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Daily News Summary
7 July 2023

Tributes paid following tragedy at Wimbledon school
Labour’s independent school tax plans will force thousands of pupils into an 'oversubscribed state system, warns head of Reigate Grammar
Education reform under the Labour party
State school teachers walk out over pay for the second time this week
British Sign Language GCSE 'a step towards equality', says deaf teenage campaigner

Tributes paid after tragedy at Wimbledon school


The thoughts and sympathies of everyone at the Independent Schools Council (ISC) are with those impacted by yesterday's tragic events at The Study Preparatory School.

A statement from the school reads: "We are profoundly shocked by the tragic accident this morning at Wilberforce House and devastated that it has claimed the life of one of our young pupils as well as injuring several others. Our thoughts are with the bereaved family and with the families of those injured at this terrible time."

If you have been affected by this news and would like to speak to someone, Education Support can be reached by calling 08000 562 561.


Labour’s independent school tax plans will force thousands of pupils into an 'oversubscribed' state system, warns head of Reigate Grammar


Labour's plans to add VAT to independent school fees will force thousands of children to leave fee-paying schools and deny them “precious” opportunities to learn, Shaun Fenton, headmaster of Reigate Grammar School, has said. Speaking to The Telegraph, Mr Fenton, who is headteacher at the independent school once attended by Sir Keir Starmer, said: “I think Sir Keir knows that taxing the seven per cent of children who attend independent schools won’t fund an ambitious education reform programme." By James Fitzgerald.

In a separate article, The Telegraph explores what the Labour Party's tax plans could mean in practice. An interactive tool, featuring numerous schools in membership of the Independent Schools Council's (ISC) constituent associations, is provided to help readers calculate the possible effect on fees. The paper also asks whether Labour's sums add up, and what Labour propose to do with the money. By Dominic Penna.

This month's issue of Independent Schools Magazine features an article by educationalist Andrew McEwen. Mr McEwen warns that there would be "numerous pitfalls in implementing a policy to have VAT added to independent school fees and much that the independent sector could do to mitigate any net financial impact".


Education reform under the Labour party


All pupils would have to study creative arts or sport until they are 16 under a Labour government, Sir Keir Starmer said yesterday in a flagship speech on education. Announcing plans to shake up the national curriculum to focus more on creative subjects to teach the skills needed to capitalise on modern technology, the Labour leader said he believes artificial intelligence (AI) makes learning code pointless. By Chris Smyth, Henry Zeffman and Laurence Sleator, The Times.

Writing exclusively for Tes, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson argues that education needs critical changes if every child is to have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Former Labour MP Tom Harris writes in The Telegraph in light of Sir Keir's plans for education reform. Mr Harris warns: "Beware of aspiring politicians seeking to win votes by upending something as complex and delicate as a country’s education system."

In a letter published in The Times, former independent school headteacher Mark Steed supports Sir Keir in emphasising the importance of oracy in the school curriculum, which he says is going to be "all the more important" amid the widespread availability of natural language AI models.


State school teachers walk out over pay for the second time this week


Teaching members of the National Education Union (NEU) are striking today, the second time this week, in a long-running dispute over pay. Ministers are being warned that the disruption could heighten in the autumn term unless there agreement is reached on teachers’ salaries. By Seren Hughes, The Times.

The Times

British Sign Language GCSE 'a step towards equality', says deaf teenage campaigner


Daniel Jillings, a deaf teenager who has been campaigning for a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL) since he was 12 years old, has said the qualification would be "a step towards equality". Last month, the Department for Education (DfE) announced a 12-week consultation for a GCSE in BSL. By Rachael McMenemy, BBC News.



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