Three of the week's headlines ...
The ghost children crisis explained: No single reason for surge in school absences
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English universities at risk due to over-reliance on fees from Chinese students
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Greater Manchester Baccalaureate will give choice, mayor says
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Three pieces of policy news - by phase
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 ...

Climate action. The DfE followed up its 2022 ‘sustainability and climate change strategy for education’ by reinforcing the importance of the programme and promising the rollout of further support including a network of local experts and ‘a sustainability leadership digital hub’ from the end of this year.
Labour market analysis. The Institute for Employment Studies published its regular analysis of the latest labour market figures pointing to employment continuing to strengthen despite the record number out because of long-term sickness, a mixed picture on vacancies with those in public services such as education remaining high, and regular pay up but weakened by inflation.
Early Years. Global charity TheirWorld called on world leaders to invest in the early years as it published a new report showing that international aid to pre-primary fell by almost 10% at the height of the pandemic and many countries failed to keep up with their pledge to spend 10% of their education budgets on the early years.

International reading performance. The government published the results from the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) showing an impressive fourth placed international ranking for England’s 9/10 yr olds.
Hubs programme. The government published early research on its English Hubs Programme (EHP,) which provide support for teaching in phonics and early reading, pointing to evidence of raised performance in schools in the Programme.
Second ballot. The National Education Union (NEU) opened a further round of balloting for strike action over pay and conditions with the ballot remaining open for members until 28 July.

Barriers to apprenticeships. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) called for much more work to be done to provide young people with information and support as it reported on its recent roundtable with apprenticeship providers examining the barriers and information gaps that many young people face trying to access an apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship intermediaries. The IPPR think tank called in a new report for the creation of a network of apprenticeship intermediaries who could work particularly with SMEs to help aggregate demand, navigate systems and generally improve options for employers and apprentices alike.
Prevent. The Education and Training Foundation was awarded the contract by government to provide Prevent training for a further year.

International students. Leading HE bodies Universities UK, HEPI and Kaplan reported on their commissioned research undertaken by London Economics into the economic benefits to the UK of international students, showing an impressive 34% increase in economic returns over the last three years.
University finances. The Office for Students (OfS) reported on the finances of universities in England concluding that many were ‘in good shape’ and the sector was expected to grow income over the next three years but equally highlighting a number of potential risk factors including the continuing impact of inflation, the costs of facilities investment, and an over-reliance on fees from foreign – largely Chinese – students.
Access and participation plans. The Office for Students published regulatory advice for HE institutions on drawing up access and participation plans complete with sections on the overall strategic aim, the objectives, risks, investment consultation process and overall summary of such plans.
Access all issues of Steve Besley's Education Eye
Latest research, reports and studies
The benefits and costs of international higher education students to the UK economy | HEPI
International students boost UK economy by £41.9 billion | UUK
Key findings from PIRLS 2021 in Northern Ireland | NFER
ECHILD: What we can learn from linked health and education data in England | FFT Education Datalab
Research concordats and agreements review report - phase 2 | Advance HE
International students boost UK economy by £41.9 billion | HEPI
Barriers to young people accessing intermediate and advanced apprenticeships: Perspectives from apprenticeship providers | NFER
New findings from EEF-commissioned evaluations | EEF
New research finds teachers want to prioritise professional development | Ambition Institute
Early Career Framework: The first 18 months | Teacher Tapp
Pupils joining and leaving the state-funded school system before and after the start of the pandemic | FFT Education Datalab
Search our education research section
Parliament and elsewhere
Education Committee witness sessions on SEND (Tuesday 23 May).
Edge Symposium on Bacc options (Tuesday 23 May).
Parliamentary Whitsun recess (Thursday 25 May – Monday 5 June).
Events and CPD opportunities
Monday 22 May: ASCL Curriculum Conference 2023 | ASCL (in-person event)
Tuesday 23 May: SEND Provision - London | Optimus Education (in-person event)
Tuesday 23 May: Next steps for schools estates in England | Westminster Forum Projects (online event
Tuesday 23 May: Skills and Education Group Conference 2023 | Skills and Education Group (in-person event)
Tuesday 23 May: How to Tackle Sexual Harassment in Schools Action Day | Inside Government (online event)
Wednesday 24 May: The Delivering Excellence in Teaching English in Schools Conference 2023 | Government Events (online event)
Wednesday 24 May: Reconnecting with China amid shifting market conditions | The PIE (online event)
Thursday 25 May: Gender in Higher Education Conference 2023 | Advance HE (in-person event)
Thursday 25 May: Delivering Outstanding MFL Teaching at KS2 | Inside Government (online event)
Thursday 25 May: Complaints management for governing boards | National Governance Association (online event)

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Three interesting daily facts
On this day in 1455 the War of the Roses began at St Albans, 20 miles northwest of London.
On this day in 1859 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, was born.
On this day in 1933 the first modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster by Aldie and John Mackay occurred when they saw "something resembling a whale".

On this day in 1785 Benjamin Franklin announced his invention of bifocals.
On this day in 1934 police shot famous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde to death in an ambush along a country road in Louisiana.
On this day in 1951 delegates of the Dalai Lama signed the Seventeen Point Agreement affirming Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.
On this day in 1844 Samuel Morse tapped out "What hath God wrought" in the world's first telegraph message.
On this day in 1956 the first Eurovision Song Contest was held with Lys Assia winning for Switzerland.
On this day in 1978 the term "glass ceiling" was first coined to describe invisible career barriers for women.
On this day in 1895 Oscar Wilde was sent to prison after being convicted of homosexuality.
On this day in 1961 John F Kennedy announced the US goal of putting a man on the moon before the end of decade.
On this day in 1977 the first Star Wars film starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford was released.
On this day in 1897 "Dracula" by Irish author Bram Stoker was published by Archibald Constable and Company in London.
On this day in 1927 Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company produced the last (and 15th million) Tin Lizzie, Model T Ford.
On this day in 1972 the Soviet Union and the United States sign the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.
Awareness days from around the world

Local And Community History Month, National Share A Story Month, National Walking Month, Make May Purple/Action On Stroke Month, National Smile Month.
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, Tourettes Awareness Month.


National Doughnut Week, National Epilepsy Week, National Conversation Week, Go Paddling Week, British Tomato Fortnight.
International Heritage Breeds Week, Italian Beef Week.


National Maritime Day, World Goth Day, International Being You Day, National Craft Distillery Day, World Paloma Day, National Solitaire Day, National Vanilla Pudding Day, National Buy A Musical Instrument Day, Victoria Day, Sherlock Holmes Day, International Day for Biological Diversity, Harvey Milk Day.


National Taffy Day, World Turtle Day 2023, International Day To End Obstetric Fistula, National Lucky Penny Day, National Library Workers Day, National Title Track Day.


National Yucatan Shrimp Day, World Schizophrenia Day, National Wyoming Day, Brother’s Day, Aviation Maintenance Technician Day, Emergency Medical Services For Children Day, National Escargot Day, National Scavenger Hunt Day, World Product Day, International Tiara Day.


Towel Day.
National Wine Day, International Missing Children’s Day, International Skin Pigmentation Day, International Plastic Free Day, World Thyroid Day, Geek Pride Day, National Brown-bag-it Day, National Tap Dance Day.


Melanoma BRAF Awareness Day.
National Paper Airplane Day, National Road Trip Day, National Cooler Day, National Blueberry Cheesecake Day, National Don’t Fry Day, World Lindy Hop Day, World Dracula Day, Chardonnay Day.
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