Three of the week's headlines ...
Gillian Keegan attacks sensationalist coverage of school concrete crisis
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UK to rejoin EU Horizon programme in bespoke new agreement
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College staff strikes to go ahead as union hits out at Scottish government's lack of intervention
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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 ...

Life sciences. The government confirmed the creation of a Medicines Manufacturing Skills Centre of Excellence with a grant competition to follow in a couple of weeks as part of the Chancellor’s £650m fund announced in May.
Help to Work. The government launched consultation on changes to the Work Capability Assessment with the aim, by 2025, of getting more people currently unable to work into some form of employment and reducing at the same time the number claiming disability and incapacity benefits.
Good Work Agreements. The Resolution Foundation published the latest report from its Economy 2030 Inquiry calling on this occasion for bringing worker and employers reps together to improve the quality of work through Good Work Agreements that set minimum standards of work, suggesting that the social care sector which often suffers from poor conditions and low pay, should be the first to benefit.

Education Secretary’s Statement. The Education Secretary gave a Statement to MPs at the start of the week about the RAAC situation acknowledging the challenges and frustration felt by many but arguing that the Department had raised the risk five years ago, that it was taking a ‘cautious approach’ following recent incidents, that only a minority of schools were likely to be affected and that a list would be published shortly.
RAAC risk list. The government duly published its list of schools and colleges where RAAC had been confirmed as of 30 August stressing that only a small number have had to alter learning arrangements and that a further list will follow in two weeks.
Capital funding. The IfS looked into the wider picture of capital funding for schools in light of the current issues noting that while it’s difficult to compare one year with another and such funding has been increased for 2023/24, it has dropped over recent years by about 26% compared to 2008/9 and currently faces other heavy maintenance demands including over asbestos, electrical and heating and ventilation services.

Strike ballot. The University and College Union (UCU) launched its ballot for college strike action as it published survey findings showing nearly half (46%) of the workforce indicating that their income failed to cover the cost-of-living.
AI developments. Jisc published an updated version of its AI in tertiary education report, noting that the emergence of ChatGPT last autumn had triggered a further wave of developments in many colleges but equally a rise in concerns about AI’s application in student support, assessment and workforce skills but concluding that foundations were now in place ‘to face future challenges and opportunities.’
Green skills. City and Guilds announced a new partnership with Green Edge to produce a series of regular podcasts over the next 18 months around training solutions for green skills.

Horizon Europe. The government announced formal agreement on the UK joining the Horizon Europe and Copernicus programmes, claiming to have achieved ‘a bespoke deal’ that includes improved financial terms but equally allows UK scientists and researchers to apply for significant grants and funds under the current Horizon programme which runs to 2027.
Strike action. The UCU announced five days of strike action in UK universities, to start in the week commencing 25 September, as members seek to improve on pay and working conditions.
UKHE impact. Universities UK published a commissioned report, undertaken by London Economics, into the impact of UK HE on the UK economy for the year 2021/22, showing how it contributes in a variety of ways both directly and indirectly, to a total amount of £115.7bn for the year in question.
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Latest research, reports and studies
Absence and attainment in primary schools before the pandemic | FFT Education Datalab
Education, mental wellbeing and the cost-of-living crisis: Bridging research and practice | BERA
The decline in spending on school buildings | IFS
The challenge of regulatory burden | UUK
The impact of the higher education sector on the UK economy | UUK
Regulatory burden, what is the impact? | UUK
Education: The State of the Discipline | BERA
Blending applied and academic learning: Scotland's Foundation Apprenticeships | OECD
Getting skills right: Assessing and anticipating skills for the green transition | OECD
Young women have more career choices but why more anxiety? | BERA
Risk factors of permanent exclusion | FFT Education Datalab
How likely are pupils who are absent in the first week of term to become persistently absent? | FFT Education Datalab
The problem of prejudice, discrimination and institutional racism in a post-92 higher education institution | BERA
RAAC in schools: What do we know and what next? | EPI
Cost-of-living crisis: Impact on schools | NFER
Universities UK Strategic Plan 2024–2030 | UUK
Sustainable university funding | UUK
Analysis: Schools affected by RAAC | EPI
Introducing the #baglady methodology | BERA
Absence and attainment in primary schools in 2023 | FFT Education Datalab
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Parliament and elsewhere
researchED National Conference (Saturday 9 September).
Education Committee witness session on teacher recruitment and retention (Tuesday 12 September).
QAA Annual Conference (Wednesday 13 September – Thursday 14 September).
Events and CPD opportunities
Tuesday 12 September: Education for social and environmental justice: Diversity, sustainability, responsibility | UKFIET (in-person event)
Tuesday 12 September: BERA Conference 2023 | BERA (in-person event)
Tuesday 12 September: Understanding and embedding the new matrix Standards | AELP (online event)
Tuesday 12 September: Effective Session Planning | AELP (online event)
Wednesday 13 September: Audits: Purpose, Processes and Preparation | AELP (online event)
Wednesday 13 September: Early Career Teachers and EAL | Bell Foundation (online event)
Wednesday 13 - Thursday 14 September: QAA Annual Conference 2023: The Future of Quality: What’s Next? | QAA (online event)
Thursday 14 September: Leading On - Literacy and Parental Engagement | ASCL (online event)
Thursday 14 September: Safeguarding learners: Understanding and Recognising Adults at risk | AELP (online event)
Thursday 14 September: Early Years Sector Forum | AELP (online event)
Thursday 14 September: Lessons Learned: The UK's HE in Response to the Invasion of Ukraine | Universities UK (online event)
Thursday 14 September: The new frontier of UK-Nigeria opportunity | The PIE (online event)
Thursday 14 September: Unlocking Excellence: Your guide to our NPQs | TDT (online event)
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Three interesting daily facts
On this day in 1297 the Battle at Stirling Bridge between the Scottish and English armies was won by Scottish forces led by rebel William Wallace.
On this day in 1971 Nikita Khrushchev, former Soviet leader and one of the most significant figures of the Cold War, died.
On this day in 2001 a series of four coordinated suicide attacks were carried out by the terrorist group Al Qaeda using planes to target major American landmarks.

On this day in 1624 the first submarine was publicly demonstrated for King James I on the river Thames in London.
On this day in 1940 four teens following their dog down a hole near Lascaux, France, discovered 17,000 year old drawings now known as the Lascaux Cave Paintings.
On this day in 1981 "The Smurfs" animated cartoon series by Hanna-Barbera was first broadcast in the United States.

On this day in 122 building began on the structure known as Hadrian's Wall to mark the north-west frontier of the Roman Empire and to repel invaders.
On this day in 1224 Francis of Assisi was afflicted with stigmata after a vision whilst praying on Mount Verna.
On this day in 1916 children’s author Roald Dahl was born in South Wales.

On this day in 1741 George Frideric Handel finished his "Messiah" oratorio after working on it non-stop for twenty-three days.
On this day in 1956 IBM introduced RAMAC 305, the first commercial computer with a hard drive that used magnetic disk storage and weighed over a ton.
On this day in 2020 astronomers reported possible signs of life on Venus after detecting phosphine in the planet's atmosphere.

On this day in 1835 the HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin on board reached the Galapagos Islands.
On this day in 1928 Scottish bacteriologist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin while studying influenza.
On this day in 1997 Google.com was registered as a domain name.
Awareness days from around the world

Oddfellows Friendship Month, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month / A Month of Movement, Urology Awareness Month, Vascular Disease Awareness Month, Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, Organic September, World Alzheimer’s Month, Blood Cancer Awareness Month, Secondhand September, East and South East Asian Heritage Month, Bear Necessities Month, National Organic Month, Sleeptember.
Move More September, Sourdough September, World Fun Fair Month, Alopecia Areata Awareness Month, National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, National Pain Awareness Month, Prostate Health Month, Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month, Whole Grains Month, National Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month, National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, National Recovery Month, National Disease Literacy Month, National Square Dance Month, Better Breakfast Month, Fall Hat Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, National Suicide Prevention Month, National Library Card Sign-up Month, National Americana Month, Pulmonary Fibrosis Awareness Month, National Italian Cheese Month, Self-care Awareness Month, International Update Your Resume Month, Save Your Photos Month, National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Awareness Month, National Sewing Month, National Preparedness Month, National Mortgage Professional Month, National Rice Month, National Potato Month, National Piano Month, National Mushroom Month, National Courtesy Month, National Chicken Month, Self-improvement Month, National Little League Month, Baby Safety Month, Classical Music Month, National Guide Dog Month, Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness Month, Read A New Book Month, Sepsis Awareness Month, National Honey Month, Chiari Awareness Month, Happy Cat Month, Shake Month, Hunger Action Month.

Heritage Open Days, National Eczema Week, Pension Awareness, Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week, Orchid Male Cancer Awareness Week, Sexual Health Week.
National Arts in Education Week, National Beauty And Barber Week, National Folic Acid Awareness Week, National Compassionate Leadership Week, National Healthcare Environmental Services Week, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, National Biscuits And Gravy Week, Line Dance Week, National Nephrology Nurses Week, Housekeepers Week, Chef Appreciation Week.


Emergency Number Day, National Boss / Employee Exchange Day, National Hot Cross Bun Day, National Make Your Bed Day, Patriot Day And National Day Of Service And Remembrance, No News is Good News Day, Chef Appreciation Week.

National Hug & High 5 Day, National Just One Human Family Day, National Report Medicare Fraud Day, National Day Of Encouragement, National Ants On A Log Day, National Video Games Day, National Chocolate Milkshake Day, Gym Day, National Police Woman Day.


Roald Dahl Story Day.
World Sepsis Awareness Day, Positive Thinking Day, National Celiac Disease Awareness Day, Uncle Sam Day, Day Of The Programmer, National Peanut Day, National Kids Take Over The Kitchen Day, National Bald Is Beautiful Day, International Chocolate Day, National Defy Superstition Day, National Quiet Day, Supernatural Day, National Hug Your Boss Day, National Fortune Cookie Day.


National Parents Day Off, National School Picture Day, National Sober Day, National Virginia Day, National Live Creative Day, National Eat A Hoagie Day, National Cream-filled Donut Day, Gobstopper Day, National Coloring Day.


National Doodle Day, Raspberry Cavernoma Awareness Day.
National POW / MIA Recognition Day, World Lymphoma Day, International Day of Democracy, International Dot Day, National Neonatal Nurses Day, National Tackle Kids Cancer Day, National Online Learning Day, National Cheese Toast Day, National Double Cheeseburger Day, National Linguine Day, National Creme De Menthe Day, National Tradesmen Day, Greenpeace Day, National Felt Hat Day, Make a Hat Day, Raspberry Day, World Afro Day, International Grenache Day, Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie Day, National Concussion Awareness Day, 4pm Finish Day.
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