Follow this linkto 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 Early Years. The Princess of Wales formally launched her Royal Foundation Centre for Childhood campaign to raise awareness of the importance of the early years of childhood under the banner ‘Shaping Us.’ Early Hours. The Sutton Trust reported on new research into the number of hours young children have in early years childcare and the impact of the home learning environment, reinforcing the disadvantages faced by many poorer families in both cases. Young children and pornography. The Children’s Commissioner published what she described as some ‘shocking’ research from her survey into pornography among young people, indicating that many had seen it, it was easily available and it often led to physically aggressive acts, calling among other things for social platforms to take action such as age verification ahead of the Online Safety Bill.
SCHOOLS Education recovery. The National Audit Office (NAO) published its report into education recovery in schools following the pandemic, reporting on the funding and various interventions introduced by government to help, concluding that some progress had been made but the disadvantage gap had worsened. 2023 pay. The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) called for ‘a 15% uplift to all salaries and allowances’ as part of its submission to the Teachers’ Pay Review Body for 2023, while suggesting three quick wins (removing performance related pay progression, limiting working time for school leaders and protecting leadership time) that could help support recruitment and retention generally. Children’s meals. The Early Years Alliance and LEYF Nurseries highlighted concerns about the rising costs of providing children’s meals, with a recent survey showing 62% of providers resorting to using cheaper ingredients.
FE/SKILLS: L3 qualifications. Campaigners, including former education ministers and members of the Lords, called on the Education Secretary to reconsider plans to remove funding from a swathe of applied general qualifications including a number of market proven BTECs, arguing that their removal would restrict student choice and mobility and was not what the dept had originally agreed. New rules. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) published a series of ‘bite-sized guides’ covering matters such as special payments, senior pay controls and requirements for novel and contentious transactions, which colleges will be required to observe following their reclassification as government bodies. Language provision. The British Academy called for a Strategic Committee for Languages in FE among other things, as it published a report showing the bleak state of languages provision across UK FE following years of under investment and lack of positioning among other qualifications.
HE: Lifelong Learning Bill. The government introduced the long-awaited Lifelong Learning Bill which will enable the funding system to provide for short course, module and other more flexible forms of learning that can support the implementation of the Lifelong Loan Entitlement as envisaged by the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022. Perceptions of HE. The HE Policy Institute (HEPI) and the UPP Foundation published their latest report into public attitudes towards HE, finding among other things concerns about the impact of the cost-of-living on student uptake, support for public investment in universities and their work but mixed views about the value of a degree, particularly one that doesn’t lead to a job. Ladder of opportunity. The FE/HE minister, Rob Halfon, addressed the Universities UK Apprenticeships Conference where he ran through his favoured ‘ladder of opportunity’ metaphor with its various rungs that include apprenticeship opportunities, quality provision and lifelong learning. Degree apprenticeships. Universities UK hosted a Conference on degree apprenticeships and higher technical education where it set out a 10-point plan to support universities delivering degree apprenticeships including re-opening the register of apprenticeship training providers and reviewing the regulatory burden involved in putting on such provision.
National Apprenticeship Week (Monday 6 February – Sunday 12 February). Children’s Mental Health Week (Monday 6 February – Sunday 12 February). Education Committee witness session on compulsory maths to age 18 (Tuesday 7 February). Summary analysis of UCAS undergraduate applications at the January equal consideration deadline (Thursday 9 February).
MONDAY 06 FEBRUARY On this day in 1685 King James II acceded to the throne. On this day in 1952 Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne while visiting Kenya. On this day 1964 France and Britain agreed to build a Channel tunnel.
TUESDAY 07 FEBRUARY On this day in 1992 ministers from the 12 European Community countries signed the Maastricht treaty. On this day in 1964 the Beatles landed at New York’s JFK airport for their first US tour. On this day in 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa after 27 years in captivity.
WEDNESDAY 08 FEBRUARY On this day in 1587 Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle aged 44, after being convicted of plotting to assassinate Queen Elizabeth 1 in the Babington plot. On this day in 1601 Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, led an unsuccessful revolt against Queen Elizabeth 1. On this day in 1725 Peter the Great, tsar of Russia since 1682, died aged 52.
THURSDAY 09 FEBRUARY On this day in 1540 the first recorded race meeting in England was held at Roodee Fields, Chester. On this day in 1567 Lord Darnley, consort of Mary Queen of Scots, was murdered in Edinburgh. On this day 1972 the British government declared a state of emergency after a month-long miners’ strike.
FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY On this day in 1355 the St Scholastica’s Day riot began in Oxford, with opposing forces of town and gown on the rampage for three days. On this day in 1555 the Bishop of Gloucester John Hooper is burned at the stake for heresy. On this day in 1837 Alexander Pushkin, Russian writer, died following a duel with his wife’s admirer.
Awareness days from around the world
WORLDWIDE: Black History Month, International Vegan Cuisine Month, Human Relations Month, Ethnic Equality 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: Big Schools Birdwatch (runs from January 06 to February 20), LGBT History Month, Heart Month, Raynaud's Awareness Month. US & CANADA: Youth Leadership 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, Parent Leadership Month, Self-Check 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, 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: International Networking Week, International Week of Black Women in the Arts, Safer Internet Day. UK: Children's Mental Health Week, National Apprenticeship Week, Schools Football Week, Student Volunteering Week, National HIV Testing Week, Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week, Tinnitus Awareness Week. US & CANADA School Counseling Week, Tinnitus Awareness Week, Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week, Patient Recognition Week, Marriage Week, African Heritage and Health Week, CHD Awareness Week, Feeding Tube Awareness Week, Burn Awareness Week, Solo Diners Eat Our Week Boy Scouts Anniversary Week, Pride in Foodservice Week, National Send a Card to a Friend Day, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, Love a Mensch Week. OTHER COUNTRIES: Philippine Industry and Made-in-the-Philippines Products Week.
MONDAY 06 FEBRUARY
WORLDWIDE: Time to Talk Day, International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. UK: National Sickie Day, #ReclaimSocial Day 2023, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. US & CANADA Chopsticks Day, Frozen Yogurt Day, Lame Duck Day, Valentine Shopping Reminder Day, Oatmeal Monday, Pay a Compliment Day, Ronald Reagan Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: Tu Bishvat (Israel – Jewish holiday), Waitangi Day (New Zealand), Sami National Day (Norway and Finland).
TUESDAY 07 FEBRUARY
WORLDWIDE: International Clash Day, Send a Card to a Friend Day.
Safer Internet Day. US & CANADA: Periodic Table Day, Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, Rose Day, Fettuccine Alfredo Day, Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbors Day, African American Coaches Day, Ballet Day, e-Day, Hug an Addict or Alcoholic Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: Independence Day (Grenada).
WEDNESDAY 08 FEBRUARY
US & CANADA: Opera Day, Molasses Bar Day, Laugh and Get Rich Day, Kite Flying Day, Iowa Day, Propose Day, Cut the Cord Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: Preseren Day (Slovenia).
THURSDAY 09 FEBRUARY
International Pizza Day.
UK: Gwyl Mabsant (Wales), Toothache Day. US & CANADA: Chocolate Day, Pizza Pie Day, Giving Hearts Day, Bagel and Lox Day, Develop Alternative Vices Day, Read in the Bathtub Day. OTHER COUNTRIES: St Maroun Day (Lebanon).
FRIDAY 10 FEBRUARY
WORLDWIDE: International Cribbage Day, International Winter Bike to Work Day, World Pulses Day. UK: Welsh Language Music Day (Wales). US & CANADA: All the News That’s Fit to Print Day, Cream Cheese Brownie Day, Umbrella Day, Plimsoll Day, Flannel Day, Home Warranty Day, Scout Sabbath, Teddy Day, Valentismas. OTHER COUNTRIES: St. Paul’s Shipwreck Day (Malta), Children’s Hospice Day (Germany).