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GENERAL: Mental health. The government announced a new package of support for mental health, with £150m to be made available over the next two years to provide specialist ambulances, new crisis centres, and dedicated services in the community. Cost-of-living. The consultancy PwC reported on the results of its regular, fortnightly onlinesurvey tracking cost-of-living trends, showing as of this week 41% of Brits are concerned about their finances, a slight improvement from 45% previously, but with energy remaining a concern, and increasing numbers cutting back on non-essentials. Levelling down. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) examined levelling up in the context of the latest funding announcement, suggesting that inflation-adjusted wages growth was creating significant regional disparity, with Northern Ireland, Wales, and Yorkshire and the Humber among the biggest sufferers.
SCHOOLS: Remote education. In the light of potential school closures and pupil absences the government updated its non-statutory guidance for schools on providing remote education, stressing that it should only be used ‘as a last resort’ and that good practice – such as ensuring pupil security and sharing procedures with parents – should be observed. Academy Accounts. The government published the Annual Report and Accounts for Academies in England as of August 2021, showing a further increase in the number of schools becoming academies (9,628); a slight drop in the number of trusts (2,659); 57 new free schools opening, and current assets up by a billion to £4.9bn. Flexi work. The government published the results of a commissioned report into the pros and cons of introducing flexible working arrangements in schools, using evidence from schools that have tried it – concluding that on the plus side it can help with staff retention and recruitment, but on the downside it can come at a cost, both logistical and financial.
FE/SKILLS: T levels. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) reported on its review into the three health and science T levels in the light of some concerns about results last year, concluding that the level of science expected in the health T level was too demanding, and proposing further review and separation of the core. Apprenticeships. The House of Commons Library Service published a helpful briefing on apprenticeship policy since 2015, running through changes since then, including the introduction of the levy and other policy developments, and concluding with the current position as the government considers its promised ‘further improvements’. Apprenticeships debate. MPs discussed apprenticeships in a Westminster Hall debate this week, where quality outcomes and progression, funding, levy underspends, degree apprenticeships, and careers guidance, were among the issues raised and tackled in the summing-up given by Rob Halfon, the skills minister.
HE: The view from here. The Office for Students (OfS) published the results of its commissioned research into how it communicated with providers and their perceptions of the Office, finding this varied among different types of provider, with many valuing a personal contact and keen on a more tailored, collaborative form of communication. Quality standards. The Office for Students (OfS) outlined the statutory framework for assessing quality and standards as part of the context for future arrangements undertaken by the OfS or other designated body, while current dissensions are resolved. Complaints. The Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) published details of its work last year, which saw it dealing with a record number of student complaints, and listed four key priorities, including reviewing student complaints and sharing learning, as part of its operating plan for this year.
MONDAY 30 JANUARY On this day in 1661 Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England was ritually executed after having been dead for two years. On this day in 1902 Britain and Japan signed a treaty after months of negotiating which committed each country to supporting an independent China and Korea, although it acknowledged Japan's 'special interest' in Korea. On this day in 1948 Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse.
TUESDAY 31 JANUARY On this day in 1627 Spanish government went bankrupt. On this day in 1849 the Corn Laws were abolished. On this day in 1865 General Robert E. Lee named Commander-in-Chief of Confederate Armies during US Civil War.
WEDNESDAY 01 FEBRUARY On this day in 1327 Edward III was crowned King of England aged 14, though the country was ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer. On this day in 1587 Queen Elizabeth I signed a death warrant for her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. On this day in 1790 the US Supreme Court convened for the first time (NYC).
THURSDAY 02 FEBRUARY On this day in 1653 New Amsterdam became a city (later renamed New York). On this day in 1709 British sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued by William Dampier after being marooned on a desert island for 5 years. His story inspired Robinson Crusoe. On this day in 1852 the first British public men's toilet opened in Fleet St, London.
FRIDAY 03 FEBRUARY On this day in 1576 Henry of Navarre (the future Henry IV) escaped from Paris. On this day in 1660 General Monck's army reached London. On this day in 1815 the World's first commercial cheese factory was established, in Switzerland.
Awareness days from around the world
WORLDWIDE: International Vegan Cuisine Month, International Boost Self Esteem Month, International Friendship Month, International Hoof Care Month, International Month of Black Women in the Arts, Heart Healthy Month, International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month, International Expect Success Month, Worldwide Renaissance of the Heart Month. UK: LGBT+ History Month, Big Schools Birdwatch (runs from January 06 to February 20), Heart Month. US & CANADA: Black History Month, Ethnic Equality Month, Human Relations Month, Youth Leadership Month, Parent Leadership Month, Self-Check Month, Fasting February, Relationship Wellness Month, Spiritual Teachers Month, Hot Breakfast Month, Cherry Month, Bake for Family Fun Month, Bird Feeding Month, Library Lover’s Month, North American Inclusion Month, Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month, AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month, American Heart Month, An Affair to Remember Month, Barley Month, Beat the Heat Month, Berry Fresh Month, Canned Food Month, Celebration of Chocolate Month, Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month, Creative Romance Month, Declutter for a Cause Month, Dog Training Education Month, Exotic Vegetables and star Fruit Month, Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month, Feline Fix by Five Month, Financial Aid Awareness Month, Free Open Source Software Month, From Africa to Virginia Month, Great American Pie Month, Humpback Whale Awareness Month, Jobs in Golf Month, Love the Bus Month, Marfan Syndrome Awareness Month, Marijuana Awareness Month, African American Read-in, Avocado and Banana Month, Blah Buster Month, Cancer Prevention Month, Care About Your Indoor Air Month, Cat Health Month, Children’s Dental Health Month, Condom Month, Embroidery Month, Enrolled Agents Month, Fondue Month, Goat Yoga Month, Haiku Writing Month, Mend a Broken Heart Month, Senior Independence Month, Snack Food Month, Sweet Potato Month, Therapeutic Recreation Month, Time Management Month, Weddings Month, Pet Dental Health Month, Plant the Seeds of Greatness Month, Potato Lovers Month, Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month, Raynaud’s Awareness Month, Responsible Pet Owners Month, Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, Wise Health Care Consumer Month, Women’s Role in History Month, Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, Women Inventors Month.
THIS WEEK IS:
WORLDWIDE: World Interfaith Harmony Week. UK: Storytelling Week, Apprenticeship Week. US & CANADA Snow Sculpting Week, Cordova Iceworm Festival Week, Solo Diners Eat Out Week, National Patient Recognition Week, African Heritage and Health Week, La Poutine Week, Shape Up With Pickles Time, Women’s Heart Week, Publicity for Profit Week. OTHER COUNTRIES: N Week.
MONDAY 30 JANUARY
WORLDWIDE: School Day of Non-violence and Peace. US & CANADA Escape Day, Draw a Dinosaur Day, Yodel for Your Neighbors Day, Croissant Day, Bubble Wrap Day, Inane Answering Message Day, Korematsu Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: Martyrs Day (Nepal), National Bible Day (Philippines).
TUESDAY 31 JANUARY
US & CANADA: Hot Chocolate Day, Eat Brussel Sprouts Day, Plan for Vacation Day, Scotch Tape Day, Brandy Alexander Day, Hell is Freezing Over Day, Appreciate Your Social Security Check Day, Backward Day, Inspire Your Heart With Art Day, Gorilla Suit Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: Independence Day (Nauru).
WEDNESDAY 01 FEBRUARY
WORLDWIDE: Tet Nguyen Dan, World Hijab Day, World Aspergillosis Day, World Read Aloud Day, Chinese New Year. US & CANADA: Abolition of Slavery Day, Girls and Women in Sport Day, Signing Day, Freedom Day, Federal Territory Day, Robinson Crusoe Day, Dark Chocolate Day, Spunky Old Broads Day, Serpent Day, Baked Alaska Day, Decorating with Candy Day, Car Insurance Day, Change Your Password Day, Conservatorship and Guardianship Abuse Awareness Day, Day of Remembrance and Respect to Victims of the Communist Regime, G.I. Joe Day, Heroes Day, Holiday Hugs Day, Get uP Dayl Hula in the Coola Day, Texas Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: Coast Guard Day (India), Imbolc (Ireland).
THURSDAY 02 FEBRUARY
WORLDWIDE: World Wetlands Day, World Crepe Day, World Play Your Ukulele Day. UK: Candlemas. US & CANADA: Groundhog Day, Self-Renewal Day, Groundhog Job Shadow Day, Ayn Rand Day, California Kiwifruit Day, Optimist Day, Brown Dog Day, Hedgehog Day, Lung Leavin’ Day, Tater Tot Day, Sled Dog Day, Marmot Day, Catchers Day, Heavenly Hash Day, River Day, Rheumatoid Awareness Day, Sled Dog Day, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, The Record of a Sneeze Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: Feast of Candelaria (Bolivia), Candlemas (Mexico), Inventors’ Day (Thailand).
FRIDAY 03 FEBRUARY
WORLDWIDE: World Read Aloud Day, Bubble Gum Day, Golden Retriever Day, Wear Red Day. UK: Time to Talk Day, Wear Red Day, UNICEF Day for Change. US & CANADA: Missing Persons Day, Number Day, Patient Recognition Day, Wedding Ring Day, Doggy Date Night, Feed the Birds Day, Take a Cruise Day, Give Kids a Smile Day, Woman’s Heart Day, The Day the Music Died, Women Physicians Day, Carrot Cake Day, Working Naked Day, Wear Red Day, Elmo’s Birthday, Four Chaplains Day, American Painters Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: Our Lady of Suyapa (Honduras), Setsubun (Japan), Anniversary of the Liberation of the Battle of Manila, Heroes Day (Mozambique), Commemoration of the Batepa Massacre (Central Africa).