The cancellation of exams including GCSEs and A Levels in summer 2020 led to a highly controversial process for issuing grades to students. This paper looks at plans for awarding qualifications in summer 2021. Updated to reflect Ofqual's January 2021 consultation.
The Commons Library has published numerous briefing papers relevant to schools in England; a selection of these are below. This briefing page also includes several recent reports as well as some press material which Members may find useful when preparing for this debate.
Commons Library briefings
On school funding:
- CBP08106, Implementation of the national funding formula for schools in England, 10 November 2017
This note looks at the implementation of the Government’s reforms to school funding from 2018, including the introduction of a new National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools. The plans were confirmed in September 2017, with some important modifications. It also provides information on the wider school funding context.
- SN07019, 16-19 education funding in England since 2010, 15 January 2018
This provides a summary of how funding for 16-19 education in England has changed since 2010, including funding for school sixth forms and trends in spending in this area.
- SN06700, The Pupil Premium, 17 April 2018
Pupil premium is dedicated funding for schools to tackle educational inequalities. The briefing paper provides an overview of policy on the Pupil Premium since its introduction in 2011, including funding levels, eligibility criteria, and accountability.
On the teaching workforce and recruitment, retention and workload:
- CBP07222, Teacher recruitment and retention in England, 17 April 2018
This paper provides information on the recruitment and retention of teachers in England, including Government initiatives to increase teacher supply. The briefing also gives an overview of attempts to reduce teacher workload.
- SN06710, Initial teacher training in England, 13 April 2018
This briefing provides information on initial teacher training (ITT) in England, including the different ITT routes, the sources of financial support for trainees, and recent policy developments.
On other areas of particular current interest
- SN07020, Special Educational Needs: support in England, 20 April 2018
This briefing provides background on recent reforms to the special educational needs (SEN) system in England. Section 2 (p14 onwards) covers SEN funding in England. Section 5 (p26 onwards) covers research on how the reforms are being implemented, and their success.
- CBP07980, SATs and primary assessment in England, 5 January 2018
This paper provides information on SATs (national curriculum assessments) and other primary assessments in England. It looks at what is tested, when, and how the results are used. It also looks at changes to primary assessment since 2015.
- SN04195, School meals and nutritional standards in England, 5 April 2018
This briefing covers recent policy developments regarding school meals in England, including the revised school food standards and provision of free school meals. Including debates around entitlement to free school meals in the context of Universal Credit roll-out.
- SN06962, GCSE, AS and A Level reform, 31 March 2017
This briefing provides information on recent reforms to examinations in England, including the introduction of new GCSEs graded 9 to 1.
- CBP07303, Personal, social, health and economic education in schools (England), 20 December 2017 and SN06103, Sex and Relationship Education in Schools (England), 19 December 2017
These briefings provide information on the current requirements for schools in terms of these two subjects, and Government plans to reform what must be taught, and when.
- SN07059, FAQs – Academies and free schools, 17 November 2017
This briefing provides information on academies and free schools in England. Topics covered include: academy conversion and Government plans for more schools to become academies; school places; special educational needs provision; academy land disposal and sale; funding; and accountability.
- Education Policy Institute, School funding pressures in England, March 2018
- Education Policy Institute, Access to special schools in England, March 2018
- Education Policy Institute, Educational disadvantage: how does England compare?, April 2018
- National Audit Office, Converting maintained schools to academies, February 2018
- National Audit Office, Retaining and developing the teaching workforce, September 2017
Press articles and notices
The Observer, 22 April 2018
The Guardian, 17 April 2018
[Both of the articles above cover SATs]
A debate on the UN International Day of Education has been scheduled for Thursday 28 January 2021 in the main House of Commons Chamber. The debate was selected by the Backbench Business Committee and will be led by Harriett Baldwin MP.
On Monday 18 January 2021, there will be an Opposition Day Debate on access to remote education and the quality of free school meals. This landing page highlights some of the available data and also provides links to existing Library and other briefings on these issues.