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 Labour market overview. The ONS reported the latest picture on the UK labour market showing an increase in both unemployment and economic inactivity, including notably among 16-24 yr olds, over the period May-July this year, but with regular pay continuing to rise. Education at a Glance. The OECD published the 2023 version of its hefty compilation of data on the performance of different education systems across member countries, focusing this year on vocational education and showing how these, along with the funding, vary across countries but which in the best systems provide important work-based learning and progression opportunities. What do we want? The Children’s Commissioner for England followed up her ‘Big Ask’ of a couple of years ago by launching ‘The Big Ambition,’ a survey of young people’s (aged 6-18) thoughts and views about school, families, life and hopes, intended to encourage policy makers ahead of a general election to think of young people and their needs.
SCHOOLS KS2. The government published provisional data on this summer’s KS2 assessments showing a slight drop in reading standards but overall figures similar to those of last year with marginal improvement around the disadvantage gap. Ofsted inspection. Ofsted announced that it would not be inspecting schools on the government’s list of those affected by RAAC this term, including schools affected indirectly, with the situation being kept under review. Screen time. The Education Committee announced a new Inquiry looking into the effects of screen time through phones, apps and so on on young people’s education and wellbeing, taking in current views on this and looking at how best to support schools and families with appropriate policies and guidance.
FE/SKILLS L3 reforms. The ‘Protect Student Choice’ campaign called on the government ‘to pause and review the implementation of its (L3) reforms’ as it published survey evidence showing that the proposed defunding of alternative qualifications such as BTECs and undue expectation of T levels could leave many students without suitable options in the future. T levels. The House of Commons Library Service published a briefing paper on T levels outlining their background and development, how they operate and some of the current issues around them up to and including the recent Ofsted report. Skills reform. The Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) called in a new publication for a major overhaul of the skills system arguing that the current chopping and changing of depts, agencies and policies hadn’t delivered an increase in skills or productivity and that a UK-wide strategy with long-term investment, clear accountabilities and aligned priorities was now needed.
HE Looming crisis. The House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee warned of ‘a looming financial crisis’ facing the HE sector in a new report, criticising the Office for Students (OfS) for failing to meet the needs of students and calling for a more trusted regulatory system and review of sector funding. Cost-of-living. The HE Policy Institute (HEPI) called on government, universities and student unions to work together on cost-of-living support as it published survey evidence showing that over a quarter of universities were operating a food bank and three-quarters helping with food and drink generally. Hamburg Statement. Russell Group and German U15 universities committed to work closely together to share expertise, collaborate on research and generally enhance partnership work on key issues where appropriate.
Education Committee evidence session with the DfE on RAAC and school buildings. (Tuesday 19 September). Westminster Hall debate on the impact of the cost-of-living on FE/HE students. (Tuesday 19 September). Strike ballot for UCU action over pay and conditions opens. (Tuesday 19 September). NFER report on the impact of the cost-of-living on school workforce issues. (Thursday 21 September).
MONDAY 18 SEPTEMBER On this day in 1809 the Royal Opera House opened in London with a performance of Macbeth. On this day in 1812 the Great Fire of Moscow burned out after five days leaving 75% of the city destroyed and 12,000 dead. On this day in 1973 West Germany adopted the Deutsche Mark to help complete the economic reunification between East and West Germany.
TUESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER On this day in 1356 English forces under Edward the Black Prince defeated the French at the Battle of Poitiers. On this day in 1893 New Zealand became the first country to grant all women the right to vote. On this day in 1957 the first-ever underground nuclear explosion was carried out by the United States in Nevada.
WEDNESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER On this day in 1519 Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan set off on the first successful circumnavigation of the globe. On this day in 2001 US President George W Bush declared a "war on terror" in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. On this day in 2019 students from 185 countries staged the world's largest-ever protest on climate change.
THURSDAY 21 SEPTEMBER On this day in 1621 King James I of England gave Sir William Alexander a royal charter for colonisation of Nova Scotia. On this day in 1915 Cecil Chubb bought Stonehenge for £6,600 at an auction in Salisbury. On this day in 2016 a genomic study revealing Aboriginal Australians as the oldest known civilisation on earth was published in "Nature".
FRIDAY 22 SEPTEMBER On this day in 1735 Robert Walpole became the first British Prime Minister to live at 10 Downing Street. On this day in 1862 US President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation to free enslaved people in the rebel southern states. On this day in 1980 the Iran-Iraq War began with Iraq invading Iran in an attempt to control the Shatt al-Arab waterway.
Awareness days from around the world
SEPTEMBER IS UK: 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. WORLDWIDE: 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.
THIS WEEK IS UK: Professional Care Workers’ Week, Jeans For Genes Day, National Eye Health Week, Organ Donation Week, National Coding Week, UK Savings Week. WORLDWIDE: European Mobility Week, Balance Awareness Week, World Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week, World Reflexology Week, National Security Officer Appreciation Week, National Surgical Technologists Week, National Indoor Plant Week, National Keep Kids Creative Week, National Farm Safety And Health Week, National Farm Animals Awareness Week, Child Passenger Safety Week, National Eczema Week, National Rehabilitation Awareness Week, National Construction Appreciation Week, National Singles Week, National Parent Teacher Home Visits Week, Thinking of You Week.
MONDAY 18 SEPTEMBER UK: International Equal Pay Day. WORLDWIDE: National HIV / AIDS and Ageing Awareness Day, World Bamboo Day, US Air Force Birthday, National Cheeseburger Day, Hug A Greeting Card Writer Day, National Day of Civic Hacking, National First Love Day, Read An Ebook Day, World Water Monitoring Day, National Respect Day, Rice Krispies Treats Day, World Bamboo Day.
TUESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER UK: Youth Mental Health Day. WORLDWIDE: International Talk Like A Pirate Day, National Butterscotch Pudding Day, National IT Professionals Day, Get Ready Day.
WEDNESDAY 20 SEPTEMBER UK: National Fitness Day. WORLDWIDE: National Care For Kids Day, National Fried Rice Day, Pepperoni Pizza Day, National String Cheese Day, National Punch Day, National Queso Day, International Day of University Sport.
THURSDAY 21 SEPTEMBER UK: Telegraph Pole Appreciation Day. WORLDWIDE: International Day of Peace, World Alzheimer’s Day, National Pawpaw Day, National Chai Day, National New York Day, National Pecan Cookie Day, World Gratitude Day, National Miniature Golf Day, Escapology Day.
FRIDAY 22 SEPTEMBER UK: EveryWoman Day. WORLDWIDE: World Car Free Day, National States And Capitals Day, National Online Recovery Day, National Girls’ Night, National Legwear Day, National Brave Day, National White Chocolate Day, National Centenarian’s Day, National Ice Cream Cone Day, National Hobbit Day, National Elephant Appreciation Day, Dear Diary Day, American Business Women’s Day, International Astronomy Day, Native American Day, Love Note Day, National Doodle Day, Hug a Vegetarian Day, World Rhino Day, Chainmail Day.