TIGA Education Update April 2022

TIGA, the trade association representing the video games industry, has today published its latest education update.

TIGA’s update covers the latest announcements and developments concerning education in parliament, including the publication of the Schools White Paper, the first session of the Education Committee’s inquiry into the future of post-16 qualifications and the announcement that sixty-two education colleges are to benefit from a share of more than £400 million to upgrade buildings and transform campuses.


Written Answers and Statements:


Question for Department for Education

1 February 2022

Jonathan Gullis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has undertaken an assessment of the potential merits of increasing the hours on T Level Transition Programmes to bring them into line with T Level Programmes.

Alex Burghart: T Levels are significantly larger than other 16-19 study programmes. They are 2 year courses that include a substantial technical qualification and mandatory 9 week industry placement and cover significant theoretical and practical content to ensure students are able to successfully progress into work or further technical study. The T Level Transition Programme, in contrast, provides an additional year of support and preparation for those students who need it, before they are ready to enrol on a T Level. The differences in the number of funded hours for these programmes reflects their respective purposes and content.

From academic year 2022/23, T Levels and the T Level Transition Programmes will benefit from the additional hours the department will be funding for 16-19 education. For a band 5 ‘full-time’ T Level Transition Programme, this will mean an extra 40 hours, taking funded hours up to a minimum of 580 hours, with proportionate increases for smaller programmes. Students may also be able to receive additional small group tuition via the 16-19 Tuition Fund.


Small Businesses: T-levels

Department for Education

8 March 2022

Alex Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to help ensure that all SMEs are able to offer t-Level placements across the UK.

Alex Burghart: Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key to ensuring that industry placements are a successful component of T Levels, as they make up a large proportion of the employer landscape. We are engaging directly with employers of all sizes, including SMEs, through the department’s employer engagement teams to explain the benefits of T Levels and of industry hosting placements, and to help provide a strong pipeline of employers, across all sectors, ready to offer placements.

We are providing an extensive programme of support to help ensure employers of all sizes, including SMEs, are able to deliver placements. This includes a comprehensive employer support package, which offers guidance, workshops, and webinars, as well as tailored advice and direct hands-on support, to help build employer confidence and capability to deliver high-quality industry placements. We have also implemented several different delivery models to ensure placements can be delivered by employers of different sizes, across all industries and locations, and our T Level ambassador network is enabling employers, including SMEs, to engage with others in their industries on T Levels and placements. Finally, we have put in place a short-term incentive fund, offering employers £1,000 per industry placement, to encourage employers to offer placements during the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been warmly welcomed by SMEs.

We will continue to monitor the delivery of placements and work closely with employers, including SMEs, to identify what support they will need going forward to enable them to deliver high quality placements.


Science and Technology: Vocational Education

Department for Education

28 February 2022

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to promote the uptake of science and technology subjects to students in vocational education.

Alex Burghart – Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education): The department recognises that the demand for skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is growing, and we are proud to be encouraging more pupils into STEM at all key stages. We have put employers at the heart of the technical education system, asking them to set out the skills and knowledge that they need now and in the future. This has formed the basis of new occupational standards. So far, STEM employers, including those in construction, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science sectors have developed 343 apprenticeships based on these standards.

We are introducing T Levels, boosting access to high quality technical education for thousands of young people, which are also based on the same occupational standards. T Levels in Digital, Construction and Health and Science are now being taught and T Levels in Engineering and Manufacturing will launch this September. A new campaign, ‘Get the Jump’, has been launched to help young people aged 14 to 19 to understand their education and training choices. More information on this can be found here: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/explore-your-education-and-training-choices. T Levels are featured heavily in the campaign as an exciting new option for young people alongside apprenticeships, traineeships and Higher Technical Qualifications

Alongside this, we are investing up to £290 million to establish a comprehensive network of Institutes of Technology across England. These are unique collaborations between further education colleges, universities and employers specialising in delivering higher technical education and training in key STEM subjects such as cyber security, artificial intelligence, robotics, precision farming and health and life sciences. A key objective of the programme is to increase participation from under-represented groups to support the long-term STEM skills pipeline.

For those earlier on in their education, we are proud to have made substantial spending commitments to improve the teaching and uptake of STEM subjects in schools. We are offering a bursary worth £24,000 tax-free or a prestigious scholarship worth £26,000 tax-free to train to teach the highest priority subjects of chemistry, computing, mathematics and physics and a £15,000 tax-free bursary for design and technology. In line with the Gatsby Benchmarks for good career guidance, all schools are expected to provide at least one meaningful encounter with employers per pupil per year, with an emphasis on STEM employers.

We have improved the quality of technical awards. These non-GCSE qualifications are intended to equip 14-16 year olds with applied knowledge not usually acquired in general qualifications. They are intended to focus on a sector or occupational group and enable the development of knowledge as well as associated practical skills where appropriate.

Schools have access to the STEM Careers toolkit which provides ideas and practical suggestions on how STEM specific content might be used to meet the Gatsby Benchmarks. This includes useful resources, examples of good practice and sharing STEM careers resources, such as job profile examples, further study route information and labour market information with teachers.



National Apprenticeship Week 2022

Education and Skills Funding Agency, Department for Education, and The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP

7 February 2022

Today marks the start of the National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) 2022, celebrating the positive impact apprenticeships bring to employers, individuals, and the economy.

The ‘Build the Future’ theme returns for its second year, with over 1,200 events taking place across England to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships.

The week aims to celebrate and promote the fantastic benefits which apprenticeships offer both learners and employers, spotlighting businesses who are investing in this life-changing education route.

See the full statement here


2022 Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers ranking open for entries

Education and Skills Funding Agency

10 February 2022

Entries are now open for the 2022 Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers ranking, which celebrates England’s highest-performing apprentice employers.

Plus, this year, for the first time, small and medium sized (SME) businesses can also enter a new category honouring the Top 50 SME Apprenticeship Employers.

The annual rankings not only showcase employers providing some of the country’s most successful apprenticeship programmes, but they help future apprentices, parents and career advisers identify opportunities with leading employers.

They also enable all employers to see what ‘good’ looks like, so they can benchmark against the best and understand how they might improve their apprenticeship programmes to progress up the rankings in future.

The rankings are produced by the Department for Education and are independently verified, assessed, and compiled by High Fliers Research.

See the full statement here


Flexible apprenticeships to boost jobs in key sectors

Department for Education and The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP

10 February 2022

New flexible apprenticeships will soon be available to create opportunities for more people to earn while they learn in industries that boost the economy.

Up to 1500 apprentices will be recruited on the government’s new flexi-job apprenticeship scheme, which will allow people to complete short placements across sectors such as construction and creative during their apprenticeship, opening up a new paid training route to a career in these industries.

Some sectors with flexible employment patterns and short-term roles have previously found it harder to take on an apprentice. Apprenticeships are at least 12 months long, and apprentices need guaranteed employment and pay for that whole period. The new scheme will put an end to this by using agencies that can act as employers and place apprentices on projects in different companies.

Almost £5 million has been awarded by the government to support employers, including the BBC and NHS, to offer the flexi-job apprenticeship scheme and support recruitment of apprentices.

Now an apprentice hired by the BBC will be able to work with several production companies in short-term roles during their apprenticeship, while an apprentice working in construction could fulfil several contracts – such as working on both home refurbishments and bigger infrastructural projects – and earn while they learn.

The announcement, which coincides with National Apprenticeship Week, forms part of plans to increase apprenticeship numbers in key sectors such as healthcare, construction, and the creative industry.

See the full statement here


Universities Minister speaks on higher education

Department for Education and The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP

16 February 2022

Delivered on: 16 February 2022

By The Rt Hon Michelle Donelan MP

See the full speech here


Secretary of State letter to Ofqual on level 3 qualifications

Department for Education and The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP

24 February 2022


This letter sets out the Secretary of State’s priorities for alternative academic and technical qualifications at level 3.

It asks Ofqual to consider how its regulatory powers can most appropriately be used to ensure the quality and consistency of this part of the qualifications landscape.

Published 24 February 2022

Letter from Nadhim Zahawi to Jo Saxton at Ofqual


Disadvantaged pupils facing ‘epidemic’ of educational inequality

Education Committee

10 March 2022

The Government’s multi-million pound catch up programme risks failing pupils who need it the most, leaving them facing an “epidemic of educational inequality”. In its new report, MPs on the cross-party Education Select Committee find that delivery partner Randstad is clearly not delivering on its targets, and call on the Government to prove the National Tutoring Programme’s efficacy, or else terminate the contract signed with Randstad.

School closures had a significant impact on the majority of children’s learning. The report finds that on average, pupils spent just 2.5 hours learning every day, mental health problems for children rose by 60% and schools faced a ‘spaghetti junction’ of bureaucracy trying to navigate funding avenues to support the re-opening of schools and educational recovery.

Whilst the almost £5 billion of additional funding provided by the Department for Education is welcome, the report warns that it is not being spent wisely. By not providing support for those most in need, the Government risks baking in deepening inequalities between disadvantaged children and their better off peers. More work needs to be done by the Department, not just on improving young people’s educational attainment, but also to better support their mental health.

Key findings include:

Regional disparities and learning loss

Disadvantaged pupils could be “five, six, seven – in the worst case scenarios – eight months behind” according to their regional data.

By the second half of the Autumn term 2020, the average learning loss for maths for primary pupils was 5.3 months in Yorkshire and the Humber compared with 0.5 months in the South-West.

By March 2021, the National Tutoring Programme had reached 100% of its target numbers of schools in the South-West, 96.1% in the South-East, but just 58.8% in the North-East and 59.3% in the North-West.

Persistent & Severe Absence

In December, the Department for Education announced that persistent absence (missing over 10% of sessions) increased to 16.3% in secondary schools in Autumn 2020 which equates to 501,642 pupils out of 3 million secondary-aged young people.

The Centre for Social Justice reported that in addition to the 93,514 severely absent (missing over 50% of sessions) pupils in mainstream and special schools in Autumn 2020, there were an additional 6,000 severely absent pupils in alternative provision.

Schools with the most disadvantaged intake are ten times more likely to have a class-worth of severely absent pupils and over 13,000 young people in critical exam years are missing.

Randstad & the National Tutoring Programme

The National Tutoring Programme has so far reached just 15% of its overall target and only 10% of the target for the tuition pillars of the NTP (52,000 starts against a target of 524,000).

The Department for Education’s own annual report published in December 2021 rated it “critical/ very likely” that the measures to address lost learning will be insufficient. The NAO further reported that the NTP “may not reach the most disadvantaged children”.

On 2 March 2022, Randstad reportedly removed the requirement of reaching 65% pupil premium children from the tutoring contracts with providers.

Some headteachers described a “bureaucratic nightmare” in navigating the tuition hub and that there was a “lack of communication” with schools about the programme.

A mental health crisis

The number of children referred for mental health help in 2019-20 increased by nearly 60% compared with 2017-2018, to 538,564.

One in six children now suffer from a probable mental health disorder.

16.7% of 11-16 year olds using social media agreed that the number of likes, comments and shares they received had an impact on their mood.


1) The Department for Education must commit to publish statistics on a half-termly basis on the number of starts under the National Tutoring Programme. This data must include regionality and have regard to disadvantage and special educational needs. If the NTP fails to meet its targets by Spring, the Department should terminate its contract with Randstad.

2) Teachers and school staff know their pupils and know what interventions are likely to bring the most benefit. The catch-up programme to date has been fragmented, and a complex bureaucratic system for applications, alongside a ‘spaghetti junction of funding’ may have hampered some schools’ ability to access some elements of the Government’s support. The funding schemes should be simplified and merged into one pot for schools to access and spend where the recovery need is greatest. Any future initiatives should direct funding to schools using existing mechanisms for identifying disadvantage such as pupil premium eligibility. Schools should then be held accountable for how they spend their catch-up funding.

3) The Department should launch a pilot scheme in the country’s most disadvantaged areas to explore facilitating extra-curricular activities such as sport, music and drama. The Government must fast track its commitments to ensuring all schools have a designated mental health lead and all pupils should undergo a mental health and wellbeing assessment to understand the scale of the mental health problem faced.

4) The Government should introduce a levy on the profits of social media companies and use the revenue derived from this to fund online harms and resilience training for pupils which could be distributed through schools.

5) The Department must take steps to address the issue of persistent and severe absence by working with schools and local authorities to set out proactive measures to encourage students back to school.

See the full statement here


First session of post-16 education inquiry to investigate how UK compares to other OECD countries

Education Committee

25 March 2022

The first session of the Education Committee’s inquiry into The future of post-16 qualifications will consider how other OECD countries’ post-16 education systems compare to England’s and what we can learn from alternative approaches.

Purpose of the session

MPs are expected to examine the Government’s plans to simplify the post-16 qualifications landscape, along with the introduction of T Levels and aspects of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. How well these plans will provide the skills and knowledge to prepare students for the workplace of the future may be discussed, as may the impact that removing most general applied qualifications will have on disadvantaged students.

The Committee is also expected to consider how to improve the take-up of apprenticeships, especially degree apprenticeships, amongst young people.


Wednesday 30 March

From 10am

  • Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Lord Baker of Dorking


Schools White Paper

Department for Education, Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street, The Rt Hon Nadhim Zahawi MP, and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP

28 March 2022

Children and teacher in classroom

Any child who falls behind in maths or English will get the support they need to get back on track, as part of a pledge the Education Secretary will make to every parent in the country today (Monday 28 March), as he launches the first Schools White Paper in six years.

Schools will identify children who need help, provide targeted support via a range of proven methods such as small group tuition, and keep parents informed about their child’s progress.

The Parent Pledge will support the government’s Levelling Up mission for education, previously set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, for 90% of primary school children to achieve the expected standard in Key Stage 2 reading, writing and maths by 2030.

In 2019, only 65% of children achieved this standard, with the covid pandemic exacerbating challenges despite the incredible work of parents and teachers during this time.

A second ambition for secondary schools aims to see the national average GCSE grade in both English language and maths increase from 4.5 in 2019 to 5 by 2030.

The Schools White Paper sets out a series of new measures to support the delivery of these ambitions, including:

  • Schools will offer a minimum school week of 32.5 hours by September 2023
  • Ofsted will inspect every school by 2025, including the backlog of ‘outstanding’ schools that haven’t been inspected for many years
  • By 2030 all children will benefit from being taught in a school in, or in the process of joining, a strong multi-academy trust, which will help transform underperforming schools and deliver the best possible outcomes for children
  • At least £100m to put the Education Endowment Foundation on a long-term footing so they can continue to evaluate and spread best practice in education across the country

If achieved, the wider benefits of pupils in 2030 meeting the Key Stage 2 and GCSE ambitions are estimated to be worth at least £30 billion each for the economy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

Literacy and numeracy are the building blocks of a world-class education. They unlock the learning, knowledge and skills that every child needs to succeed in later life.

So today, we are making a pledge to every parent – if your child falls behind at school in either of these key subjects, their school will help them get back on track.

By making sure every child receives excellent teaching which helps them reach their full potential, we will spread opportunity and futureproof our mission to level up the country.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

This is levelling up in action. The Opportunity for All White Paper will deliver for every child, parent and family, living anywhere from rural villages, to coastal towns through to the largest cities, by making sure all children have access to a school that meets our current best standards, harnessing the incredible energy and expertise of the one million people that work in schools.

Any child who falls behind in maths or English will get the support they need to get back on track, and schools will also be asked to offer at least a 32.5 hour school week by September 2023.

We know what works in schools and we are scaling up to ensure that every child can expect interesting, enriching lessons. Parents rightly expect a world class education for their children and that is what we will deliver.

Rt Hon Robert Halfon MP, Chair of the Education Select Committee said:

The publication of the Schools White Paper could not have come sooner. The four key pillars of teacher development, improving curriculum standards especially with regard to literacy and numeracy, parental engagement and uniformity of school hours are a welcome ambition to help ensure the Government works to level-up education.

Increasing parental engagement through the “parent pledge” will help break down long-standing and often complicated barriers that exist to help increase attendance, especially in relation to the 124,000 “ghost children” who have dropped out of the school system following the outbreak of the pandemic.

I am particularly pleased to see the commitment made by the Department to establish a uniformity of school hours. It is my hope that this will mean pupils up and down the country will have more time to catch up on their lost learning from the pandemic, and to also develop their skills by exploring creative subjects like sport, drama and music. Not only will this benefit their mental health and resilience, but it will also improve their educational attainment and allow every child to climb the ladder of opportunity, regardless of their background or circumstance.

Other plans in the White Paper to deliver on the missions for children’s attainment at the end of primary and secondary include:

  • 500,000 teacher training and development opportunities by 2024
  • £30,000 starting salaries to attract and retain the best teachers
  • Payments to recruit and keep talented physics, chemistry, computing and maths teachers working in disadvantaged schools
  • A register for children not in school to make sure no child is lost from the system
  • Every school to have access to funded training for a senior mental health lead to deliver a whole school approach to health and wellbeing
  • Oak National Academy becoming a government body with sole focus on supporting teachers to deliver the very best lesson content
  • Up to 6 million tutoring courses by 2024 and action to cement tuition as a permanent feature of the school system
  • The school system working as a whole to raise standards with trusts responsible for running schools while local authorities are empowered to champion the interests of children

The SEND and alternative provision green paper will launch tomorrow (Tuesday) and build on the Schools White Paper by setting out a national vision for more inclusive culture and practice in mainstream schools, helping the workforce to adapt to every pupil’s needs.

See the full statement here


Funding boost to transform colleges across England

Department for Education and Alex Burghart MP

4 April 2022

Sixty-two further education colleges are to benefit from a share of more than £400 million to upgrade buildings and transform campuses. The cash boost will make sure even more people are supported to get the skills they need to get a good job, levelling up opportunity across the country.

The colleges announced today will be the latest to benefit from the government’s £1.5 billion Further Education Capital Transformation Fund. This significant investment is supporting the transformation of post-16 education and training by ensuring colleges are great places to learn and students have access to modern, fit-for-purpose facilities.

The funding will support colleges to undertake building or refurbishment projects that will dramatically improve learning environments, including the creation of dedicated teaching facilities for subjects, such as automotive, ICT, science and engineering. This will support more people to get the training they need to progress into rewarding jobs and plug skills gaps in local communities. Some colleges will also construct new teaching spaces to replace buildings in poor condition elsewhere in town centres or on campuses.

See the full statement here


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