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 Public sector pay. The PM announced that the government was accepting the ‘headline recommendations’ from the public sector Pay Review Bodies including that for teachers but went on to say that government depts would have to find savings and efficiencies to pay for them, although he hoped this would see an end to industrial action. End of term report. Robin Walker MP, Chair of the Education Committee, reflected on the work of the Committee as the summer recess loomed, pointing to its Inquiries into the early years and school absences with reports due out shortly and forthcoming work on teacher recruitment and retention and Ofsted due to come this autumn. Early Years in context. The Sutton Trust published a new commissioned report looking into how England’s early years and childcare systems compare internationally suggesting that despite recent policy commitments, there was still room for improvement in England in areas like quality, costs, and accessibility and urging the country to learn from how other countries have opened access and ensured the provision of highly-qualified staff.
SCHOOLS Pay Body Report. The School Teachers Pay Review Body published its report on pay for teachers for 2023 pointing to evidence showing salaries had fallen behind the wider labour market and recruitment had missed targets, recommending accordingly an increase of 6.5% ‘at all grades’ with starting salaries rising to £30,000, further action on workloads and career pathways to be considered, and for performance-related pay to be withdrawn, ‘pending further work.’ Private school tax breaks. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IfS) examined the implications of the policy favoured by Labour of ending tax breaks and imposing VAT on private school fees, concluding that not only could it raise the amount of money considered but it wouldn’t destabilise the school system either. AI in school. Ed Elliott, Head of the Perse school, reflected in a blog on the HMC website about the future of teaching in the context of AI, arguing that while AI is likely to have a growing role when it comes to some forms of assessment and the seeking of knowledge, it will not be able to replace the human interactions that go into teaching.
FE/SKILLS Funding and accountability. The government confirmed changes to FE funding and accountability following the latest consultation which will see the new composite Adult Skills Fund introduced from next year, and a new funding framework for devolution deals and new Accountability Agreements and Performance Dashboard from this year, among other things. 16-19 programmes. The government published its regular non-statutory guidance for the provision of 16-19 study programmes in the coming year covering standard requirements but also including a request to consider building in 16-19 maths provision where possible as per the PM’s ‘16+ maths mission.’ Apprenticeship case studies. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships launched a new report showing a range of case studies over the last year and calling among other things for greater flexibility and minimum levels of funding to help encourage greater participation.
HE Widening participation. The government published its latest annual data on the entry into higher education by those aged 19 including those from disadvantaged and ethnic backgrounds for the 2021/22 year when many were affected by disruption to exams, but showing a notable increase by those on free school meals, a further increase in those from state schools albeit with independent A level students likely to go to high tariff institutions and a mixed picture for different ethnic groups. Regulation. Guild HE published the summary report on its series looking at regulation, bringing together its findings and making a number of recommendations for the future particularly around the role of the Office for Students to help develop ‘a clearer, simpler and more consistent’ accountability system. Tuition fees. Former universities minister Lord Willetts argued in a comment piece for the House magazine that rather than scrapping the current university funding model, it should be improved, suggesting three possible options including looking at the threshold for repayment, reconsidering the interest rate and looking at index linking the fee to protect university funding levels.
Education Questions in the House of Commons (Monday 17 July). Westminster Hall debate on pay for teaching assistants (Monday 17 July). Education Committee witness session with Nick Gibb MP on Maths to 18 and School Funding (Tuesday 18 July). The Tony Blair Institute ‘Future of Britain’ Conference (Tuesday 18 July). Parliamentary Summer Recess begins (Thursday 20 July).
MONDAY 17 JULY On this day in 1203 the siege of Constantinople began when Roman Catholic crusaders attacked the city. On this day in 1918 the Romanov royal family and several of their retainers were executed in Siberia. On this day in 1955 the Disneyland theme park in California first opened its doors.
TUESDAY 18 JULY On this day in 1870 the first Vatican Council decreed the doctrine of Papal infallibility claiming that the Pope cannot err when speaking on issues of morality or faith. On this day in 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out in Spanish Morocco and spread to mainland Spain. On this day in 1968 the world's largest semiconductor chip manufacturer Intel was founded in California.
WEDNESDAY 19 JULY On this day in 1553 Mary I replaced Lady Jane Grey as Queen of England. On this day in 1799 the Rosetta Stone containing fragments of three different ancient scripts was found in Egypt. On this day in 1941 Tom and Jerry first appeared under their own names in the cartoon "The Midnight Snack".
THURSDAY 20 JULY On this day in 1837 the Euston railway station opened in London as the terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway. On this day in 1944 an assassination plot against Hitler failed when a bomb planted in a briefcase detonated but failed to kill him. On this day in 1969 the Apollo 11 lunar module carrying Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon.
FRIDAY 21 JULY On this day in 356 BC Herostratus set fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus one of the Seven Wonders of the World. On this day in 1904 the 4,607 mile Trans-Siberian railway was completed after 13 years. On this day in 1983 the lowest temperature ever measured on earth was at Vostok Station in Antarctica when temperatures reached −128.6°F / −89.2°C.
Awareness days from around the world
JULY IS UK: Good Care Month, Talk To Us, National Picnic Month, Plastic Free July. WORLDWIDE: Sarcoma Awareness Month, Group B Strep Support (GBSS) Awareness Month, Independent Retailer Month, National Fragile X Awareness Month, National Hemp Month, National Contract Sewing Month, National Anti-boredom Month, National Grilling Month, World Watercolor Month, National Peach Month, National Picnic Month, National Blueberry Month, National Ice Cream Month, National Hot Dog Month, National Horseradish Month, National Culinary Arts Month, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, National Baked Bean Month, National Anti-Boredom Month, Bank Account Bonus Month.
THIS WEEK IS UK: Festival Of British Archaeology.
MONDAY 17 JULY WORLDWIDE: World Emoji Day, World Day for International Justice, National Get Out Of The Doghouse Day, National Lottery Day, National Tattoo Day, National Yellow Pig Day, National Wrong Way Corrigan Day, National Peach Ice Cream Day, Global Hug Your Kids Day.
TUESDAY 18 JULY WORLDWIDE: Black Leaders Awareness Day, National Tropical Fruit Day, World Listening Day, Nelson Mandela International Day, National Sour Candy Day, National Caviar Day, Insurance Nerd Day.
WEDNESDAY 19 JULY WORLDWIDE: National Daiquiri Day, National Hot Dog Day, Global Hug Your Kids Day, International Retainer Day, National Words With Friends Day.
THURSDAY 20 JULY WORLDWIDE: National Lollipop Day, National Moon Day, National Pennsylvania Day, Get To Know Your Customers Day, National Fortune Cookie Day, World Jump Day, International Chess Day, Space Exploration Day.
FRIDAY 21 JULY WORLDWIDE: National Be Someone Day, National Junk Food Day, National Lamington Day.