The view from here. Parentkind published the results of a survey of parents in England, undertaken in the first week of term and pointing to pretty split views on masks and vaccinations but a general desire to see schooling return to normal as soon as possible.
Pupil disadvantage. The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) published new research pointing to increased numbers of disadvantaged pupils eligible for free school meals as a result of more flexible welfare measures introduced under the pandemic, in turn making future measurement of attainment gaps for such pupils difficult to discern.
Sixth Form Numbers.FFT Education Datalab looked into staying rates on rates for 16 yr olds following the exams issues of summer 2020 when the number of students in English state schools achieving higher grade GCSEs increased but the number staying on in school sixth forms hardly increased without any obvious reason.
FURTHER EDUCATION AND SKILLS
Latest Covid guidance. The government issued amended guidance following the lifting of Plan B restrictions principally to reflect the removal of guidance on wearing facemasks in class this week and in communal areas from next week.
Post-16 qualifications. Edge published its response to the Education Committee’s Inquiry into Post-16 qualifications pointing among other things to the constant state of churn around such qualifications, concern about the emergence of a divisive binary system, and examples of good practice abroad, concluding with a proposal to consider a Bacc model as an alternative.
BTEC petition. The petition on protecting BTECs and other similar qualifications edged towards the required number for it to lead to a debate in Parliament on the matter.
Setting the benchmark. The Office for Students set out plans to tackle course quality by setting thresholds including retention and progression rates which could lead to sanctions if not met, along with new requirements under the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
Freedom of Speech Bill. Former (Conservative) minister Jesse Norman proposed a new clause to the HE Freedom of Speech Bill which would require providers to declare details of foreign donors who donate £50,000 or more and for the OfS to maintain an annual register of donations.
No NDAs. Government, universities and campaigners came together to commit to scrapping the use of Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) in dealing with cases of sexual misconduct, bullying and harassment.
Restart Scheme. The government updated its Restart Scheme, announced 18 months ago to help claimants who have been out of work for a year to find local jobs, to provide 12 months support for those who have been out of work for 9 months.
Help to Grow. The government invited applications from small businesses to its Help to Grow: Digital Scheme, which provides such businesses with discounts off eligible digital products and free tailored support to help their business grow.
Broadband rollout. The Public Accounts Committee published the results of its Inquiry into the promised rollout of superfast gigabit broadband, concluding that while there has been some progress, this has been down to commercial companies rather than government, leaving it short of its downgraded targets.
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.
On this day in 41 Claudius succeeded his nephew Caligula as Roman Emperor after the latter's assassination by officers of the Praetorian Guard.
On this day in 1965 Sir Winston Churchill, prime minister from 1940-45 and from 1951-55 died aged 90. On the same day 70 years earlier his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, died aged 45.
On this day in 1984 the Apple Macintosh personal computer went on sale.
TUESDAY 25 JANUARY:
On this day in 1327 King Edward III acceded to the English throne.
On this day in 1533 King Henry VIII married Anne Boleyn in secret.
On this day in 1819 the University of Virginia was chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President, was one of its founders.
WEDNESDAY 26 JANUARY:
On this day in 1340 King Edward III of England was proclaimed King of France.
On this day in 1531 Lisbon was hit by an earthquake, killing over 30,000 people.
On this day in 1666 France declared war on England and Munster.
THURSDAY 27 JANUARY:
On this day in 1591 Scottish schoolmaster Dr John Fian was burned for witchcraft at Castle Hill, Edinburgh by order of King James VI as part of the Berwick witch trials.
On this day in 1945 the Soviet army liberated 5,000 inmates of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.
On this day in 1967 astronauts Virgil Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chafee died after an electrical fault ignited pure oxygen in their Apollo 1 spacecraft.
FRIDAY 28 JANUARY
On this day in 1547 9-year-old Edward VI succeeded Henry VIII as King of England. Henry died aged 55 having reigned since 1509.
On this day in 1807 London's Pall Mall became the first street in the world to be illuminated by gaslight.
On this day in 1896 the first speeding fine was imposed on a British motorist for exceeding 2mph in a built-up area.
SATURDAY 29 JANUARY
On this day in 1856 the Victoria Cross was established by royal warrant to honour acts of valour during the Crimean War.
On this day in 1886 Karl Benz patented the first automobile.
On this day in 1942 Desert Island Discs was first broadcast by the BBC.
SUNDAY 30 JANUARY
On this day in 1649 King Charles 1, who had reigned since 1625, was executed in Whitehall.
On this day in 1790 the first lifeboat was tested by Henry Greathead of Sough Shields.
On this day in 1933 Hitler was sworn in as German chancellor.
Awareness days from around the world
THIS MONTH IS:
UK: Veganuary, Dry January, Love Your Liver Month, Big Schools Birdwatch, National Blood Donor Month, National Hot Tea Month. US: National Hobby Month, National Mentoring Month, National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, National Slow Cooking Month, National Soup Month, National Sunday Supper Month. International: National Braille Literacy Month, Walk your Dog Month, Clean up Your Computer Month, International Brainteaser Month, Celebration of Life Month, Get a Balanced Life Month, International Creativity Month.
THIS WEEK IS: National School Choice Week (UK), Tax Identify Theft Week (UK), National Catholic Schools Week (International), Meat Week (International), National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Week (US).
MONDAY 24 JANUARY IS: International Day of Education, National Compliment Day (UK), Global Belly Laugh Day (International), Beer Can Appreciation Day (International), National Peanut Butter Day (US), National Talk Like A Grizzled Prospector Day (US).
TUESDAY 25 JANUARY IS: Burns Night (International), A Room of One's Own Day (International), National Irish Coffee Day (US), National Opposite Day (US).
WEDNESDAY 26 JANUARY IS: Australia Day (International), International Customs Day, National Green Juice Day (US), National Peanut Brittle Day (US), National Spouses Day (US).
THURSDAY 27 JANUARY IS: Parent Mental Health Day (UK), Holocaust Memorial Day (International), Chocolate Cake Day (International), Geographic Day (International).
FRIDAY 28 JANUARY IS: International Logo Day, Global Community Engagement Day, Fun at Work Day (International), Data Privacy Day (International), National Blueberry Pancake Day (US), National Kazoo Day (US).
SATURDAY 29 JANUARY IS: Curmudgeons Day (UK), Freethinkers Day (International), Library Shelfie Day (International), Puzzle Day (International), National Corn Chip Day (US), National Seed Swap Day (US).
SUNDAY 30 JANUARY IS: Croissant Day (International), National Inane Answering Message Day (US).