Education law | Schools and Brexit

What does the future hold for education?

It was a long time ago that Heraclitus remarked the only thing that is constant is change and this certainly seems to be the case in the ebbs and flows of party politics.  But what does it mean for education? 

The early indications in relation to the Conservative agenda are probably not that much.  The Government has a thin majority and the main focus is on Brexit.  The more controversial aspects of education policy, notably grammar schools and funding reform now seem to be watered down.  So while we know there are some members of the Government who are very keen on grammar schools, we also know that the Government is not seeking conflict, particularly when it has enough on its plate already. 

While there has been talk of relaxing austerity, given that the deficit is down and that the debt is still increasing, it seems very unlikely that that the education sector should expect to suddenly see a large injection of funding.  It seems more likely that when the cuts come that they won't be as deep as anticipated.  On academies following the reaction against forced academisation, it looks like the policy direction will continue but without major reform. 

That said, it is likely that whenever the Government has the chance to favour academies (whether through funding or other means) it will do so.  Perhaps the biggest question which has not yet seen a clear answer from the Government is the future role of Local Authorities in education.  While there is a definite direction of travel of reducing the role of Local Authorities both through diminished funding and greater emphasis on RSCs, the reality is that while there are still many maintained schools, Local Authorities still have powers and duties. 

School place planning will still need to take place and the entire SEN framework firmly leaves responsibility with Local Authorities too.  But with significantly less funding and MATs showing increasing interest in revenue raising activities, change for Councils seems inevitable. 

So overall, it seems the Government will amble forward with its current policy ideas rather than stride into reform.  But then again, Heraclitus's advice has proven accurate over the years so watch this space.