Follow this link to 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 ...
GENERAL AI White Paper. The government set out its thinking on regulating AI following a call for views last year, proposing what it called a pro-innovation framework built around five principles incorporating security, transparency, and accountability, all designed to strengthen the UK’s position as a global leader in AI. Jobs trends. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation published its latest briefing on job adverts covering the first week of March and showing a rise in job adverts notably for secondary school teachers along with construction workers and the clergy. Ofcom Strategy. Ofcom published its Work Plan for 2023/24 as it takes on new responsibilities around online harm and telecoms security while looking to continue its focus on four key priorities: ‘internet we can rely on; media we trust and value; a safer life online; and enabling wireless services in the broader economy.’
SCHOOLS Teachers’ pay. The government put forward the case on its latest pay offer to teacher unions arguing that the one-off payment of £1000 this year and an average 4.5% rise for next year, along with reforms to workloads, constituted a good offer for which schools would receive additional funds and thereby not on average have to make cuts elsewhere. AI statement. The DfE issued ‘a position statement’ on the use of AI in education contexts, acknowledging that it could help free up teachers’ time but equally pose risks over data, online harm and misuse in student work and assessment. Academies development. The government followed up its Regulatory and Commissioning Review by setting out a new framework for the development of the Academy system, with pledges to streamline its regulatory approach, improve the approach to commissioning and generally do everything to “support the transition to a dynamic, self-improving system.”
FE/SKILLS Apprenticeship ambitions. Rob Halfon, the skills minister, wrote to apprenticeship providers to thank them for their work and to list the further action being taken including the launch next month of an Apprentice Support Centre and the scrapping of the apprentice cap for small businesses as part of the ambition of hitting an achievement rate of 67% by 2024/25. Strategic guidance. The government set out its strategic guidance for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) for 2023/24 listing a number of deliverables by the end of 2024 under three core priorities: the development of an employer-led, high-quality skills system; a high-quality apprenticeship system; and a similarly high-quality technical education system. College leadership. The Education and Training Foundation announced the award of a £9.5m contract from the government, working with the AoC and others to provide enhanced leadership and governance programmes within the FE sector until 2025.
HE Demand for places. UCAS and partners kickstarted a major national debate about a likely major increase in demand for higher education places over the next few years as increased demographic and international demand worked through, calling on ’50 key thinkers from across the UK’ to offer their thoughts on how some of the challenges this might bring, such as access and equality, might be tackled. QAA de-designation. The government issued its response to the consultation on the de-designation of the QAA as the quality body, acknowledging that the majority of the 47 responses disagreed with the move but confirming the procedure to be followed and calling on the Office for Students to consider the points raised. Access and participation. The Office for Students (OfS) published responses and further details on its work around equality of opportunity pointing to the amended access and participation plans from universities, the implementation of the Equality of Opportunity Risk Register and the work being done to support students facing cost-of-living pressures.
MONDAY 3 APRIL On this day in 1882 Jesse James, one of America’s most famous criminals, was murdered by a fellow gang member for the reward money. On this day in 1973 the first public mobile telephone call was placed on a Manhattan sidewalk. On this day in 1975 Bobby Fischer was stripped of the world chess title for refusing to defend it.
TUESDAY 4 APRIL On this day in 1949 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed to become what is today one of the world's most important military alliances. On this day in 1968 civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis, Tennessee. On this day in 1973 the World Trade Center, then the world's tallest building, opened in New York City.
WEDNESDAY 5 APRIL On this day in 1923 Firestone Tire and Rubber Company started producing inflatable tires. On this day in 1955 Winston Churchill resigned as prime minister of Great Britain. On this day in 1994 grunge rock icon Kurt Cobain died by suicide.
THURSDAY 6 APRIL On this day in 1889 George Eastman began selling his Kodak flexible rolled film for the first time. On this day in 1896 the first modern Olympic Games were opened in Athens. On this day in 1917 the United States officially entered World War I.
FRIDAY 7 APRIL On this day in 1739 Di ck Turpin was executed in England for horse theft. On this day in 1948 the World Health Organization was established. On this day in 1994 violence erupted in Rwanda fuelling the launch of the worst episode of genocide since World War II.
Awareness days from around the world
APRIL IS UK: Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, Stress Awareness Month, National Autism Awareness Month, Child Abuse Awareness Month, Pet Month. WORLDWIDE: Move More Month, Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, International Cesarean Awareness Month, IBS Awareness Month, Active for April, National Pet Month, Jazz Appreciation Month, Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Autism Acceptance Month, Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, Cancer Control Month, Celebrate Diversity Month, Child Abuse Awareness Month, Counseling Awareness Month, Defeat Diabetes Month, Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Earth Month, Emotional Overeating Awareness Month, Fair Housing Month, Financial Literacy Month, Genocide Awareness Month, National Adopt a Greyhound Month, National African-American Women's Fitness Month, National Alcohol Awareness Month, National Car Care Month, National Deaf History Month, National Donate Life Month, National Foot Health Awareness Month, National Heartworm Awareness Month, National Internship Awareness Month, National Minority Health Month, National Multiple Birth Awareness Month, National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, National Rebuilding Month, National Safe Digging Month, National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, National Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) Education and Awareness Month, National Sjogren's Syndrome Awareness Month, National Volunteer Month, National Youth Sports Safety Month, Occupational Therapy Month, Pharmacists War on Diabetes Month, Poetic Earth Month, Primary Immunodeficiency Awareness Month, Rosacea Awareness Month, Sarcoidosis Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month, Step up for 30 For Bowel Cancer Month, STI Awareness Month, Stress Awareness Month, SunSmart Skin Cancer Prevention, Testicular Cancer Awareness Month, Workplace Conflict Awareness Month, Worldwide Bereaved Spouses Awareness Month, National Sexual Assault Awareness Month's Day of Action, Limb Loss And Limb Difference Awareness Month, National Afternoon Tea Month, Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, National Brunch Month, National Tar Syndrome Awareness Month, Sarcoidosis Awareness Month, National Financial Literacy Month, National Alcohol Awareness Month, English Language Month, National Month Of Hope, National Volunteer Month, Distracted Driving Awareness Month, National Landscape Architecture Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, Canine Fitness Month, Occupational Therapy Month, National Internship Awareness Month, Month Of The Military Child, National Donate Life Awareness Month, National Fair Housing Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, National Cannabis Awareness Month, National Safe Digging Month, National Welding Month, National Pecan Month, National Poetry Month, Straw Hat Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Jazz Appreciation Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Humor Month, National Garden Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Decorating Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Stress Awareness Month, Records And Information Management Month, Lawn And Garden Month, Keep America Beautiful Month, International Guitar Month.
THIS WEEK IS WORLDWIDE: Community Garden Week, Be Kind to Spiders Week, International Pooper Scooper Week, Medication Safety Week, Testicular Cancer Awareness Week, National Blue Ribbon Week, National Cancer Registrars Week, National Window Safety Week, Discover National Parks Fortnight, Bee Active Bee Healthy Bee Happy Week, National Wildlife Week, Oral, Head And Neck Cancer Week, National Window Safety Week, National Public Health Week, International Pooper Scooper Week.
MONDAY 3 APRIL UK: Walk to Work Day, Fish Fingers and Custard Day, National Chocolate Mousse Day, National Tweed Day. WORLDWIDE: A Drop of Water is a Grain of Gold, Armenian Appreciation Day, National Pro-Life T Shirt Day, National Iep Writing Day, National Film Score Day, World Party Day, National Find A Rainbow Day.
TUESDAY 4 APRIL UK: International Carrot Day. WORLDWIDE: 404 Day, International Day for Landmine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action, National Vitamin C Day, SAAM Day of Action, Jeep 4×4 Day, National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day, National School Librarian Day, National Hug A Newsperson Day, National Walk Around Things Day.
WEDNESDAY 5 APRIL WORLDWIDE: National Raisin and Spice Bar Day, Jewish Passover, Accelerate ACL Awareness Among Young Women Day, Day of Hope, International Day of Conscience, National Childhelp Day of Hope, National Self Care Day, First Contact Day, Gold Star Spouses Day, National Flash Drive Day, National Nebraska Day, National Deep Dish Pizza Day, National Read A Road Map Day, National Caramel Day, National Go For Broke Day, National Walking Day.
THURSDAY 6 APRIL UK: New Beer’s Eve, Maundy Thursday. WORLDWIDE: National Tartan Day, Bohring-Opitz Syndrome Day, Drowsy Driver Awareness Day, National Alcohol Screening Day, National Employee Benefits Day, National Carbonara Day, National Employee Benefits Day, National Burrito Day, National Teflon Day, National Student-athlete Day, National Caramel Popcorn Day, National Sorry Charlie Day.
FRIDAY 7 APRIL WORLDWIDE: Walk To Work Day, World Health Day, Good Friday, Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide, International Beaver Day, Make the First Move Day, National Pet Health Insurance Day, National Integrated Respiratory Care Week, National Girl Me Too Day, National No Housework Day, National Coffee Cake Day, National Beer Day.