Black Country Education Insight Report 2021
This is the third annual report we have produced offering an overview of all phases of education in the Black Country. As in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have dominated all areas of education and society. Therefore, we have concentrated much less on data analysis in this report in favour of capturing the views and first-hand experiences of educational practitioners from the region, gained through snapshot online surveys and opportunistic interviews.
The Black Country contains high levels of disadvantage and poverty and early evidence suggests that such areas have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. As we reported last year, schools, colleges, universities, early years settings and other education providers in the Black Country have worked extremely hard to maintain education and support for all learners, particularly those who are vulnerable, but it is too early to say how successful they have been. However, this report is testament to their efforts and persistence.
Black Country Education Insight Report 2020
The second Annual Black Country Education Insight report examining all phases of education in the area is now available. In the first report in 2019 we focused primarily on analysis of publicly available data, combined with research findings where appropriate, to explore and exemplify education and employment in the Black Country.
This report is written in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The uncertainty associated with this increases the challenge of reflecting on the past to plan for the future. Therefore the discussion of each area of education and employment examines both historical data and the experiences of practitioners and professionals who are directly addressing the crisis . Undoubtedly this has made education even more fast-moving and unpredictable than usual.
Black Country Education Insight Report 2019
This first annual report considers education in the Black Country holistically and broadly. It moves from early years through compulsory and post-compulsory education, addressing key issues such as mental health and special educational needs and disability along the way, and concludes with a look at possible futures.
In particular, the report highlights how disparities at each phase of a Black Country resident’s experience of education locally influences the next. The rationale behind our approach is that all phases of education are interdependent. We hope that by focusing on education, skills and employment in the Black Country in depth and as a whole, rather addressing issues in isolation, and by using data to highlight what works well as well as where improvement is needed, we can contribute to bringing about positive change.
Headlines from the report include the following:
- The Black Country has made significant improvements in recent times in all phases of education. In the early years and in primary schools, the majority of provision is rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding.
- Many of its secondary schools are approaching the Government’s curriculum changes and focus on Attainment 8 in creative ways to meet the needs of their students and local communities.
- There have been significant improvements in adult learning. The proportion of residents with no qualifications has reduced and the number of residents gaining higher level qualifications has grown by 20,000 (12.7%) since 2012.
- The region has also been successful in attracting skills capital investment, for example through the forthcoming Institute of Technology.