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 Annual Report. The DfE published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2022/23 outlining performance against its Priority Outcomes, a timeline of major announcements from over the year, a breakdown of money spent and sectors served, plus lists of key partners, risks, ministerial changes, and much, much more. Public sector pay. The IPPR think tank argued in a new report that contrary to government claims, wage rises of around 10% for public sector employees were unlikely to fuel inflation and arguably could help end the current industrial unrest and help with employee retention. Extending Childcare. The Campaign for Learning called for a Delivery Plan for the 30-hour entitlement to parents and further consultation around flexi working as it published a collection of think pieces from leading figures on the new childcare arrangements.
SCHOOLS School funding. The government confirmed an increase (2.7%) in per pupil funding rates through the NFF (National Funding Formula) for schools in England for 2024/25 amounting to £4,655 per primary school pupil and £6,050 per secondary pupil along with a 4.3% increase for pupils with high needs. Deep Dives. Ofsted provided detail on the numbers of ‘Deep Dives’ conducted into curriculum areas over the last year with maths, history, geography and science the most common subjects for the deep dive treatment in primary schools and English, maths, science, history and languages in secondary schools. Teach First. Teach First welcomed its 20thbirthday by releasing two commissioned evaluations undertaken by NFER pointing to the impact of its teachers on the attainment and wider success in many schools and the success of their recruits in moving up through the ranks of the profession.
FE/SKILLS T levels. Ofsted published its commissioned report into how T levels were going, based on evidence collected across construction, digital, education and health and science over 2021/22 and pointing to a number of concerns with students’ experiences ‘variable,’ initial assessment often ‘weak,’ the quality of placements ‘variable’ and the progression potential limited by poor brand recognition. Skills Excellence. WorldSkills UK in partnership with the AoC examined in a new report what make for excellence in higher skills provision, pointing to the importance of staff training, employer engagement, appropriate qualifications and a whole organisational approach. Higher tech courses. The OU confirmed that it would work with a further seven FE colleges over the next couple of years as they develop high-tech courses to meet local skill needs.
HE Latest reform position. The government issued its formal response to the consultation that followed the Augar Review and related proposals confirming ‘recruitment limits’ would be introduced for certain ‘low quality’ courses and lower fee and loan limits for foundation year courses but would not presently introduce minimum eligibility requirements or change the current fee and loan maxima. Top degrees. The Office for Students (OfS) examined graduate attainment over the past decade and in particular changes in the numbers gaining top class degrees, acknowledging that while this has now fallen, at least half of first-class degrees remained unexplained. Pensions. The University and College Union (UCU) heralded the launch of the latest consultation by the USS into a potential restoration of guaranteed pension benefits and reduction in member contributions as vindication of its current industrial action.
MONDAY 24 JULY On this day in 1567 Mary Queen of Scots was forced to abdicate and her one year old son became King James VI of Scotland. On this day in 1911 the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu, was discovered by American explorer Hiram Bingham III. On this day in 2019 published research claimed global warming to be at its fastest in 2,000 years.
TUESDAY 25 JULY On this day in 306 Constantine I was proclaimed Roman Emperor by his troops. On this day in 1814 English engineer George Stephenson introduced his first steam locomotive. On this day in 1978 the world's first test tube baby conceived using in-vitro fertilization (IVF) was born.
WEDNESDAY 26 JULY On this day in 1803 the world's first public railway, the Surrey Iron Railway, opened in south London. On this day in 1945 Winston Churchill resigned as British prime minister following his party’s electoral defeat by Labour. On this day in 1965 the Maldives gained independence after 78 years of British rule.
THURSDAY 27 JULY On this day in 1586 Walter Raleigh brought the first tobacco to England from Virginia. On this day in 1921 Frederick Banting and Charles Best isolated insulin at the University of Toronto. On this day in 2012 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Summer Olympics in London.
FRIDAY 28 JULY On this day in 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia effectively beginning the First World War. On this day in 1976 the Tangshan earthquake of 8.2 in magnitude killed over 240,000 in northern China. On this day in 2005 the Provisional IRA called an end to their 30 year long armed campaign in Northern Ireland.
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, National Marine Week, National Preserving Awareness Week. WORLDWIDE: Hepatitis Awareness Week, National Moth Week.
MONDAY 24 JULY UK: 24/7 Samaritans Awareness Day/The Big Listen. WORLDWIDE: International Safe Places to Work Day, National Tequila Day, International Self Care Day, National Thermal Engineer Day, National Drive-thru Day, National Cousins Day, National Amelia Earhart Day, National Tell An Old Joke Day, Pioneer Day.
TUESDAY 25 JULY UK: National Schizophrenia Awareness Day. WORLDWIDE: National Wine And Cheese Day, National Hire A Veteran Day, National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, National Merry-go-round Day/Carousel, National Thread The Needle Day, World Drowning Prevention Day.
WEDNESDAY 26 JULY WORLDWIDE: National Bagelfest Day, National Coffee Milkshake Day, National All Or Nothing Day, National Disability Independence Day, National Aunt And Uncle Day, One Voice Day, Holistic Therapy Day.
THURSDAY 27 JULY UK: Norfolk Day. WORLDWIDE: National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, National Scotch Day, National Refreshment Day, National Creme Brulee Day, National Intern Day, National New Jersey Day, National Chili Dog Day, National Love Is Kind Day, Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day, Gary Gygax Day, National Chicken Finger Day, National Walk On Stilts Day.
FRIDAY 28 JULY WORLDWIDE: National Milk Chocolate Day, World Hepatitis Day, World Conservation Day, National Waterpark Day, National Get Gnarly Day, National Talk In An Elevator Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, National System Administrator Appreciation Day.