A shortened version of the round-up this week as it's half-term and Parliament is in recess. There won't be a weekly round-up or an education policy update next week, but both will be back the week after.
LOOKING BACK AT THE WEEK THAT WAS
Three of the week's headlines ...
University staff continue 48-hour strike despite move for fresh talks.
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 and not-to-be-missed statistics. As your starter for ten, we've chosen three items from each phase below ...
GENERAL: Children and young people. The government published its latest annual ‘State of the Nation’ report into children and young people, covering 2021/22 and looking in particular at trends in mental health and wellbeing over the year, finding a mixed picture with wellbeing improving, but levels of anxiety increasing and schools, families and society generally all seen as important in establishing stability and happiness in young people’s lives. School health and nutrition. UNESCO examined the global issue of children’s health and nutrition, arguing in a new report that while these help improve children’s attendance and learning, investment in them varies from region to region with something like a lack of access to clean drinking water an obvious example leading to deprivation. Child Poverty. The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) published its submission ahead of the forthcoming Budget calling among other things for an increase in social security benefits including child benefit and a rollout of universal free school meals across England.
SCHOOLS: Pupil attendance and mental health. The government published guidelines for schools, parents and local authorities on their responsibilities for when a child has social and mental health issues that affect their school attendance, covering such questions as how to facilitate support, when to intervene and how to deal with non-compliance. Attendance figures. FFT Education Datalab looked into pupil attendance figures for last Wednesday’s strike day, reporting that the highest attendance figures were for Years 11 and 7 and the lowest for Year 9, with London having the lowest attendance rate and the Midlands and North East the highest, and disadvantaged pupils showing the lowest rate generally. Early years inspections. Ofsted published further data and details from its recent round of inspections of early years and child care providers showing that as of the end of last year, 18,400 had been inspected with 400 judged inadequate largely because of failings in leadership and management and in personal development.
FE/SKILLS: Apprenticeship applications. The government announced that from this year young people will be able to use the UCAS Hub to search for options such as apprenticeships, and from next year will be able to apply through the Hub for an apprenticeship alongside an undergraduate degree. Skills Levy. Four leading industry bodies (British Retail Consortium, UK Hospitality, Tech UK, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation) called in an open letter to the government for the Apprenticeship Levy to be widened out into a more flexible Skills Levy, arguing it would not only save money but meet industry needs better as well. Qualification returns. The Social Mobility Commission reported on its recent work looking into the earnings potential for young people taking qualifications in FE and HE, finding positives in both cases with L4/5 qualifications generating the highest returns along with subjects such as engineering for men and business admin/law for women, calling for earnings information to be made more widely available to students.
HE: Latest applications data. UCAS published data on this year’s applications to UKHE as of the mid-January deadline, showing a mixed picture with a fall in applications for nursing (-18.6%) and teaching (-15.6%) and from UK mature applicants (-14%,) a slight fall in applications from UK 18-year-olds, but an increase in apprenticeship interest, international demand and applications from 19-year-olds. Qualification returns. The Social Mobility Commission reported on its recent work looking into the earnings potential for young people taking qualifications in FE and HE, finding positives in both cases particularly when progressing up the qualification ladder, albeit with some variation in university type and in subject type with STEM subjects notably valuable, calling for earnings information to be made more widely available to students. MoU. The QAA and Ofqual agreed a Memorandum of Understanding covering their working relationship and mutual areas of interest particularly around the integrity of qualifications and the higher qualification system generally