Three of the week's headlines ...
Teachers say Gavin Williamson pandemic texts reveal secret contempt
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Scotland: New pay offer tabled in bid to end teacher strikes
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Services in England for children with special needs to be transformed
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Three pieces of policy news - by phase
Follow this linkto view the full version of Steve Besley's popular policy round-up - including an overview of all the important stories, his top headlines of the week, tweets and posts of note, the most memorable quotes, not-to-be-missed statistics and what to look out for next week.
As your starter for ten, we've chosen three items from each phase below ...

Back to work. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IfS) suggested that we may have reached a turning point on economic inactivity among older workers with recent data pointing to a drop in the inactivity rate among 50-64 yr olds, although given much of this may have been prompted by the cost-of-living crisis they felt this wasn’t yet a cause for celebration.
Public services. The New Economics Foundation examined the current funding around public services where squeezes have seen for instance a big backlog in needed school repairs and where it’s suggested that even with inflation falling, real spending on such services are likely to remain low.
500 words. The BBC announced the re-launch of its children’s writing competition – 500 Words, which ran from 2011 to 2020 and will open again from this September with two entry categories, ages 5 – 7 and 8 – 11, and with support from BBC Teach and BBC Breakfast along with the Queen Consort.

SEND Plan. The government published its response to last year’s SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and Alternative Provision (AP) Green Paper in the form of an extensive Improvement Plan proposing ‘a single national SEND and AP system,’ based on proven national standards, incorporating new special free schools and local partnerships, along with more trained staff, clearer accountabilities and additional funding as announced in the Autumn Statement. 
Maths to age 18. The Chair of the Education Committee wrote to the Education Secretary about concerns raised with the Committee over government plans to encourage pupils to study some form of maths to age 18, pointing to a lack of trained teachers and support for those who struggle with GCSE maths as particular concerns.
Secondary school choices. FFT Education Datalab looked into just how useful Ofsted reports were when choosing a secondary school, concluding that apart from the ‘outstanding’ label, they weren’t especially useful and that parents shouldn’t seek to move house as a result.

Mind the skills gap. The FE sector published a briefing for ministers as part of a day of campaigning on skills, highlighting the scale of the skills shortages currently and calling for effective investment, a national strategy to support local growth, and a right to lifelong learning.
Annual Skills Survey. The CBI published its latest annual skills survey conducted over 270+ businesses last autumn showing firms maintaining rather than increasing their training budgets, continuing issues about the current apprenticeship system and a lack of awareness of government skills reform programmes generally. 
Funding uplifts. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) confirmed it was increasing adult skills funding, enabling more over-delivery and applying a 20% uplift for provision in six subject areas including Building and Construction, Engineering, and Maths and Statistics.

Research and innovation. Universities along with leading research and innovation bodies called for ‘rapid progress’ on securing the UK’s place in EU research programmes such as Horizon Europe following the positive messages coming out of the Windsor Framework.
Academic misconduct. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) highlighted some of the key themes arising from its recent casework on academic misconduct pointing to the importance of ensuring good academic practice and working with students when they have concerns.
Universities and ChatGPT. The i reported on the impact of the AI chatbot ChatGPT on the university sector pointing to a mixed picture, with some looking at how to take it into account yet a further 28 institutions looking to prohibit its use.
Access all issues of Steve Besley's Education Eye
Latest research, reports and studies
New data tables show UK student domicile by local authority | HESA
Are Ofsted inspections helpful for choosing secondary schools? | FFT Education Datalab
Research: Moving beyond student wellbeing | Teacher Toolkit
Understanding girls' experiences of being at risk of permanent exclusion: How do we get there? | BERA
What will be the impact of extending universal free school meals in London? | FFT Education Datalab
Gender, education and skills: The persistence of gender gaps in education and skills | OECD
Absences negatively impact achievement, regardless of the reason | BEIB
Self-regulated learning and reading comprehension | BEIB
Choosing your freedom: Research into youth self-employment | Youth Futures Foundation
Learning from experience: How to make high quality work experience for all a reality | SMF
Search our education research section
Parliament and elsewhere
Education Committee evidence session on ‘persistent absence and support for disadvantaged pupils.’ (Tuesday 7 March).
CBI’s Conference series on Skills and Work. (Tuesday 7 March).
International Women’s Day. (Wednesday 8 March).
Westminster Hall debate on racial discrimination in schools. (Wednesday 8 March).
Public Accounts Committee Inquiry into Education Recovery into Schools. (Thursday 9 March).
ASCL Annual Conference. (Friday 10 March – Saturday 11 March. The Education Secretary and Ofsted present on the first day).
Events and CPD opportunities
Monday 6 March: Children’s online safety and media literacy | Westminster Forum Projects (online event)
Tuesday 7 March: Nursery World Business Summit 2023 | Nursery World (in-person event)
Tuesday 7 March: Digifest 2023 | Jisc (in-person event)
Tuesday 7 March: The Digital Skills and Inclusion Conference 2023 | Inside Government (in-person event)
Wednesday 8 March: Growing and Developing a Trust – Manchester | Optimus Education (in-person event)
Wednesday 8 March: National Career Guidance Show 2023 | Optimus Education (in-person event)
Friday 10 March: #TECHOGNITION | Unison (online event)
Friday 10 March: ASCL Annual Conference 2023 | ASCL (in-person event)

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Three interesting daily facts
On this day in 1899 German company Bayer patented aspirin. 
On this day in 1924 the Egyptian government opened the mummy case of King Tutankhamen.
On this day in 2018 the world's oldest message in a bottle (thrown from a ship in 1886) was found in Western Australia. 
On this day in 161 Marcus Aurelius became emperor of Rome.
On this day in 1912 Roald Amundsen announced his discovery of the South Pole.
On this day in 1965 civil rights protesters beaten in “Bloody Sunday” attack.
On this day in 1702 Anne, the last Stuart monarch of Great Britain, ascended the throne.
On this day in 1817 The New York Stock Exchange was founded.
On this day in 1917 February Revolution began, leading to the end of czarist rule in Russia.
On this day in 1959 the first Barbie doll went on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City.
On this day 1961 Soviet flight Sputnik 9 carried and returned from orbit a dog, frogs, and a guinea pig.
On this day in 1974 the last Japanese soldier operating in the Philippines surrendered 29 years after World War II ended.

On this day in 1920 the Home Rule Act, dividing Ireland into two parts was passed by the British Parliament.
On this day in 1959 Tibetans revolted against Chinese occupation.
On this day in 1969 James Earl Ray pled guilty to murdering American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
Awareness days from around the world
Endometriosis Awareness Month, National Nutrition Month, National Irish-American Heritage Month, Deep-Vein Thrombosis Awareness Month, Brain Injury Awareness Month, Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Mustache March, National Save Your Vision Month.
National Bed Month, Walk All Over Cancer, Endo The Night, Dechox, Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Brain Tumour Awareness Month, 100 Miles In March For Mind, Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Veggie Month..

Endometriosis Awareness Week, No More Week, National Careers Week, Cultivation Street Week, National Butchers Week, British Pie Week, Crufts, Programming for Primaries, British Science Week, Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Dentist's Day in the US.

National Cereal Day, World Maths Day.


International Women's Day, World Kidney Day.

National No Smoking Day.

World Panic Day, World Kidney Day, International School Meals Day.

University Mental Health Day.
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