Three of the week's headlines ...

Ten days of strikes over pay and pensions by 50,000 university staff to hit 1 million students.

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Record number of Black and Asian students accepted at top UK universities. And poorer pupils win more places too.
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GCSE and A-level grade appeals increased almost five-fold in 2021. Ofqual says the figures are provisional.
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View all this week's education news
Three pieces of policy news - by phase

School attendance. The government launched trials of a new automated data collection system for school attendance along with consultation on a range of measures, including a new regulatory framework for issuing fixed penalty notices for school absences, intended to strengthen the management of school attendance.

Careers education. The Education Committee announced a new inquiry into careers education in schools indicating it will be ‘a root and branch review of the system that will also set out a plan for the future.’

Exam appeals. Ofqual published data on exam appeals for GCSE, AS and A level last summer, when all students were offered the right to appeal but which ultimately saw 0.3% of grades challenged with 0.1% of grades changed.


Skills drive. The government announced the launch of four campaigns intended to help the drive around skills including ‘Get the Jump,’ a new hub bringing together training paths for young people, a new recruitment drive to encourage more people from industry to work in FE, an updated Skills for Life campaign, and a further call to employers to join in the ‘Skills Revolution.’

Digi skills. The Institute of Coding reported on its Skills Bootcamps programme which is set to train more than 1,500 people with technical skills suitable for entry or mid-level tech positions.

Core maths. The Royal Society and British Academy highlighted in a joint statement how important it was for young people aged 16 and over to gain a maths qualification, urging government, employers and universities to promote the case for Core Maths. 

2021 admissions. UCAS published its final End of Cycle Report on 2021 admissions with a mass of data at qualification and institutional level but all generally pointing to continuing high demand and successful placing of students despite pandemic uncertainties.

Student stats. The government published stats on student enrolments and qualifications in UK HE for 2020/21, collated by the HE Statistics Agency and showing first-degree courses remaining hugely popular, a slight increase in 1sts, and a continuing increase in international students.

Risk-sharing. The Times Higher reported on a student financing model developed by the University of Buckingham which would enable students to pay for provision in a risk-sharing system using their post-graduation earnings, already developed by a finance firm and being used by a few other institutions.


Global education. UNICEF marked the latest annual International Day of Education by highlighting continuing concerns about children and young people’s education wreaked by the pandemic with schools still partially or fully closed to many millions of children and fears about their loss of basic skills and growing welfare problems.

Levelling Up. The Centre for Inequality and Levelling Up published a collection of essays from leading commentators on different aspects of Levelling Up including economic, work-based, social, skills requirements and he importance of place, concluding with seven principles, such as local empowerment and infrastructure investment, needed to underpin the approach.

Back to Work. The government launched a new ‘Way to Work’ campaign, designed to get half a million people into work by the end of June through a mix of carrot and stick – the latter meaning that those on Universal Credit could face sanctions within one rather than three months if they don’t make ‘reasonable efforts’ to find and secure a job, whatever the sector. 

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Read all the policy news for this week (compiled by Steve Besley)
Latest research, reports and studies
How learning continued during the Covid-19 pandemic: Global lessons from initiatives to support learners and teachers | OECD
Who are the children who have 'fallen off the radar'? | FFT Education Datalab
Scale of Omicron teacher absence in UK is worse than previous Covid waves | NFER
School self-evaluation for school improvement: Principles of effective practice | BERA
Education Select Committee post-16 qualifications inquiry | NFER
Lack of green space impacts children's risk taking | IOE
Dyslexia: To identify or ignore? | BERA
Search our education research section
Parliament and elsewhere
Education Questions in the House of Commons (Monday 31 January).
Advanced Research and Invention Bill amendments (Monday 31 January).
Education Committee session on Children’s Homes (Tuesday 1 February).
Events and CPD opportunities
02 February: The Bell Foundation - Community languages and EAL can benefit each other.

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Three interesting daily facts
  1. On this day in 1606 Guy Fawkes and his fellow Gunpowder Plot conspirators were executed.
  2. On this day in 1858 the Great Eastern steamship - built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the largest vessel in the world - was launched.
  3. On this day in 1929 Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Soviet Union. 
  1. On this day in 1851 Mary Shelly, who wrote Frankenstein aged 21, died aged 54,
  2. On this day in 1896 the world premier of Puccini's opera La Boheme took place in Turin, with Arturo Toscanini conducting. 
  3. On this day in 1924 Britain formally recognised the Soviet Union. 
  1. On this day in 1650 Nell Gwyn, comic actress and mistress of King Charles II, was born. 
  2. On this day in 1901 the state funeral of Queen Victoria took place at Windsor. 
  3. On this day in 1979 Sid Vicious (Simon John Ritchie), bass guitarist of the Sex Pistols, died in New York aged 21.
  1. On this day in 1761 Richard (Beau) Nash, the dandy who developed Bath into the most fashionable spa town in England, died. 
  2. On this day in 1919 President Woodrow Wilson attended the first meeting of the League of Nations in Paris.
  3. On this day in 1969 Yassir Arafat was appointed chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
  1. On this day in 1911 Rolls-Royce commissioned its famous figurehead, The Spirit of Ecstasy, from sculptor Charles Sykes.
  2. On this day in 1927 Malcolm Campbell set the land-speed record at 174.88 in his 12-cylinder Napier-Campbell Blue Bird on Pendine Sands, Carmarthen Bay. 
  3. On this day in 1971 the British carmaker Rolls-Royce declared itself bankrupt. 
  1. On this day in 1811 the Prince of Wales, later King George IV, was declared Prince Regent. 
  2. On this day in 1982 Laker Airways collapsed with debts of £270 million.
  3. On this day in 1983 the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie was imprisoned in France. 
  1. On this day in 1685 King James II acceded to the throne. 
  2. On this day in 1945 singer-songwriter, Bob Marley, was born in Nine Mile, Jamaica. 
  3. On this day in 1952 Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne while visiting Kenya. 
Awareness days from around the world

Veganuary, Dry January, Love Your Liver Month, Big Schools Birdwatch, National Blood Donor Month, National Hot Tea Month.
National Hobby Month, National Mentoring Month, National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, National Slow Cooking Month, National Soup Month, National Sunday Supper Month.
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.


Febudairy, LGBT History Month, Raynaud’s Awareness Month.  
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. 

National Storytelling Week (UK), Cheerleading Week (US), African Heritage and Health Week (US), Solo Diners Eat Our Week (US), Car Insurance Day (US), National Patient Recognition Week (US), Snow Sculpting Week (US), Cordova Iceworm Festival Week (US).


National Backward Day (US), National Hot Chocolate Day (US), National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day (US), National Bubble Wrap Day (US), National Bug Busting Day (US).

Dignity Action Day (UK), Chinese New Year - the Year of the Tiger (International), National Freedom Day (US), National Baked Alaska Day (US), National Serpent Day (US), Decorating with Candy Day , A Room of One's Own Day (International), National Irish Coffee Day (US), National Opposite Day (US). 

Candlemas (International),World Wetlands Day (International), World Play Your Ukulele Day (International), Hedgehog Day (International), Groundhog Day (US), National Crepe Day (US), Marmot Day (US), National Sled Dog Day (US), Lung Leavin' Day (US), World Wetlands Day (International).

Time to Ta Day (UK), Optimist Day (International), World Read Aloud Day (International), National Carrot Cake Day (US), Four Chaplains Day (US), National Golden Retriever Day (US).

NSPCC Number Day (UK), National Wear Red Day (UK), Welsh Language Music Day (UK), World Cancer Day (International), National Sweater Day, (US), National Stuffed Mushroom Day (US), National Working Naked Day (US), National Homemade Soup Day (US), National Bubble Gum Day (US), National Thank a Mail Carrier Day (US).

National Lace Day (UK), World Nutella Day (International), Take Your Child to The Library Day (International), National Chocolate Fondue Day (US), Ice Cream for Breakfast Day (US), National Weatherperson's Day (US).

National Yorkshire Pudding Day (UK), National Frozen Yogurt Day (US), National Lame Duck Day (US), Dump Your Significant ***** Day (US).
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