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Daily News Summary
11 October 2023

Labour Party Conference 2023: 'We are not the enemy, we are just schools' says independent head
Labour Party Conference 2023: Maths and tutoring on party's agenda
Periods and low confidence linked to decline in girls' enjoyment of PE

Labour Party Conference 2023: 'We are not the enemy, we are just schools' says independent head


The Telegraph reports that none of the 40 Labour politicians invited to discuss the party's school fee tax proposals chose to attend a fringe event hosted by the Independent Schools Council (ISC) earlier this week. Ministers, including members of the shadow cabinet, were invited to the reception held at Labour's conference because they have a significant number of independent schools and/or parents in their constituency. James Lockwood, head of Woodhouse Grove School, said the policy will “hit the least wealthy families hardest” and warned of its impact on the state sector. He added "we are not the enemy, we are just schools that form a valuable part of the whole education ecosystem in this country".  Philip Britton, head of Bolton School where one in five pupils are on bursaries, said he fears the policy "will damage some schools while not actually creating any benefit for others". ‌By Louisa Clarence-Smith.

Writing in Schools Week, chief executive of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) Dominic Norrish takes a closer look at the impact of Labour's proposed tax policy on children at independent and state schools, calling on Labour to "rethink" its plans before it has the "unintended consequence of affecting those children least able to cope". Mr Norrish warns: "After the imposition of 20 per cent VAT, the parents of at minimum 40,000 children will no longer be able to afford their school’s fee." 

Lynn News reports that staff at an independent school in West Norfolk are fearing for its future amid Labour's tax plans. Headteacher of Glebe House School Adrian Stewart said: "We are a small school, and we operate on very narrow margins. The imposition of additional financial burdens will introduce risk to our viability." By Kris Johnston.

Tony Oulton, headteacher of Oldham Hulme Grammar School, has invited Bridget Phillipson to meet his students in a bid to dispel the myth that all independent schools are a "bastion of privilege".  While visiting the school, Mr Oulton said Ms Phillipson would also have the chance to meet parents, “the majority of whom are making daily sacrifices to send their children to this school because they want the very best for them". By Joe Yates, The Oldham Times.

In today's video diary from the last day of Labour's annual conference, chief executive of the ISC Julie Robinson says members of the team have been meeting lots of people on behalf of independent schools, including the general secretary of the NASUWT, Dr Patrick Roach, and the deputy general secretary of the NEU, Niamh Sweeney. Throughout the week, Julie and colleagues have been attending meetings and fringe events with politicians, including the new shadow schools minister, Catherine McKinnell, and the shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson. Ms Robinson concludes the video by saying the ISC has reiterated its keenness to work with Labour in the future to improve outcomes for all children.


Labour Party Conference 2023: Maths and tutoring on party's agenda


Bridget Phillipson has unveiled plans to "bring maths to life" for pupils by teaching "real world" maths skills in primary schools. The shadow education secretary will say in a speech that children as young as four should learn financial literacy - including budgeting and currency exchange rates. BBC News.

Tes reports that Ms Phillipson is also looking to explore how tailored tutoring support can help children recover from lost learning. By Matilda Martin.


Periods and low confidence linked to decline in girls' enjoyment of PE


The gap between the proportion of boys and girls in England who enjoy PE lessons is widening, a Youth Sport Trust survey has found. Some 59 per cent of girls in secondary schools who responded to the survey said they liked PE or liked it a lot, compared with 84 per cent of the boys. The girls' proportion in the same survey in 2016 was 74 per cent, whereas for boys it has stayed stable. By Marthe de Ferrer and Julia Bryson, BBC News.



The Independent Schools Council (ISC) monitors the national and educational press in order to keep independent schools up-to-date with relevant education news. The DNS is a service primarily for schools in membership of ISC associations, although other interested parties can choose to sign-up. We endeavour to include relevant news and commentary and, wherever possible, notable public letters. Where capacity allows, we may include links to ISC blogs, press statements and information about school or association events. News stories are selected based on their relevance to the independent sector as a whole. Editorial control of the DNS remains solely with the ISC.

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