Speak to any teacher in this country and they’ll probably tell you that the one thing they’d like to see above all else is a stable education policy; a coherent long-term strategy that delivers consistency and continuity.
Instead, in recent years we’ve seen successive governments trying to stamp their mark on the education landscape, major initiatives proposed only to be quickly changed or withdrawn completely, and now even a post-Brexit leadership and policy reshuffle!
And yet, even as we can all admit this situation is far from ideal, it does throw up some incredible opportunities for your education business. That’s because change, and specifically the impact of change, can be like a shot in the arm for your marketing.
In this blog I’m going to take a look at some of the big changes happening in education right now while also looking at how you can seize upon them in order to help schools facilitate change and grow your business.
Primary SATs Testing:
This is huge. Instead of being happy to sit back and see results climb like an ever-upward tick, the government has significantly raised the bar in a bid to drive up standards.
The result has been a massive drop in the number of Key Stage 2 pupils meeting the required standard in maths, reading and writing; only 53% this year compared to 80% last year.
Despite the government assuring schools that these results should not be compared to previous years’ results, they have still set alarm bells ringing up and down the land. If you can help improve maths, reading and writing in primary schools then there has never been a better time to shout about it.
School Places Squeeze:
This ticking time bomb has been moving gradually towards the front of school leaders’ minds for a while now. However, with a recent report highlighting that an extra 750,000 places will be required by 2025 it’s no longer something that can be ignored.
With no sign of an impending programme of new schools being built, the onus is on existing schools to find innovative ways to extend their existing premises in order to accommodate the surge in pupils.
So, if you can help schools to maximise their space, you need to be shouting about it right now.
Incentives for Apprenticeships:
The government has just announced that employers in England are to be offered an extra £2,000 to take on teenage apprentices in a scheme that will see small businesses subsidised with 90% of the costs of providing apprenticeships.
This is the latest initiative in the government’s £2.5bn plan to increase the number of young people choosing to progress their career through an apprenticeship. So, if you can help secondary schools educate their pupils about the alternatives to a university degree, then make sure you’re referencing this latest initiative in your marketing.
Inadequate Support for SEN Pupils:
Two years ago the government introduced a new SEN Code of Conduct; a complex and daunting 253 page document which included sweeping changes to the way schools provide support for pupils with special educational needs.
Two years on and a new poll by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers has found that more than 80% of respondents believed that pupils with SEN were being failed by their school.
70.7% thought that pupils with SEN were not being identified early enough, 58% believed that SEN pupils were not receiving the support they needed, and almost half said they had been unable to access the support and training they needed to meet their pupils’ needs.
If you can help teachers to meet the requirements of the SEN Code of Practice and provide better support for their SEN pupils, then you’re likely to find that teachers are very eager to hear from you.
Major Changes to GCSEs:
Last September, major changes were introduced to the English and Maths GCSEs which meant that students would be graded 1-9 instead of A-G. This September sees the new GCSE being rolled out to a host of other subjects including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Languages, Religious Education, Geography, Music and History.
These new courses will include far less coursework, with grades in almost all subjects depending on exams. The courses have also been designed to be far more rigorous with exams being taken after two years of study rather than in modules with exams along the way.
All of these changes represent real challenges to both teachers and students. Not only will teachers need to get to grips with the content and structure of the new GCSE, they will also have to focus on ensuring their students are exam-ready come the summer of 2018. If you can help them meet the demands of the new GCSEs then you could become their new best friend!
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