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 taskforce. The government announced additional (£100m) funding along with the creation of a new expert taskforce to lead UK development in AI and emerging technologies, support start-ups and position the UK as a leading technology nation. Opening Doors. Business in the Community reported that more than 50 employers had signed up to its ‘Opening Doors’ campaign designed to remove barriers to work for more disadvantaged jobseekers and help diversify the workforce. Child protection. The Internet Watch Foundation published its latest annual report pointing to a disturbing rise in Category A child sexual abuse online and calling as a result for increased vigilance and stronger action to remove such images and protect children.
SCHOOLS School funding. The government added further details on the additional £2bn promised in last Autumn’s Budget Statement, suggesting primary schools would each receive an extra £35,000 on average and secondary schools £200,000, as it rowed back on the requirement for schools to be rated good or outstanding to be eligible for additional funding. Industrial action. The Confederation of School Trusts called on the government to return to the negotiating table and resolve the current dispute as the ‘crucial period’ of exams and SATs all now loomed. MATs and school inspections. Ofsted reported on the role of multi-academy trusts in school inspections using survey evidence to show that many play an important supportive role although this is currently limited given Ofsted can only operate at a school rather than a trust level.
FE/SKILLS Qualification system. The Education Committee published the results of its inquiry into post-16 qualifications acknowledging the importance of having a simplified system of routes for young people but raising concerns about abandoning applied general qualifications before alternatives are established and about young people missing out on apprenticeships along with the need for ‘a wholesale review’ of 16-19 funding. Capital loans. The government invited colleges having to borrow commercially or facing a funding gap as a result of commercial borrowing following last autumn’s reclassification of colleges, to apply for loans under its capital loans scheme with bids needing to be submitted within criteria by the end of May. EPA guidance. Ofqual outlined a number of changes to its end-point assessment (EPA) guidance following consultation, largely clarifying expectations around such matters as terminology, centre arrangements and assessment plans.
HE Financial Sustainability. The Office for Studies reported on how it monitors and in some case intervenes to ensure the financial sustainability of registered providers and protect students’ interests, using case study evidence from the last five years to illustrate the range of activities in this area. OfS debate. MPs discussed issues surrounding the Office for Students (OfS) in a Westminster Hall debate with Labour MP Emma Hardy setting out concerns about its role, value for money, the burden of regulation, quality oversight and its proximity to government, with the minister responding arguing the importance of its regulatory role and as voice for students and defending it on value for money. Regulation. GuildHE published the latest in its series of briefings on regulation looking on this occasion at world-class regulation, identifying some of the principles involved with case study evidence and concluding with four headline features including risk-based and leading to accountability.
HE (Freedom of Speech) Bill, consideration of amendments (Tuesday 2 May). NEU industrial action (Tuesday 2 May). World Economic Forum ‘Growth Summit: Jobs and Opportunity for All’ (Tuesday 2 May – Wednesday 3 May). Learning Technologies 2023 Event (Wednesday 3 May – Thursday 4 May). Local Council Elections (Thursday 4 May). HMC Spring Conference (Thursday 4 May).
MONDAY 1 MAY On this day in 1840 the world's first adhesive postage stamp the 'Penny Black' was issued in the UK. On this day in 1939 Batman first appeared in the pages of Detective Comics #27. On this day in 1945 Adolf Hitler's death was announced on German radio.
TUESDAY 2 MAY On this day in 1933 the Loch Ness Monster was sighted for the first time, igniting the modern legend. On this day in 1949 Arthur Miller won the Pulitzer Prize for "Death of a Salesman". On this day in 2018 new research published in "Plos One" showed plants 'talk' to each other through their roots and soil in a study on corn.
WEDNESDAY 3 MAY On this day in 1898 Golda Meir, Israeli educator, politician, and fourth Prime Minister of Israel was born. On this day in 1978 the world's first spam email was sent by the Digital Equipment Corporation. On this day in 1999 Oklahoma City was hit by a tornado that produced the highest wind speeds ever recorded.
THURSDAY 4 MAY On this day in 1675 King Charles II commissioned the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. On this day in 1904 the United States took over the construction of the Panama Canal. On this day in 1959 Ella Fitzgerald became the first Black woman to win a Grammy Award.
FRIDAY 5 MAY On this day in 1260 Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, became the ruler of the Mongol Empire. On this day in 1921 fashion designer, Coco Chanel, released Chanel No 5 perfume. On this day in 1980 the siege at the Iranian Embassy in London ended as the SAS and police stormed the building.
Awareness days from around the world
MAY IS UK: Local And Community History Month, National Share A Story Month, National Walking Month, Make May Purple/Action On Stroke Month. WORLDWIDE: National Clean Air Month, National Teen Self Esteem Month, Zombie Awareness Month, May Measure Month, Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Maternal Mental Health Month, National Barbecue Month, National Bike Month, National Hamburger Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Photography Month, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Awareness Month, National Military Appreciation Month, Golf Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Deck Safety Month, Bladder Cancer Awareness Month, Prader-Willi Syndrome Awareness Month, Lupus Awareness Month, National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month.
THIS WEEK IS UK: Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week, Deaf Awareness Week, Sun Awareness Week, National Gardening Week, Time For A Cuppa, Viral Meningitis Awareness Week. WORLDWIDE: National Eastern Box Turtle Week, National Hospital Week, North American Occupational Safety & Health Week, Screen-free Week, Small Business Week, Choose Privacy Week, National Wildflower Week, National Lawyer Well-Being Week, Go Diaper Free Week.
MONDAY 1 MAY UK: Early May Bank Holiday. WORLDWIDE: Lei Day, Loyalty Day, Law Day, International Workers’ Day, May Day, Global Love Day, School Principals’ Day, Silver Star Service Banner Day, Melanoma Monday, National Chocolate Parfait Day, National Mother Goose Day, National Loyalty Day, National Purebred Dog Day, School Bus Drivers Day, Therapeutic Massage Awareness Day, National Executive Coaching Day, New Home Owners Day.
TUESDAY 2 MAY WORLDWIDE: National Teacher Day, National Truffle Day, World Asthma Day, World Tuna Day, National Foster Care Day, National Teacher Appreciation Day, National Life Insurance Day, International Harry Potter Day, Baby Day, National Brothers and Sisters Day, National School Nurse Day, Poem on Your Pillow Day.
WEDNESDAY 3 MAY WORLDWIDE: World Maternal Mental Health Day, National Interpreter Appreciation Day, World Press Freedom Day, National Skilled Trades Day, National Montana Day, National Textiles Day, National San Architect Day, National Raspberry Popover Day, National Bike To School Day, National Chocolate Custard Day, National Paranormal Day, National Two Different Colored Shoes Day, National Specially-abled Pets Day, National Garden Meditation Day, National Lumpy Rug Day, Write a Review Day.
THURSDAY 4 MAY UK: Firefighters' Memorial Day. WORLDWIDE: Bird Day, National Day of Reason, Star Wars Day, National Self Employed Day, World Password Day, National Weather Observers Day, National Candied Orange Peel Day, National Orange Juice Day, National Renewal Day, National Day Of Prayer, K.I.N.D Day, International Firefighters’ Day, Petite And Proud Day, 45 Day.
FRIDAY 5 MAY WORLDWIDE: International Day Of The Midwife, African World Heritage Day, World Portuguese Language Day, National Silence The Shame Day, School Lunch Hero Day, Cinco De Mayo, National Astronaut Day, National Hoagie Day, National Totally Chipotle Day, National Cartoonists Day, National Space Day, Revenge of the Fifth, Nail Day, National No Pants Day, Hug A Shed And Take A Selfie Day, International Tuba Day.