New report into living longer and the impact of working from home on older workers
The Office for National Statistics has produced
a report detailing the impact of working from home on people between the ages of 50 and retirement age. The report indicated that:
Working flexibly and from home may help older workers remain in their jobs for longer;
People who did not work from home during the pandemic shared characteristics, such as poorer health, wellbeing, and education.
Right to work checks – government updates guidance
The government has again pushed back its deadline to reintroduce physical right to work checks to 5 April 2022. The Home Office has updated its
guidance which gives employers the option of completing checks via video conference with copies of documents.
Will menopause be added to the list of ‘protected characteristics’ in the Equality Act?
That's the question the Women and Equalities Committee are considering as part of its inquiry into how menopausal women are treated at work and what steps need to be taken to protect them. They are
seeking views to help inform the development of a Women’s Health Strategy and are hearing evidence until Friday 17 September.
Schools to get air quality monitors from September
The Department for Education has said
all schools will receive carbon monoxide monitors from September 2021 to improve ventilation and help prevent the spread of coronavirus. It will spend £25 million on 300,000 CO2 monitors that will alert schools to situations where the COVID-19 transmission risk is higher because air is failing to circulate sufficiently.
The announcement follows a
letter to government from seven a school unions calling for urgent action to be taken to improve ventilation and prevent unnecessary COVID disruption.
The Department for Education is due to introduce an education recovery scheme
The Department for Education is due to publish guidance on the next stage of the government’s ‘catch up plan’ for education. It is expected to give schools three tutoring options for students that need additional support to catch up academically on time lost due to COVID-19 disruption:
via an accredited tutoring organisation in the National Tutoring Programme;
applying for funds to employ retired teachers to work as tutors; or,
paying current teachers overtime for extra one-to-one sessions with pupils.
The guidance will outline how much education recovery funding is available and how it may be spent over the next year.
Schools legally obliged to provide remote education for the academic year 2021-22
The Department for Education has reintroduced a
Provision of Remote Education (England) Temporary Continuity (No.2) Direction initially published in October 2020 under the Coronavirus Act, which makes schools legally responsible for remotely educating pupils who are self-isolating because of COVID-19.
The direction will apply until July 2022, though it could be revoked earlier.
Ofsted plans for phased return to full inspection programme
Ofsted has published
updated guidance detailing how it intends to complete its phased return to a full school inspection programme in each education division, including dates when inspections will be resumed and in what capacity.
Seven destinations added to the green travel list from 30 August 2021
The Department for Transport has
updated the green and red travel lists. As of Monday 30 August 2021, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Lichtenstein, Switzerland, and the Azores were added to the green list, while Thailand and Montenegro have been added to the red list due to the higher case rates in these countries.
Passengers returning from green list countries will not need to self-isolate on return, but will still have to take a pre-departure and day two test when they return to the UK.
Schools and colleges can stagger the return of pupils in September
The Department for Education has updated its guidance on
rapid asymptomatic testing in specialist settings. Schools and colleges can stagger the intake of pupils during the first week of the new term in September in order to complete on-site testing before the start of classes.
It recommends that pupils should also continue to test themselves at home twice a week and self-isolate for ten days if they test positive. Close contacts of a child that test positive are advised to take a PCR test, but will only have to quarantine themselves if they receive a positive result.
Survey reveals one in six has had to reduce working hours due to childcare issues
survey of more than 3,000 parents by The Early Years Alliance has found one in six respondents (of which 92% were women) has had to reduce their working hours because they couldn’t access suitable childcare. 33% of those that did not access childcare would like to, but 88% of that group cited cost as a barrier. Those who reduced their hours did so by an average 41%, those from deprived areas were 22% more likely to be struggling, and 80% believed the government was not doing enough to help them.
£50 million funding to improve T level course facilities in the UK
Department for Education has announced £50 million funding for colleges, schools and sixth forms to expand and upgrade teaching spaces and facilities at T level institutions from 2022. Sixty five separate projects will receive a share of the funding to upgrade equipment and classrooms.
England’s schools in need of significant maintenance and repair
A survey of
1,500 school leaders has found 83% did not believe they had sufficient funding to effectively upkeep and maintain their school buildings and facilities. Teachers have reported leaking ceilings, poorly ventilated buildings, and broken heating systems that leaders haven’t been able to repair due to lack of funds.
This is particularly troubling as COVID-19 is an air-borne disease and the most effective way to reduce it spreading is to maximise the supply of fresh air in buildings.
International Qualified Teacher Status – consultation response
In the response to its February consultation on International Qualified Teacher Status, the
Department for Education has confirmed plans to allow teachers to qualify from abroad via a new “English-style” global certification. The International Qualified Teacher Status is equivalent to the UK’s Qualified Teacher Status and will be awarded following completion of an international teacher training course. The scheme will be piloted through accredited International teacher training providers and may lead to an increase in teachers coming to the UK to work from abroad.
To qualify for the scheme, candidates will need the equivalent of GCSE level 4 in English, an International English Language Testing System grade 6.5 or higher, or to have completed some of their education in England.
New consultation – Teacher misconduct
The Department for Education has launched a
new consultation on teacher misconduct under which it proposes six additions to the list of “relevant offences” for which teachers may be banned from the profession.
These are: harassment and/or stalking, child cruelty and/or neglect, voyeurism (including up skirting), and revenge pornography.
The consultation closes on Tuesday 19 October 2021.
Uptake of paternity pay drops to 12-year low during the pandemic
Data released by HM Revenue & Customs shows only 27% of those eligible to take paternity leave during the pandemic did so. 176,000 men claimed statutory paternity pay in the 12 months to 31 March 2021 compared with 652,000 women over the same period.
Comparatively, 208,000 men took paternity leave in 2019-20 and 203,000 in 2018-19. The 2020 figure is the lowest since 2008 and is thought to be due to the low rate of statutory paternity pay (£152 per week) combined with financial pressure people were under during the pandemic, as well as an increase in home and flexible working arrangements meaning childcare is more easily arranged around people’s jobs.
Read more – September 2021
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