OfstedImproving Literacy Standards could lead to a NEET solution - Ofsted has published its best practice reportImproving Standards in Literacy: A shared responsibility’.  This survey report draws on visits to secondary schools that have been effective in delivering cross-curricular improvement in literacy.

Ofsted has also hosted the first of 3 conferences on Mathematics & English for teachers, heads and governors to support improvement in schools & academies, and to help accelerate pupil progress & raise attainment.  During the conference, inspectors shared evidence of what works well and shared strategies for improvement.
Press release & links ~ Improving literacy in secondary schools: a shared responsibility ~ Moving English Forward report & associated resources ~ Removing barriers to literacy ~ Driving up standards of literacy ~ Reading, writing and communication (literacy) ~ Ofsted Chief Inspector calls for rapid improvement in literacy ~ New phonics check will identify thousands of children needing extra reading help ~ £10m literacy catch-up programme for disadvantaged pupils ~ BBC: Many teenagers 'cannot read GCSE exam papers' ~ ScotGov: High reading and writing levels for pupils ~ BIS:  Recruiting ex-service personnel to teach in poorly performing schools may not be such a ‘wild’ idea after all

DWPGiven the right help most people want to support themselves - More people with mental health conditions have been supported at or into work by a government employment scheme.  According to statistics released last week, almost half of all people with mental health conditions using the specialist disability employment scheme Access to Work (A2W) last year did so for the first time.

A2W provides financial help towards the extra costs faced by disabled people at work, such as support workers, travel costs & specially adapted equipment.  Recent changes to the scheme also mean that:
* Businesses with up to 49 employees will no longer pay a contribution towards the extra costs faced by disabled people in work, saving them up to £2,300 per employee who uses the fund
* Disabled jobseekers who want to set up their own business through the New Enterprise Allowance will now be eligible for A2W funding from day one of receiving Job Seekers Allowance

The Government has already announced £15m additional funding for A2W and the extension of the support to young people taking part in work experience through the Youth Contract. Anyone interested in applying for this support can search the ‘A2W website to find out details of DWP contact centres.
Press release & links ~ Access to work ~ DWP: Youth Contract ~ New Enterprise Allowance ~ Employers urged to take 3 steps to improve mental health ~ National framework to improve mental health and wellbeing published ~ New stress management tool holds up a mirror to poor managers ~ NICE: Improve your knowledge of guidance on common mental health problems ~ Services in Wales come ‘Together for Mental Health’ ~ CIPD: Most people still afraid to disclose a mental health problem to their employer ~ Stress is number one cause of long-term absence for the first time as job insecurity weighs heavy on the workplace, finds CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence survey ~ Mental Health, The Last Workplace Taboo ~ DH:  Being flexible could keep the costs down (4th item) ~ DH: Hard enough task even in good times

DHTime to ‘fill in’ the gaps of legislation covering cosmetic surgery - An independent review of cosmetic surgery recommends better regulation, better training & proper redress if things go wrong.  The main actions that the review group says would contribute to a successful & safe cosmetic surgery industry include:
* making all dermal fillers prescription only
* ensuring all practitioners are properly qualified for all the procedures they offer
* an ombudsman to oversee all private health care including cosmetic procedures
Press release & links ~ The Health Service Ombudsman responds to Review report ~ Tighten safety on medical implants - Ministers urged by Committee ~ MPs publish accounts of women with PIP implants in advance of Commons debate ~ DH: Final expert report on PIP breast implants published

Ofsted In some parts of the world ‘boredom’ is a luxury children have no time to ‘enjoy’ - More local activities and places to go would stop children & young people from breaking the law.  This was the message from 187 children & young people who are either living in care or in a secure training centre when asked for their views on keeping out of trouble by Roger Morgan, the Children’s Rights Director for England

The report Keeping out of trouble summarises the discussions held with children & young people on what the worst kinds of trouble are and how to avoid getting into them.
Press release ~ CLG: Britain’s biggest music festival: a summer of free community concerts ~ Keeping out of trouble (2nd item)

HMRC Those who don’t ask, won't get - Tax Credit customers are being reminded by HMRC that they must renew claims by 31 July 2013 or their payments might stop.
Press release & links

MO:  Which is worse; Sneezing or Freezing? - Following the cold weather in March & early April, the pollen season has now begun, with tree pollen set to last until the middle of May.  Throughout the season, Met Office forecasters will be working closely with the University of Worcester and Pollen UK to provide the most accurate pollen forecasts for the UK.
Press release & links

BISA case of ‘Not if, but when’ your organisation’s ICT systems are breachedMore small businesses than ever are facing the threat of losing confidential information through cyber attacks, according to research published by BIS. 

The 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey has shown that 87% of small businesses across all sectors experienced a breach in the last year.  This is up more than 10% and cost small businesses up to 6% of their turnover, when they could protect themselves for far less.

This comes as the Technology Strategy Board extends its Innovation Vouchers scheme to allow SMEs to bid for up to £5,000 from a £500k pot to improve their cyber security, by bringing in outside expertise.  

BIS is also publishing guidance to help small businesses to put cyber security higher up the agenda and make it part of their normal business risk management procedures.
Press release & links ~ 2013 Information Security Breaches Survey ~ Innovation Vouchers scheme ~ Guidance to help small businesses ~ Ofcom: UK adults taking online password security risks ~ Keeping the UK safe in cyberspace ~ CO:  An issue that is still very much in the news (2nd item) ~ BIS:  Physical locks & guards won’t keep them out

UKAS: E-learning package on standards and accreditation launched - How can standards and accreditation be used to deliver Government policy?
Civil Service Learning has launched an e-learning module to answer this and other questions on the use of standards and accreditation.

The module explains:

  • What standards and accreditation are
  • How they can be used to support self-regulation, co-regulation and earned recognition
  • The role of the British Standards Institution and the United Kingdom Accreditation Service
  • How to decide when to use standards and accreditation.

The module has been developed specifically to assist those in policy roles within central Government departments and agencies but will be of interest to anyone working in the public sector.

Click here to learn more about how standards and accreditation can help you deliver your policy objectives, access the e-learning package.

Please note that previously published newsletters can be accessed from the Newsletter Archive
Latest e-learning module on the use of standards and accreditation to deliver Government policy.....find out more image.
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