Oct 30

The APPG for Education: A busy six months of events

With just over six months until the 2015 General Election, the APPG for Education has planned a programme of events exploring some of the key educational themes of this Parliament.

In December the Group will host a discussion on Early Years education, examining whether current provision properly prepares children for school. The Group will be joined by Ellen Broome, Director of Policy, Research and Communications at the Family and Childcare Trust. Ellen joined the Trust in January 2014 and leads on external communication, engagement with key policy and political audiences and campaigning for a world where all families have the support they need to thrive, including its annual childcare cost survey. Prior to joining, Ellen was the Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Children’s Society.

In January 2015, the APPG for Education will take a closer look at Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). We hope to be joined by representatives from Dyson to discuss whether current STEM education is meeting the needs of pupils.

Finally, in March 2015 the Group will welcome Graham Stuart MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee, as the keynote speaker at our Annual Lunch. Graham will share his thoughts on education policy during this Parliament.

Jul 14

APPG for Education meeting on “Do schools make the best use of the Pupil Premium?”

The APPG for Education discuss whether schools make best use of the Pupil Premium

The APPG for Education discuss whether schools make best use of the Pupil Premium

The APPG for Education was delighted to host Sir John Dunford, the Government’s Pupil Premium Champion, for a discussion on “Do schools make best use of the Pupil Premium?”. He was joined by Sue Porto, Chief Executive of the Beanstalk Charity and Abigail Shapiro, Founder of the Tutor Trust.

Sir John talked about how use of the Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) must become an integral part of the school development plan in order to succeed, quoting Roundhay School in Leeds as an excellent example of how the school has improved attainment and closed the gap by prioritising use of the PPG. He believes that there has to be someone within the school leadership team who has responsibility for PPG.  Sir John stated the importance of tracking data and using it effectively – if a change is noticed, interventions can be made speedily, and that diverse use of the PPG showed market improvements in different situations.

Sue Porto outlined how they assist schools with use of the pupil premium by going into schools to give individual additional assistance with literacy and numeracy.  Beanstalk offers a cost effective intervention. Each disadvantaged child could be supported for a year for £180 which is just 14% of the pupil premium entitlement, for looked after children this is just 9.5% of the pupil premium plus entitlement.

Abigail Shapiro explained that they are a radical and unique charity in Manchester that offers professional tuition services to schools, on a strictly not-for-profit basis.  They work through schools and alongside teachers to provide a first class tutor to all children who need some extra help.  Their model is based on recruiting high achieving university students, training them as tutors, insuring them, DBS checking them and matching them into local schools.  They are paid out of school funds.  Everyone benefits, the students are paid an attractive hourly rate, the school gets the benefit of a tutor for less than it would cost them to pay a commercial agency, and the pupils get motivated and inspired by the young talent coming to their schools.

The discussion which followed covered the continuation of the PPG after the General Election, the effective use of data to assist those in receipt of the PPG, the role of school governors in ensuring effective use of the grant and how those coming into the school must be an integrated part of the school fabric.

Mar 27

Annual Lunch with Tristram Hunt MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Education

Tristram Hunt speaking at the APPG for Education Annual Lunch

Tristram Hunt speaking at the APPG for Education Annual Lunch

The APPG for Education was delighted to host Tristram Hunt as their guest speaker at the Group’s annual lunch on 25th March 2014.

Mr Hunt addressed an audience of APPG members and stakeholders from the education sector about the Labour Party’s priorities for education, should they form a Government next year. Covering topics such as the importance of early years education, primary and secondary assessment regimes and the National Curriculum changes, Mr Hunt outlined where he felt the Government had gone wrong, or at the very least rushed into decisions without due consultation, and where there was some consensus over policy.

Support for Mr Gove’s changes included the abolition of primary school levels and the introduction of the pupil premium, which Mr Hunt believes to be a concrete part of the school landscape now. The National Curriculum might need tweaking, according to the Shadow Secretary of State, but it should be given the opportunity to ‘bed in’ first.

Tristram Hunt at the APPG for Education Annual Lunch

Mr Hunt was questioned on FE/HE and the links to schooling, careers provision, CPD, SureStart, Ofsted and the use of ICT in schools. A firm advocate of using technology to aid teaching, Mr Hunt was quite clear that the necessary teacher training was vital to maximise the positive impact of educational IT.

The next APPG meeting is to discuss effective use of the Pupil Premium. For more details, please see the meetings page.

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