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PXEducation may be ring-fenced, but do the policies meet the needs of the most vulnerable? - Policy Exchange recently published a major report into improving education for pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) – aimed at driving up standards and helping every child achieve their potential. 

The report backs setting up independent panels to gauge what individual needs SEN pupil have – with parents given a guaranteed choice on what type of schooling their child should get.

Just 33.7% of SEN pupils currently reach the expected National Curriculum level in English & Maths compared to 84.6% of pupils with no SEN.  Children with SEN are twice as likely to be persistently absent from school and are 8 times as likely to be excluded from school.
Press release ~ PX: Special Educational Needs - Reforming provision in English schools ~ A statement is not enough – Ofsted review of special educational needs and disability ~ DfE: SEN ~ DfE: related documents ~ DfE: other links ~ Directgov - SEN ~ Brian Lamb’s report into parental confidence in the SEN system plus Government’s response ~ Henry Winkler Teaching Award for Special Needs ~ Nominate for The Teaching Awards of 2011 ~ Make Them Go Away ~ Resource pack ~ Teachernet: Special educational needs and disability ~ Progression Guidance 2009–10: Improving data to raise attainment and maximise the progress of learners with special educational needs, learning difficulties and disabilities ~ Support for special educational needs: parent partnership services and other organisations ~ Parent Partnership Network ~ Education and Skills Select Committee's report into Special Educational Needs ~ Government’s response ~ DfE: Special Educational Needs in England: January 2010 ~ Teacher Training Resource Bank SEN Sub Portal ~ National Association for Special educational needs ~ Dyslexia Parents Resource ~ SEN Code of Practice ~ NICE: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: Diagnosis and management of ADHD in children, young people and adults ~ Diagnosis and management of ADHD in children, young people and adults ~ National Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service ~ TDA launch new SEN Materials for training teachers - videos, slides, background materials ~ Just Ask campaign ~ Enquire help service ~ Graham Badman’s Review of Elective Home Education ~ Government response ~ Promoting young people's social and emotional wellbeing in secondary education ~ Becoming a problem: how and why children acquire a reputation as ‘naughty’ in the earliest years at school ~ The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children ~ DCSF:  Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) Action ~ Afasic ~ CAB: SEN ~  First–tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) ~ Contact a Family: SEN ~ Northern Grid: SEN ~ TTRB Special Educational Needs ~ IPSEA ~ NALDIC: Inclusion and Special Educational Needs (SEN) ~ Inclusive Science and Special Educational Needs ~ HE-Special ~ Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales (SENTW) ~ QCDA: SEN ~ SEN Magazine ~ Standing Conference on Teacher Education North and South: SEN ~ Special educational needs and inclusion ~ Teachers TV: SEN

MoDJust where does the frontline start in modern conflicts? - The Ministry of Defence has completed a review into the policy that ‘excludes female members of the Armed Forces from carrying out ground close combat roles’ and decided that it should remain unchanged.

Women play an active part in front line operations, undertaking crucial posts in areas such as logistics, artillery & engineering, but they cannot join the infantry or serve in small tactical combat arms teams where they are required to be in close contact with and kill the enemy face-to-face.

The policy was last reviewed in 2002 and the EC Equal Treatment Directive requires the UK to conduct a reassessment every 8 years.  Since 2002, operations in Iraq & Afghanistan have generated considerably more evidence of women serving on the front line to be reviewed.
Press release ~ Women in combat ~ Photos and related links ~ ITV1: Women on the frontlineRelated press release ~ RAF nurse flies with lifesaving team in Afghanistan ~ Maintaining the Navy's Sea Kings in Helmand ~ Afghanistan's first female bomb hunter returns home ~ Queen's bravery award for L/Cpl Sally Clarke ~ Female Apache helicopter pilot ~ GR4 Flyer one of the boys ~ Women at War ~ BBC: Women at war: How roles are changing ~ Women Under Fire in World War Two ~ Women at war face sexual violence ~ Women in the Frontline for Clearing Cluster Bombs ~ Frontline Females: Unlocking The World of Afghan Women ~ Australian women are filling vital supporting roles working on the frontline in the war in Afghanistan ~ British Legion Magazine – In the firing line ~ BBC: Women at War: 'She-Soldiers' Through the Ages ~ Team Lioness

Newswire – OBR:  Let’s face it, economics is hardly an exact science - The Office for Budget Responsibility published its Economic and fiscal outlook recently. 

The report also contains an assessment of whether the Government is likely to achieve its fiscal mandate & supplementary target and offers a preliminary view on the long-term sustainability of the public finances.
Press release (plus links to outlook report & related documents) ~ TUC response to OBR forecast ~ IFS response ~ CIPD response ~ ITEM Club response ~ NIESR response ~ The Prince’s Trust - youth unemployment could cost the UK economy up to £155m a week ~ Adam Smith Institute warns that the government’s future commitments on healthcare, welfare, pensions and education are unsustainable

DHImproving the NHS, or just another round of musical chairs? - A plan to ‘go further & faster in tackling today’s causes of premature death & illness and reduce health inequalities, with a public health service to make it happen’, was unveiled last week by Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley.

Public Health England (PHE) will be created as a service that ‘gives more power to local people over their health, whilst keeping a firm national grip on crucial population-wide issues such as flu pandemics’. 

The White Paper, Healthy Lives, Healthy People also sets out how funding from the overall NHS budget will be ring-fenced for spending on public health – a recognition that prevention is better than cure.  Early estimates suggest that current spend on areas that are likely to be the responsibility of PHE could be in the range of £4bn.
Press release ~ Healthy lives, healthy people White Paper: Our strategy for public health in England (plus related documents) ~ King’s Fund response PR ~ iea response ~ NHS Confederation response ~ Patients Association: Listen to patients, Speak up for change - a collection of 17 firsthand accounts of hospital care of older patients from across the NHS ~ Unite the union response ~ LGA response ~ NICE PR ~ Inclusion Health ~ Marmot Review ~ The Nurse-Family Partnership Programme: Implementation in England Second year in 10 pilot sites: the infancy period ~ New updated Child Health Promotion Programme (CHPP) ~ The Contribution of the NHS to Reducing Health Inequalities: Written Evidence to the House of Commons Health Select Committee submitted by Unite (Amicus Section)

HMTA control mechanism or an excuse to bump pay up to the 20 times limit? - Will Hutton last week set out the case for a maximum pay multiple that would keep the pay of top executives in the public sector bounded to what their staff earn. Executive pay, in much of the public sector, as well as the private sector, has been rising faster than the pay of median and low earners.  This has created greater pay dispersion within organisations over the past decade. 

In publishing the Fair Pay Review’s interim report, Will Hutton said: 
“There is a strong case for public sector organisations having to comply with, or explain why they do not comply with, a maximum pay multiple, such as 20:1. This would demonstrate fairness by reassuring public opinion.…. 

Some of the arms race character of top private sector pay determination is also showing signs of reproducing itself in the public sector.…. 

Without clear principles there is every prospect of the rise and potentially irrational range in senior pay settlements continuing – which will accentuate already growing concerns about pay fairness…….

The public sector should be cautious about simply adopting ‘best practice’ from the private sector, as private sector pay practices and corporate governance have not delivered proportionality in pay”.

In its Final Report in March 2011, the Fair Pay Review will make detailed recommendations on the definition & implementation of a pay multiple and other elements of a wider fairness framework in the public sector.
Press release ~ HMT: Fair Pay Review Interim Report ~ TUC response to Fair Pay report ~ BBC: Public Sector pay - The numbers ~ Bureau of Investigative Journalism – Public Sector Pay ~ FDA: Fair Pay and Rewards ~ PASC’s report: Outsiders and Insiders: External Appointments to the Senior Civil Service ~ Top Pay in the Public Sector Vol 1 ~ Top Pay in the Public Sector Vol 2 ~ Normington Review ~ FDA: Act of Leadership press release ~ FDA: Hospitality press release ~ 30th Report on Senior Salaries - 2008 ~ Written Ministerial statement ~ Unite union response
Recent white paper:   Countering Advanced Persistant Threats with Cyber Forensics Just as organized crime has become the main player in commercial hacking, terrorists and malign foreign governments are becominto dog the primary force in attacks on government systems. A recent paper argues that the public sector should invest in cyber forensics.
Many security teams have been caught unawares by recent advances in targeted attacks. Multi stage, multi vector attacks now steal sensitive and classified data, access privileged accounts, and spy on public sector organizations.

Independent analysts IT-Harvest explains the need for new security tactics and rapid response technologies to counter these advanced persistent threats, reaching three conclusions:

 1.   Advanced persistent threats are a real and present danger to the public sector.
 2.  Malicious adversaries are evolving increasingly stealthy techniques as they target the public sector and its private sector employers. 
 3. Government agencies must implement forensics-grade technology to completely eradicate malware and minimize the attack service of their sensitive data.

Click here to receive a free copy of ‘Countering Advanced Persistant Threats with Cyber Forensics’
Click for further information from Guidance Software image.
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