Education News – March 2011

Welcome to Dean Associates’ March 2011 newsletter highlighting the key education stories for the relocation market.

You can now also follow us on Twitter at @educationda bringing you the key education news and comment as it breaks.

Change in Special Educational Needs (SEN)

Provision for special educational needs (SEN) is facing its “biggest change in three decades” if government reforms are passed.

Ministers want to replace statements – the documents that agree and set out individual children’s needs – with education and health care plans drawn up after a single assessment.

The aim is to remove the heavy burden of bureaucracy that leaves many parents exhausted in their quest to find the right level of support for their children. This is often worse for the families moving into the UK who have children with SEN.

But there are warnings that spending cuts will hit any improvements and that what looks sensible on paper will be impossible to implement on the ground under current conditions.

One in five pupils in England – some 1.7 million children – is believed to have some form of special needs.

More English Universities to charge the full £9000 tuition fee

Oxford University and the University of Surrey are planning to raise tuition fees to the maximum level of £9,000 per year – balanced by a package of fee subsidies and bursaries.
Six universities have announced that they intend to charge the maximum fee level from the autumn of 2012. It is looking likely that the majority of other institutions will follow this lead.

EU students could be charged higher tuition fees in Scotland

Students from other EU countries could be charged to study in Scotland, the education secretary has revealed.

The SNP government, if elected, would also increase fees to students from other parts of the UK.

Scottish students studying at home currently pay no tuition fees, while other UK students at Scottish universities pay about £1,900 per year.

Under EU rules, students coming to Scotland from other European countries have to be treated in the same way as Scottish students. This has seen a large increase in the number of applicants from both other UK and EU countries.

Change in visa laws hits overseas students

Proposals by the government to limit the number of overseas students coming to Britain could “cripple” the prosperous education sector, a cross-party Commons committee has declared.

The move to curb the annual flow of 300,000 students into Britain is based on a Conservative pledge to reduce net annual migration from outside Europe. Currently, international students make up nearly three-quarters of that migration.

Critics have said that the government should recognise that students, through tuition fees and other spending, benefit Britain economically, and contribute to enhancing the UK’s place in the world.

Wolf review of vocational education

Hundreds of thousands of young people are doing vocational courses which do not lead to university or a job says a review of vocational education led by the academic Dr Alison Wolf.
The review, commissioned by ministers, recommends a radical shake-up of vocational education in England.

It says all pupils should study a core of academic subjects until they are 16.

Her report says: “The staple offer for between a quarter and a third of the post-16 cohort is a diet of low-level vocational qualifications, most of which have little to no labour market value.

Among 16 to 19 year olds, the review estimates that at least 350,000 get little to no benefit from the post-16 education system.”