, children, and young people can gain access to support services, such as early education and childcare, mental health assistance, mental health counseling, or advice on domestic abuse. Vicky Ford, the minister of children and families, stated: “It is absolutely vital that all families across England have access to the same high-quality services in their local communities, no matter where they live.”