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GENERAL New PM’s speech. Rishi Sunak outlined the challenges facing the government and the country as he addressed the nation for the first time as PM, confirming a commitment to stick to the 2019 mandate with its pledge on ‘good schools’ among other things. What school did you go to? The Sutton Trust provided its regular analysis of the education background of the new Cabinet noting that 61% were educated at fee paying schools and 23% went to a comprehensive, with Oxbridge remaining the top HE route for many. People profession 2022. The CIPD in conjunction with Workday published its latest snapshot from those in HR highlighting the work of the profession in supporting employee welfare and pointing to the prioritisation by companies on reskilling and upskilling as they seek to build momentum post-pandemic.
SCHOOLS Funding crisis. Leading education bodies called in an open letter to Conservative MPs to acknowledge the extent of the funding crisis currently affecting schools and colleges, and urging them to put pressure on the new PM to commit to meeting funding needs. School funding. The Education Policy Institute published its assessment of the current school funding situation based on IfS analysis, concluding that costs and inflation meant that the current funding settlement would continue to leave schools short and disadvantaged groups vulnerable. And more on funding. The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) published the results of a survey of over 600 school and college leaders with 60% reporting that they’d have to make savings both this year and into the future with class sizes and staff numbers both in the firing line.
FE/SKILLS Post-16 funding. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IfS) considered the latest position on post-16 funding acknowledging that the government had increased funding for both FE colleges and sixth forms for 2023/4 but pointing to the fact that inflation, rising costs, catch-up demands, pay expectations, and increased numbers of young people staying on in education were all adding to the pressures, with the prospect of future cuts very worrying. Skills report. The Council of Skills Advisers, set up by Keir Starmer last autumn under the stewardship of David Blunkett to provide policy recommendations for the Labour Party on the issue of skills, published its report, coming up with over 20 proposals, some more familiar than others, covering everything from early years to adult and lifelong learning. T levels review. Ofsted published an interim report on the new T levels, drawing on evidence from visits to 24 providers and finding at this early stage a mixed picture with some concerns about how well prepared staff and students were for the demands of the work and some particular concerns about the Transition Programme, pointing to recommendations for all bodies accordingly.
HIGHER EDUCATION University applications. UCAS reported on 2023 applications as of the mid-October deadline, pointing to ‘a slight fall’ in numbers so far including among disadvantaged UK 18-year-olds as well as international students, with the return of formal exams and concerns about the cost-of-living both seen as factors. Strike action. The University and College Union (UCU) reported on the results of its latest ballots over strike action, pointing to a majority in both the pay and pension ballots, and confirming that a plan for action would be determined next week. Student satisfaction. The Office for Students (OfS) spelt out the changes being made as part of ‘the shake-up’ of the National Student Survey which will include now a question on mental health as well as (in England) on freedom of expression along with a clearer form of responding.
Deadline day for 2023 secondary school applications (Monday 31 October). Westminster Hall Debate on ‘RE in modern Britain’ (Tuesday 1 November). New Statesman debate on skills and productivity (Tuesday 1 November). Westminster Hall debate on the contribution of international students to the UK (Wednesday 2 November).
MONDAY 31 OCTOBER On this day in 1815 Sir Humphrey Davy patented the miner’s safety lamp. On this day in 1933 the carving of the heads of four US presidents on Mount Rushmore in South Dakota was completed. On this day in 1951 Britain’s first zebra crossings were introduced.
TUESDAY 01 NOVEMBER On this day in 1512 the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo, was exhibited to the public for the first time. On this day in 1695 the Bank of Scotland was founded. On this day in 1755 an earthquake and tsunami destroyed Lisbon, killing more than 60,000 people.
WEDNESDAY 02 NOVEMBER On this day in 1859 American abolitionist John Brown was sentenced to hang after being found guilty of murder, inciting slaves to revolt, and treason against the Virginia territory during his raid of Harpers Ferry Armory. On this day in 1880 James A Garfield was elected the 20th US President. On this day in 1917 the Balfour Declaration conveyed the British government’s approval of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
THURSDAY 03 NOVEMBER On this day in 1394 Jews were expelled from France by Charles VI. On this day in 1534 parliament passed the Act of Supremacy, making King Henry VIII and all subsequent monarchs the Head of the Church of England. On this day in 1640 the English Long Parliament formed.
FRIDAY 04 NOVEMBER On this day in 1843 a two-day operation to haul the statue of Nelson to the top of the170ft column in Trafalgar Square was completed. On this day in 1922 Howard Carter found the entrance to the tomb of Tutankhamen. On this day in 2008 Barack Obama became the first US president of African-American descent.
SATURDAY 05 NOVEMBER On this day in 1854 French and British forces defeated the Russians at the Battle of Inkerman, during the Crimean War. On this day in 1991 newspaper publisher Robert Maxwell disappeared from his yacht Lady Ghislaine off Tenerife. On this day in 2006 former ruler of Iraq Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death.
SUNDAY 06 NOVEMBER On this day in 1429 the seven-year-old Henry VI was crowned King of England. On this day in 1844 Spain granted the Dominican Republic independence. On this day in 1999 Australians voted in a referendum to reject replacing the Queen as head of state.