Category Archives: News

Other news … universities, nurseries and term-time holidays

University fee levels to rise

English universities will be able to raise undergraduate fee levels to £9250 per year from September 2017.

In a recent survey of elite universities, all said that they intended to charge the higher rate.

It is also possible that the increased fees can be charged to students who have already started their courses.

30 hours free childcare to start in September 2017

The Government is to double the number of free nursery hours available to working parents from 15 to 30 hours per week in September 2017.

Term-time holidays not illegal

Term-time holidays are now being accepted by schools in many parts of the country after councils were forced to update their policy fining parents.

The Government had cracked down on unauthorised absence at schools, despite many parents’ complaints that travelling during the school holidays is more expensive than in term time.

But last year the High Court ruled that it is not illegal to remove a child from school as long as they had a good attendance record.

Funding crisis and relocating families

There is a growing concern over a funding crisis in the English state education system.

Recently the head of PISA – the body that surveys education quality around the world – highlighted how this would affect English state school performance – still lagging behind the best in the world.

A Government plan to reallocate funds towards more deprived areas would put pressure on existing schools budgets within many of the areas that globally mobile families would focus upon when moving.

But how could this funding crisis hit relocating families.

Availability of courses:  Less cash could mean fewer subjects taught, especially outside of the core academic courses.  Even in those subjects, teachers may be forced to provide a more prescribed teaching programme with less space to think “outside of the box”.

Co-curricular crash:  Maybe the first thing to go.  Sports, drama, music and arts are usually the first victims of funding squeezes.  So children moving to England may find opportunities limited within the state sector and a need to supplement their interests outside of school.

Voluntary contributions:  Schools are not allowed to ask for money for education. They can, however, ask for “voluntary contributions”.  One well regarded school in north London, Latymer School, has already started doing this and another expert feels that many grammar schools will start on this route.

Strikes:  Controversial government policies usually mean industrial action.  All parents may well have children at home as teachers strike in coming months.

There is some consternation amongst headteachers that #384 million allocated to the scrapped academy transfer programme was returned to the Treasury instead of being invested in schooling.

Council backlogs

Delays in processing applications after the summer holidays are normal, especially when the admissions body is the local council.

However, this September we are seeing applications still pending nearly three weeks after the start of term and parents unsure about which school will be able to offer their children a place.

Whether it is due to a rise in the numbers of applications or staffing issues within the local authority admission offices is unclear – parents, though, are getting a raw deal.

Councils pushing hard on residency

A strong new trend this academic year has been councils being increasingly stringent on not processing applications until the family are fully resident in the country.

Over previous years, councils have been willing to accept an application if a family had a property and were looking to start school within 2 to 3 weeks.

Many councils are now requesting copies of passport / visas to show that the children are living in the UK.

This can again put pressure on relocating families who find themselves unable to effectively forward plan for schooling.