Education, education, education. Edpol.net published a fascinating collection of interviews, compiled by Public First, looking at the nature and rationale behind changes in education policy through interviews with respective Education Secretaries from the days of Margaret Thatcher to Theresa May. Includes Ken Baker, Ken Clarke, David Blunkett, Estelle Morris, Charles Clarke, Ed Balls, Michael Gove, Nicky Morgan and Damian Hinds.
Education reform. Sam Freedman, who worked as a senior adviser to Michael Gove at the time, examined the Gove reforms 10-years on, arguing that they generated a significant reform of the education system but that the effects have been ‘patchy’ with problems of dual responsibility and inequality, suggesting a number of proposals such as ‘moving to a high-capacity all MAT system,’ as a way forward.
Employee absences.The CIPD reported on a new survey showing the impact of long Covid on employee absence, indicating that nearly half of organisations surveyed had employees off because they are suffering from it yet only a quarter are providing guidance for managers on how best to support such staff.
Exams 2022. Ofqual provided a simple subject-by-subject listing of the main changes such as to coursework and choices of topics, put in to help support students as they prepare for this year’s GCSE, AS and A level exams after two years of disruption.
School admissions. The government launched a consultation on some proposed changes to the school admissions code, namely adopting the arrangements for remote and more flexible appeals hearings adopted during the pandemic, for more permanent use.
Tackling poor attendance. Ofsted published a new report looking at how some schools had tackled problems of poor attendance and persistent pupil absence, pointing to such measures as getting to the bottom of the problem, communicating clearly and remaining ambitious, as ways of improving things.
FURTHER EDUCATION AND SKILLS
Apprenticeships. The government heralded the onset of National Apprenticeship Week 2022 pointing to the range of events taking place throughout the week and underlining the importance of apprenticeships as central to the country’s plans for economic recovery.
Apprenticeships by numbers. The government published a collection of data on apprenticeships in England over the last three years to accompany this year’s National Apprenticeship Week with apprenticeship starts, levy and non-levy, incentives and forecasts all among the details.
Why become an apprentice. The government set out, as part of National Apprenticeship Week promotions, five reasons (high quality training, paid work, plenty of choice, rewarding, more people are doing it) why people of all ages should consider undertaking an apprenticeship.
Access and participation. John Blake, the Office for Students’ new Director for Fair access and Participation, outlined in a major speech the challenges involved in helping widen access, setting out three ambitions for the future including encouraging more universities and schools to work together, strengthening the evidence base, and building access and participation into the OfS’s core work, with new institutional plans to be brought forward a year.
A fair future for students. Conor Ryan, Director of External Relations at the Office for Students blogged about his recent presentation at an event hosted by HEPI and Advance HE in which he listed three challenges for HE providers, namely quality, digitalisation and access.
Post-16 collaboration. The Civic University Network published a new report, written by The College of the Future and Sheffield Hallam, looking with case study evidence at ways in which the UK post-16 sector could best work together, recommending among other things a single funding and accountability body and clearer missions for both colleges and universities.
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.
15 February: Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) - How to make sure you're running great apprenticeship provision (webinar). 16 February: Association of School and of College Leaders (ASCL) - Development and growth of HE (webinar) 16 February: Association of School and of College Leaders (ASCL) - Changing the narrative through trauma-informed practice (webinar). 17 February: Association of School and of College Leaders (ASCL) - Performance Management; back to basics.
On this day in 1477 John Paston received the first recorded valentine letter in English, from Margery Brews.
On this day in 1852 the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, fitted with ten beds, admitted its first patient, George Parr, who was suffering from catarrh and diarrhoea.
On this day in 2005 three PayPal workers started a video-sharing website, calling it YouTube.
TUESDAY 15 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1882 the first ever cargo of frozen meat left New Zealand for Britain on the SS Dunedin.
On this day in 1965 Canada flew its newly adopted red maple leaf flag for the first time.
On this day in 1971 Britain adopted decimal currency.
WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1659 the first known British cheque was written by Nicholas Vanacker. It was for £400. 4
On this day in 1923 the archaeologist Howard Carter entered the sealed burial chamber of Tutankhamun in Thebes, Egypt (the ruins of Thebes are found within the modern city of Luxor).
On this day in 1959 Fidel Castro became prime minister of Cuba - governing until 2008.
THURSDAY 17 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1600 the philosopher Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake in Rome for heresies, including maintaining that Earth was not the only inhabited planet.
On this day in 1880 Tsar Alexander II of Russia survived an assassination attempt when a bomb exploded at the Winder Palace in St Petersburg.
On this day in 1972 the House of Commons voted to join the European Common Market.
FRIDAY 18 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1678 John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress was published, much of it having been written while he was in prison for illegal preaching.
On this day in 1929 the winners of the first Academy Awards (known as the Oscars from 1931) were announced, with the presentation held later that year.
On this day in 1930 Pluto was discovered by the American astronomer Clyde W Tombaugh.
SATURDAY 19 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1473 Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer who proposed that the Sun not the Earth was the centre of the Universe, was born in Poland.
On this day in 1861 Tsar Alexander II abolished serfdom in Russia.
On this day in 1878 the patent for Thomas Edison's phonograph (the original gramophone) was issued.
SUNDAY 20 FEBRUARY:
On this day in 1811 Austria declared itself bankrupt because of the cost of fighting Napoleon.
On this day in 1947 Viscount Mountbatten of Burma was appointed last Viceroy of India. 6
On this day in 1962 John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.
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: You Can Care Week. INTERNATIONAL: The Start of Fairtrade Fortnight, Real Bread Week. US: Random Acts of Kindness Week, Great Backyard Bird Count, Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week, Children of Alcoholics Week, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Week, Take Your Family to School Week, National Condom Week, Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Staff Education Week.
MONDAY 14 FEBRUARY IS: Valentine's Day (International), International Book Giving Day, International Epilepsy Day.
TUESDAY 15 FEBRUARY IS: Singles Awareness Day (International), Susan.B Anthony Day (US).
WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY IS: Do a Grouch a Favor Day (US), National Almond Day (US)..
THURSDAY 17 FEBRUARY IS: Random Acts of Kindness Day (US).
FRIDAY 18 FEBRUARY IS: Care Day (US).
SATURDAY 19 FEBRUARY IS: Completely free of awareness days!
SUNDAY 20 FEBRUARY IS: National Love Your Pet Day (US).