Education insights: Pressure from parents to affect student exam results, government aims to cut funding for BTECs and measures to improve adult accessibility to higher education.

As schools get ready to submit grades to exam boards, this week’s Education insights covers the parental pressure being flagged as a concern by teachers and how schools have demanded a 75% rebate from exam boards to compensate for their increased workload and the cancelled exams.

School leavers choose FE or HE in record numbers

The number of school-leavers who secured work in the period 2019-20 in Scotland was at its lowest level for a decade (42%). According to education spokesperson Ian Gray, job uncertainty following the pandemic has led to a steady rise in students choosing to enrol into higher education instead of finding work. He highlights how these figures reflect the reality that “more needs to be done to support pupils who choose not to pursue further or higher education” and at Hopscotch we support this view, as we help young people stay informed on the alternative routes, programmes and courses to land career of their choice.  

More high-quality degree alternatives to boost adult skills and job prospects

Adults will be able to access alternatives to university degrees under new measures to enhance the skills and job opportunities in the UK. The package will help colleges and universities invest in new equipment that will support technical studies, and boost training opportunities with businesses in areas such as digital and construction. According to Education Secretary, Gary Williamson; “new Investments in higher technical skills will help people to secure rewarding careers, fill skill gaps in our economy and help the country rebuild from the pandemic.”    As a social impact agency that aims to deliver impact through education, we commend these plans to improve adult learning. Programmes such as Barclay’s LifeSkills for adult learners helps with this, providing adults with skills to continue their personal development. 

DfE’s BTEC reforms will hit disadvantaged students hardest, sector warns 

As the government plans to remove funding for the majority of BTEC qualifications, it is feared that disadvantaged young students may be hit most severely and left without a viable pathway to higher education or skilled work.  The DfE and Ofqual have since warned the government against these plans to compromise and it is expected that schools, colleges and university groups will join the battle to protect BTECs by writing to MPs. Geoff Barton, the ACSL boss, affirms that scrapping BTECs will only reinforce performance gaps between poor and rich students and “pull the rug from the feet of 200,000 young people who benefit each year from taking established qualifications”.

A quarter of teachers grading GCSEs and A levels have come under parental pressure to change them, Tes research shows

Tes have published research which shows that almost a quarter of teachers have faced pressure from parents to change student’s exam results.  Out of the 2,800 students’ participants of the study, 25% of teachers reveal that they, at some point this year, have been subjected to email threats of legal action or complaints by parents to change student grades. Sarah Hannafin, senior policy adviser at the NAHT school leaders’ union, has described this growing trend as “unacceptable” and “unfair” given that the finalised grade is not one single teacher’s decision but a collaborative process involving other teachers, senior leaders and external quality-assurance checks.

Schools want 75% rebate on this summer's exam fees

School and college leaders in England want a rebate of at least 75% on this year's exam fees as exams are cancelled for a second year in a row. ASCL boss, Geoff Barton, states that its "reasonable" schools should receive a rebate "commensurate" with the task of conducting an entire assessment process from scratch. This sentiment was echoed by a spokesman for the OCR exam board who said, “they plan to pass back any savings to schools and colleges” to help teachers with the challenges of hosting exams independently this summer.

About the author

James Rufus

James has previous experience in education, charity, and marketing. He has a passion for mentoring youth and empowering underprivileged children to fulfill their potential. As an Account Executive, James works across LifeSkills with Barclays, Microsoft, London Enterprise Adviser Network and Think Through Nutrition.

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