Schools and Academies Show 2019: The Ministerial Keynote Address

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Schools and Academies Show 2019: The Ministerial Keynote Address

In this write-up, we are going to be looking at the Ministerial Keynote Address by the Rt Hon, Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education. The keynote was delivered on the 3rd of April at 09:30.

The minister’s talk focused a lot on the initiatives and ideas the department of education is implementing. These initiatives are aimed at reducing the workload and stress that schools are under. This comes in several forms, such as seeking to simplify school reporting systems, rather than being beholden to many masters including Ofsted and Local Authorities. Another large part of this initiative is to reduce the amount of work that educators have to do by employing Education Technology (EdTech) solutions.

The minister stressed that the use of EdTech needs to be sensible, and not involve “tech for techs’ sake”; it needs to demonstrate step changes in efficiency that are useful. The example he gave was an unnamed system for reporting information on detentions. This system allows teachers to feed information on detentions in at the classroom level, rather than the previous system of sending a teacher round each room to gather that information manually. The minister claimed that this saved ~500 hours of work per term. To further the end of demonstrating step changes in efficiency, the department is looking to set up several ‘test bed schools’, with technology implemented. These will allow teachers and decision makers to visit and see that technology in action. The intention is to allow decisions around what technology to implement can be made in a much more realistic environment.

To further help Edtech progress, the minister also announced a scheme whereby schools will be provided with funding to try systems out before signing any long-term deals or paying out of their budgets. This will allow schools to identify what time and cost savings will look like in reality.

The minister then turned his attention to the upcoming spending review, where he stressed that the next spending review has not yet begun. He promised to press strongly for more money for education but also recognised that budgets are tight. There was more discussion on budgets and the spending review after the minister finished, during the “We really need to talk about finance” panel discussion. We will be releasing our write up on that in the next few days. In addition, he talked about wanting to increase efforts to improve teacher recruitment and retention, in order to decrease workloads. He declined to go into too much detail on the plans but agreed that “teachers are working too many hours” and that options are being explored such as increased flexible working.

If you work in administration at a school and want to see how magicbooking can help reduce stress and increase efficiency in your school, book a demo here. It’s free and comes with no obligations, we just want to show you what magicbooking can do.

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