Levelling up. The government published its Levelling Up White Paper, promising a big shift of power and resources from Whitehall to the regions through county deals and mayoral authorities, all driven by 12 missions ranging from housing and transport to education and skills, with a target date of 2030.
Youth Support. The government outlined as part of its levelling up plans, a new Youth Guarantee, based partly on feedback from its 2020 youth services review with funding for a reformed National Citizenship Service, an expansion to every state secondary school of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, and a new Youth Investment Fund to support a spread of new youth facilities.
How to really level up. The New Economics Foundation argued in a new publication that there is ‘no silver bullet’ to levelling up but pointed to five steps that could help, including identifying regional need, shifting from a focus on growth to one on living standards, supporting local economies, backing small businesses, and backing green developments.
Levelling up follow-up. FFT Education Datalab reported on how many schools that had received successive poor Ofsted grades might actually be shifted into ‘strong’ multi-academy trusts as proposed in the levelling up white paper, concluding that it might amount to just 155.
Commission on assessment. The independent Commission on Assessment, sponsored by the NEU, published its final report calling for a new assessment era based around five principles including seeing qualifications and assessment as part of a wider education system, and putting forward ten recommendations for the future, including shifting the emphasis from assessment at age 16 to when ready, and using emerging technologies in assessment.
School rebuilding programme. The government confirmed its approach to prioritising school buildings following recent consultation, indicating it would use the proposed Approach B model of inviting collective responses and using Condition Data Collection to prioritise, with further details now set to follow.
FURTHER EDUCATION AND SKILLS
AELP reaction. The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) posted its reaction to the Levelling Up White Paper acknowledging the ambition, but questioning the lack of investment around skills and calling for more clarity around the commissioning of adult education budgets.
Skills training. The government published a commissioned research report into the take-up or not of skills training by adults through the National Skills Fund Free Courses for Jobs Offer, finding over half interested particularly if it could help with jobs and career progression but others citing ‘situational barriers’ such as child care or ‘dispositional barriers’ such as not wanting to go back into learning, pointing accordingly to the importance of clear communication of the benefits.
Great Jobs. City and Guilds published a report looking at ten of the most important ‘essential’ jobs from education to healthcare and the labour market context, noting that 2.1m job postings in these sectors remain vacant and highlighting opportunities, earnings and features in each case but also the need to make them more attractive and respected.
Student loan repayments. The Institute for Fiscal Studies reacted to the freeze in the repayment threshold recently announced by the government, suggesting that middle earning graduates were likely to suffer the most, although with a lot depending on how long the freeze remained in place.
International Student Futures. The Student Futures Commission set out a range of measures to support international students better in future, particularly around careers opportunities and employability, before, during and after university.
International student market. The Times Higher reported on the international student market, suggesting that countries such as Australia which have been slower to open up post-pandemic have struggled to recruit while the US, UK and Canada have seen a bounce back.
Want to know more? You can view all Steve Besley's weekly policy round-ups and/or sign up to receive an email version every Friday via this link.
Smartphone and tablet use in early childhood | Best Evidence in Brief The inequity of exams: how our assessment system perpetuates harmful stereotypes about disadvantaged groups | Rethinking Assessment Use of psychology by teachers can boost maths grades | Education & Training Foundation Supporting high-quality interactions in early years | Education Endowment Foundation IAC Report on the future of assessment and qualifications in England | New Era Assessment The place of education in the government's draft sustainability and climate change strategy | BERA Green neighbourhoods and their children: does it make a difference? | IOE Lean into Learning 2021 Annual Learning Report: helping employers plan for the modern post-pandemic workforce | Skillsoft
National Apprenticeship Week (Monday 7 February to Sunday 13 February). End date for publication of advance information on this summer’s exams (Monday 7 February). IfG event on the DfE response to post-pandemic challenges (Monday 7 February). Education Committee session on mental health and wellbeing (Tuesday 8 February). Westminster Hall debate on special needs and children’s mental health services (Wednesday 9 February). HEPI/Advance HE webinar on ‘The Future of Higher Education’ (Wednesday 9 February).
Events and CPD opportunities
08 February: Inside Government - Delivering the Secondary RSE and Health Education Curriculum in Your School (qualifies for a 20% discount when quoting the code 'IGEdCentral20'). 08 February: TeacherToolkit - 3 Ways to Support Pupil's Mental Health and Relationships Education. 08 February: Inside Government - Implementing National Professional Qualifications and Headteacher Standards (qualifies for a 20% discount when quoting the code 'IGEdCentral20'). 09 February: The Bell Foundation - Welcoming Refugee Children: Advice and Guidance for Schools. 09 February: Inside Government: School Data Conference 2022 (qualifies for a 20% discount when quoting the code 'IGEdCentral20'). 10 February: Westminster Forum Projects - Next Steps for Teacher Recruitment, Retention, Professional Development and Wellbeing
On this day in 1812 Charles Dickens, novelist and social critic, was born in Portsmouth.
On this day in 1992 ministers from the 12 European Community countries signed the Maastricht treaty.
On this day in 2005 Ellen MacArthur completed her single-handed round-the-world voyage in the record-breaking time of 71 days, 14 hours and 18 minutes.
TUESDAY 08 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1587 Mary Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire, aged 44.
On this day in 1924 the gas chamber was first used as a form of execution when Gee Jon was put to death in Nevada for murder.
On this day in 1965 a ban was announced on cigarette advertising on British television.
WEDNESDAY 09 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1540 the first recorded race meeting in England was held at Roodee Fields, Chester.
On this day in 1933 ten days after HItler had become German chancellor, members of the Oxford Union voted against fighting for 'King and Country'.
On this day in 1972 the British government declared a state of emergency after a month-long miners' strike.
THURSDAY 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 1837 Alexander Pushkin, Russian writer, died following a duel with his wife's admirer.
On this day in 1964 the Great St Bernard Tunnel under the Alps between Switzerland and Italy was opened to traffic.
FRIDAY 11 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1878 the first weekly weather report was issued by the Meteorological Office.
On this day in 1975 Margaret Thatcher became the first woman leader of a British political party.
On this day in 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa after 27 years in captivity.
SATURDAY 12 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1554 Lady Jane Grey, Queen of England for nine days, was executed aged 16.
On this day in 1809 Charles Darwin, naturalist, was born in Shrewsbury.
On this day in 1818 Chile proclaimed its independence from Spain.
SUNDAY 13 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1542 Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, was executed for adultery.
On this day in 1689 William III and Mary II acceded to the throne of England.
On this day in 1959 the Barbie doll went on sale.
Awareness days from around the world
THIS MONTH IS:
UK: Febudairy, LGBT History Month, Raynaud’s Awareness Month. US: Black History Month, National Fasting February, Free and Open Source Software Month, Canned Food Month, Creative Romance Month, Great American Pies Month, Boost Your Self Esteem Month, American Heart Month, National Children’s Dental Health Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover's Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Snack Food Month, National Weddings Month, National Embroidery Month, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
THIS WEEK IS:
UK: National Apprenticeship Week, Children’s Mental Health Week, Sexual Abuse & Sexual Violence Awareness Week, Student Volunteering Week, National HIV Testing Week, Schools Football Week, Tinnitus Awareness Week. US: National Marriage Week, Have a Heart for Chained Dogs Week, National Kraut and Frankfurter Week, Freelance Writers Appreciation Week, National Second-hand Wardrobe Week, Great American Pizza Bake Week, National Jell-O Week.
MONDAY 07 FEBRUARY IS: Send a Card to a Friend Day (International), National Periodic Table Day (US), National Fettuccine Alfredo Day (US).
TUESDAY 08 FEBRUARY IS: Safer Internet Day (International), National Boy Scouts Day (US), National Kite Flying Day (US).
WEDNESDAY 09 FEBRUARY IS: Toothache Day (International), National Pizza Day (International), National Cut the Cord Day (US), National Bagel and Lox Day (US), National Pizza Day (US).
THURSDAY 10 FEBRUARY IS: National Umbrella Day (US), National Giving Hearts Day (US), National Home Warranty Day (US), National Cream Cheese Brownie Day (US).
FRIDAY 11 FEBRUARY IS: International Day of Women and Girls in Science, World Day of the Sick (International), National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day (US), National Inventors’ Day (US), National Make a Friend Day (US), National Peppermint Patty Day (US), National Shut-In Visitation Day (US), National White Shirt Day (US).
SATURDAY 12 FEBRUARY IS: Global Movie Day (International), National Plum Pudding Day (US), National Freedom to Marry Day (US).
SUNDAY 13 FEBRUARY IS: National Get a Different Name Day (US), National Tortellini Day (US), Galentine’s Day (US), National Cheddar Day (US), National Pork Rind Day - Day of the Big Game (US).