Key appointments:

The Skills Minister, Anne Milton, announced a series of appointments of ‘Apprenticeship Ambassadors’ who will help the Government to encourage more people to take them up. The new ambassadors are Maria Caufield (MP), Stephen Metcalfe (MP) and Trudy Harrison (MP). You can find more information here.

Conor Ryan, Sutton Trust Director of Research and Communications, is chairing a new commission on life chances in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, initiated by the council leader, Cllr Clare Coghill. The commission will report in 2018.

Key announcements:

Following the increased student loan repayment threshold of £25,000 and the tuition fee freeze at £9,250, the Treasury committee has launched a new inquiry into the student loan system and its potential financial implications. Read more here. Wales have similarly frozen student fees at £9,000 and matched the repayment threshold of £25,000.

The Department for Education started publishing its Opportunity Area plans which set out the priorities for each area and gives some more information on how the opportunity area might work. The EEF is acknowledged as one of the organisations working in these areas. You can find the list here.

Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, announced the first new T Level programmes. Three of the routes will be available in 2020 (education and childcare, digital industries, and construction) with the other 12 on offer by 2022. You can find the announcement here.

Justine Greening also announced a new pilot loan repayment scheme for modern foreign language and science teachers to be trialled in 25 areas across England. For a teacher on £29,000, the new student loan repayments pilot and the increased student loan repayment threshold of £25,000 will mean £720 cash in pocket. This is the equivalent of an approximate £1,000 increase in salary. Find out more here.

Sutton Trust and EEF mentions:

Stephen Twigg MP (Lab, Liverpool, West Derby) raised concerns regarding nursery schools in his area, citing our report Closing Gaps Early, during a Westminster Hall debate on education funding in South Liverpool. You can find the full Hansard of the debate here, and the reference to the Sutton Trust report here.

Tracy Brabin, Shadow Minister for Early Years, and Ruth George, Labour MP, cited our Closing Gaps Early report in a debate on early years and the roll-out of 30 hours free childcare. Read more here.

Committee chair Robert Halfon MP quoted the Sutton Trust’s Life skills report during the Education Select Committee hearing, asking Justine Greening what her department was doing to improve non-academic skills. You can watch the hearing here.

Lord Holmes’ bill calling to ban unpaid internships lasting over four weeks received its second reading in the House of Lords. Sutton Trust research on internships was cited by Baroness Jenkin of Kennington and acknowledged by Baroness Morgan of Huyton, Lord Mendelsohn and Lord Holmes. You can read the full transcript here.

At Teach First’s social mobility conference, Justine Greening showcased the work of the EEF in driving her social mobility agenda forward. You can find the full transcript here.

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