School productivity will be ‘key report’ for new education select committee
A report on school productivity will be a priority for the education select committee, says its new chair Neil Carmichael.
The Conservative MP, elected last week, announced the focus during the second reading of the Education Bill on Monday.
“We need to get it on record right now that we have always known about coasting schools … [and] they have affected our capacity as a nation to be productive.
“One of the key reports I intend to do through the education committee is on productivity – so that we can tease out the ways in which we can improve.”
School productivity came under the spotlight in a speech earlier this year by education secretary Nicky Morgan when she said qualifications could be linked to information on tax data to show the “true worth” of certain subjects.
The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act passed through Parliament in March this year allowing the link to go ahead.
This week the Department for Business Innovation and Skills released a research paper looking at productivity within further education. It estimated the economic return of all publicly-funded FE qualifications started in 2012/14, and found the average return per qualification was £34,000.
It also said that level 2 qualifications – such as those gained in apprenticeships – return £26 to the economy; but drops to just £16 for in-class level 3 qualifications, which includes Access Courses, but not A-levels.
Mr Carmichael also said school governance was a priority.
Having created the all-party group on school governance during the last parliament, he indicated he would re-present the School Governors (Appointment) Bill, which requires that all school governors be appointed on the basis of experience relevant to the role. It ran out of time during the previous parliamentary session.
Emma Knights, chief executive of the National Governors’ Association, echoed the importance of a focus on governance practices but said that the main issue was governor training.
“Mandatory induction training should be provided free to all new school governors and trustees.”
Each political party runs its own elections to the select committees. The names of the new members of the education committee are not expected to be known before July 8. Mr Carmichael was unavailable for comment after his parliamentary speech.