The government’s academisation program has seen the academy status awarded to almost 2,000 secondary schools over the past 7 years in an aim to give financial power to those responsible for the day-to-day running of the institutions. Here at the UKCBC we were intrigued to know what the next big change to secondary education will be, so we headed down to the ExCel for the 2017 Academies Show to find out more.

Speaking at the ‘Future School Priorities and Funding’ conference were: The Rt Hon. David Laws (Former Minister of Stare for Schools); Barnaby Lenon (Chairman of Independent Schools Council); Professor Becky Francis (Director at UCL’s Institute of Education); with Toby Young (Director of the New Schools Network) hosting.

Can Secondary Level Education Raise its Game?

One topic covered in detail in the conference was the UK’s place on the global scale for secondary level education. The panel made it clear that to compete with the very best, the institutions providing secondary level education in the UK must raise their standards in teaching quality, whilst also addressing the issue of school capacity. There was confidence across the board that through government initiatives and a continued commitment to the academy system the secondary education level would rise.

Schools Should Aim to Bridge the Gap Between Education and Employment

A considerable part of the talk focused on the need to educate children on their future career prospects. Dedicating time to educating students on their professional futures would provide those leaving the school system with the skills needed to make reasonable choices, whether that be: studying at further or higher education, entering into apprenticeships, or directly entering the workforce.

The panel finished by talking about the shared benefits of forming partnerships between institutions operating at different levels of education, arguing that the government should do more to encourage these collaborations. This would aid in bridging the significant gap many students meet when leaving secondary level education and moving on vocational or degree level studies, as well as tackling some of the pitfalls young people find when searching for their next step.

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