November 2013 news update

Controversy over free schools

Free Schools are state schools that are independent of local council control. There is growing controversy over their regulation with a number of high-profile failures to date, with a new organisation being established to monitor their performance. This is going to be a hot political topic running into the next election in 2015 with the Labour party taking an increasingly hostile position against them.

Money and education

Two new stories have shined a light on how money still plays an important role in a child’s education opportunities. Research showed that access to top universities is still linked to family wealth whilst graduates who have been educated privately are more likely to get the top jobs. For younger children, grammar schools, traditionally viewed as a great tool of social mobility, are increasingly being monopolised by middle-class families.

Me no speak foreign

Figures have shown that there was a sharp slump in students starting foreign language undergraduate courses last year. Three-quarters of adults cannot speak a foreign language. There seems to be an alarming hole opening up in the UK foreign language capability.

Universities pushing for fees to rise

University leaders are pushing for a lifting of the £9,000 cap on tuition fees for undergraduate students. They are suggesting that it is reasonable that they should rise with inflation. This may be worth flagging with families with teenage children who are moving abroad.