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August 1, 2022
Featured news item
Local authorities in England are grappling with a £2.4bn “funding black hole” for special educational needs, according to new analysis, with councils warning the impact on young people could be “catastrophic”.

Rising demand has resulted in councils’ SEN deficits growing six-fold since 2018, according to analysis by the County Councils Network (CCN) and the Society of County Treasurers. 
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What's been in the news in the past week?
Politics & Policy
The education secretary, James Cleverly, condemned a series of mistakes in exam papers and advance information. In a letter he said "errors are unacceptable and risk causing unnecessary stress for students". 

Truss V Sunak for PM: What they have promised on schools. From new grammar schools to Ofsted checks on 'rubbish' PE, all the education policies the PM hopefuls have pledged.

"I’ll lift the ban on new grammar schools", said Tory leadership hopeful, Liz Truss (£).

Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor and Conservative leadership contender, said that if he became prime minister schools would be rated by Ofsted on the quality of their physical education classes to combat rising obesity levels (£). He also pledged to close all 30 Confucius Institutes in the UK to reduce Chinese influence at British universities (£).

Where did Liz Truss go to school? Why the Tory leadership candidate’s education caused a row with Rishi Sunak. The Foreign Secretary described seeing ‘children who failed and were let down by low expectations’.

The culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, was accused of stoking culture wars after granting listed status to a controversial plaque commemorating the Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes at a University of Oxford college.
Schools
Rural schools are rejecting advances from ‘inexperienced’ MATs. ‘Many’ multi-academy trusts approaching rural heads lack relevant experience, a regional schools network said.

Three in four teachers said introducing digital exams in England would work if “challenges” were addressed, research by an exam board suggested. More here.

A grammar school’s bid to spread its “values and high aspirations" was dealt a blow after the secondary modern it sponsors was rated “inadequate”. The Odyssey Trust for Education is considering the school's future.

Permanent exclusions are at their lowest level in 15 years. Fewer than 4,000 pupils were excluded in 2020-21, although there were Covid restrictions for part of the school year (£). More here.

School-led tutoring “reduced the effectiveness” of the National Tutoring Programme as much as the “failures” of now-axed government contractor Randstad, an education charity said. More here.
Further and adult education
An investigation was launched after an awarding body missed the deadline for submitting Access to HE Diploma grades, resulting in 1,600 students experiencing delay in finding out whether they had gained a university place. More here
Pay and conditions
A £1bn support-staff pay rise could ‘break’ school budgets, headteachers warned. School leaders said finances were becoming ‘unsustainable’ without extra funding, following news that support staff will get pay increases of up to 10.5 per cent. More here.

Trade union members at England’s biggest exam board started a 72-hour strike over pay, raising the prospect of delays to GCSE and A-level results. More here.

Staff at the Hugh Baird College in Merseyside secured a pay deal up to 9.8 per cent plus additional leave, according to the University and College Union, which has averted strike action. More here.
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