DfEFive years ago I couldn’t even spell the word ‘Engineer’, now I are one - Education Minister, Elizabeth Truss, has claimed that a ‘rigorous new spelling, grammar & punctuation test would raise standards for all children’.  The new test – made up of a 45-minute grammar test and a separate 15-minute spelling test of 20 words – was taken for the first time last week, by around 600,000 11-year-olds.

Children have been tested on whether they can:
* spell some of the most commonly misspelt words – including separate, preferred & necessary
* punctuate sentences properly – including the use of colons, ellipses and apostrophes
* use grammar correctly – including the use of subordinate clauses and a range of connectives

Statistics for writing in 2012 showed that:
* almost 100,000 7-year-olds were below the expected level (17%)
* about 125,000 11-year-olds were below the expected level (23%)

The Department for Education has already made changes so that from this summer there will be marks awarded for spelling, punctuation & grammar in key subjects at GCSE.
Press release & links ~ Bew Review ~ Sample tests ~ Oxford Owl videos: Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling made easy ~ Grammar & punctuation test: take The Guardian’s quiz ~ Ofsted:  Improving Literacy Standards could lead to a NEET solution ~ CBI responds to Sir Michael Wilshaw's speech on literacy levels among young people ~ Ofsted: Search on literacy ~ EU leading action to boost literacy in developing countries ~ European countries need to step up efforts to boost reading skills, study says

UniteSocial mobility is an essential element of a evolving democratic society - 'Charities should stop exploiting unpaid interns and pay them the national minimum wage, otherwise working for voluntary organisations will become the preserve of a wealthy elite’.  

This call came last week in a new report called: Interns in the voluntary sector – time to end exploitation from Unite, the union, and Intern Aware, an organisation campaigning for fair, paid internships and against exploitation.

Unite research found that more than a third of the top 50 charity employers in England & Wales did not pay their interns (based on Charity Commission data from 2013).  Unite said that charities should follow the example of suchgood’ employers as Clinks, a support group for offenders & their families; the Methodist church; and the National Housing Federation which paid a proper rate for the job for interns.

The report calls for interns to be paid the national minimum wage, currently £6.19 an hour for those over 21; and the re-introduction of paid entry level jobs to expand the social diversity of job applicants.  The report said: Unpaid internships in the third sector breeds elitism, and only provides guaranteed access to jobs for those who can afford to work for free for anything from three to 12 months. ….. the sector …… runs the risk of becoming a sector reserved for those from wealthy backgrounds.”
Press release & links ~ Intern Aware ~ National minimum wage - work experience - internships - and the NMW ~ TUC comment ~ Unite: top exploiting post-graduate vets, universities told ~ TUC: Internships in London out of reach of most of the UK's youngsters ~ TUC and NUS launch year of campaigning to protect interns from abuse ~ ScotGov: New opportunities for graduates ~ Improving social mobility to create a fairer society ~ CIPD: Common Best Practice Code for High-Quality Internships ~ Internships that work: A guide for employers ~ EU News: We must invest in jobs for people, says EU Parliament ~ HMRC targets fashion houses exploiting interns ~ HEFCE: Internship schemes boost students' job prospects ~ ACE: Creative employment programme ~ Arts Council England and Creative & Cultural Skills publish guide on internships in the arts ~ IPPR: Why Interns need a fair wage ~ GoThinkBig ~ CO:  It has always been a question of ‘who you know’, not ‘what you know’, even for some manual jobs ~ CO: Students from under-represented backgrounds continue to benefit from Whitehall internships ~ Whitehall internships open the corridors of power to 60 youngsters ~ Two-week Whitehall Internship programme opens
TKFIntegrate or collapse? - Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund has responded to Care & Support Minister, Norman Lamb’s, announcement on joined up health & social care:

“As the Secretary of State for Health said recently, delivering integrated care is the central challenge that defines modern health care. To meet the needs of an ageing population and transform services for the growing number of people with long term conditions, it is essential that co-ordinating care & support becomes the core business of everyone working in the NHS and social care.

So today’s announcement is an important statement of intent from the government and the organisations signed up to the shared commitment on integrated care and support”.
Press release & links ~ NHS Confederation comments on announcement to integrate health and social care ~ NICE: Joined-up health and social care to be "the norm" by 2018 ~ NHS Confederation responds to College of Emergency Medicine & FTN concerns about urgent & emergency care ~ DH:  Remember that the Government has no money, ultimately it has to obtain it from the ‘tax-paying public’ (2nd item) ~ CQC:  Remember, we will all get old in time (3rd item) ~ TKF:  Time for a new model NHS? (6th item) ~ Public remain wedded to NHS funding model says new research by The King’s Fund and Ipsos MORI ~ Health spending reforms risk creating complexity for local commissioners ~ TKF responds to the publication of the HoL Public Service & Demographic Change Committee’s report – Ready for Ageing? ~ Health and social care could consume half of government spending by 2060

EU News:  A key element of integrated services - Prizes have been awarded to eHealth SMEs from Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and United Kingdom as part of eHealth Week 2013 in Dublin, Ireland.  

The winners of the 2nd EU SME eHealth Competition came up with innovations in areas such as:
* improving cognitive behavioural therapy for mental care
* improving physiological monitoring
* people facing emergencies

The UK-based winner in the ‘Champion category’ was UK Preventive Medicine for; The Prevention Plan - A Comprehensive Care Co-Production System.
Press release & links ~ EU News: Digital Agenda - Kroes & Borg welcome recognition of the contribution ICT can make in reforming health systems ~ Putting patients in the driving seat: A digital future for healthcare ~ DH: 3m lives will be improved through hi-tech project ~ Successfully delivering care closer to home could improve outcomes for patients and save the NHS £3.4bn a year ~ Gadgets saving millions of pounds in adult social care ~ Health technologies to improve the lives of people with long-term conditions ~ ScotGov: eHealth strategy published ~ LGA:  A cheaper (but effective alternative) to personal care

Cebr:  It sounds like an easy choice - The UK’s GDP could be up to 5% higher if our infrastructure matched that of our overseas competitors.  That is the headline finding of a report (Securing Our Economy: The Case For Infrastructure) identifying the impact new infrastructure has on the wider economy from leading business analysts the Centre for Economic & Business Research on behalf of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA).
Press release & links ~ Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) ~ CBI comments on NAO report on High Speed 2 rail project ~ The NAO has highlighted 5 risks to the value for money of some national infrastructure projects ~ EU News: Investing in green infrastructure will bring multiple returns to nature, society and people ~ DECC:  As usual it is the public who will pay for it (6th item) ~ ‘£76.5m infrastructure boost to create jobs and growth’ – Jane Hutt  ~ CLG: Speeding up mobile broadband roll-out ~ MPs publish report on planning for economic infrastructure ~ UK infrastructure timelines - Royal Academy of Engineering ~ Smart infrastructure: the future - RAEng ~ Current Issues: Infrastructure and adaptation ~ Armitt Review of Infrastructure ~ RAEng response to the Independent Armitt Review of Infrastructure ~ LGA response

STFCApple for Student rather than Teacher - The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Daresbury Laboratory is asking Year 9 students to tell them their answers!  In the 2013 School Science Prize, students must write 500 words on ‘Why I love Science’.  A selected group of finalists will be invited to an evening event at the Daresbury Laboratory on 11 July 2013 where they will be required to speak for 2 minutes and answer questions on the same topic.

The overall winner will receive an Apple iPad as their prize.  This year there is a special category for the ‘innovative entry’ who will win an Asus Fonepad (brand new to market), kindly donated by Intel, one of STFC's partners. The closing date for entries is Friday 7 June 2013.
Press release & links

EU Balance of Competence Review(s):  Where should the balance of power(s) be? - The government has published calls for evidence on the balance of competence between the UK and the EU on:
* Transport
* Civil judicial cooperation (including family matters)
* Culture, sport & tourism sectors
* Free Movement of Persons
See ‘Consultations’ section for more information.

Enterprise Search Whitepaper: Speedier, More Accurate Results and Bye-Bye to Bandwidth Bottlenecks! - Widespread use of enterprise collaboration platforms such as Huddle and SharePoint across all UK Government and public sector organisations provides for effective and efficient management and collaboration of large documents, reports etc.

However, when it comes to the retrieval of these, the search process is much less efficient – to validate that the search has found the right document it will have to be downloaded and then read to confirm its accuracy. The negative effect of this entirely avoidable process is two-fold as it takes up increasingly valuable staff-time and resource, as well as creating additional costs due to spiralling bandwidth requirements.

A recently produced paper explains how the most recent advances in enterprise search technology can deliver proven efficiencies and tangible public sector savings by reducing bandwidth usage by as much as 90% and resource/staff-time required by up to a third.

Simply click here on the link below to receive your free copy.

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