General News

DH: A Department of Health funded UK team have begun a clinical gene therapy trial to test a revolutionary treatment for blindness in children.  The trial involves adults & children who have 'inherited childhood blindness' a progressive deterioration in vision caused by an abnormality in a particular gene.

This defect prevents normal function of their retina, the light-sensitive layer of cells at the back of the eye.  There are currently no effective treatments available for this condition.

The new technique involves inserting normal copies of the gene into the cells of the retina to help them to function normally.  This is achieved by an operation to deliver the normal genes to the retina, using a harmless virus or "vector" to carry the gene into the cells. The purpose of this study is to find out how safe and effective the new intervention is in patients.
Press release ~ University College London Institute of Ophthalmology ~ Moorfields Eye Hospital ~ Gene Therapy Advisory Committee ~ White Paper 'Our Inheritance, Our Future: Realising the potential of genetics in the NHS' ~ Fight for Sight ~ British RP Society

CEL: The Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) – a network for women who hold or aspire to leadership roles in further education (supported by the Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL)) - was launched at the House of Lords last week.


To mark the launch, CEL and WLN published their report on gender-related factors in career progression, based on research carried out for them by the Learning Skills Network (LSN), which identified some key trends in the FE system, including under-representation of black and minority ethnic (BME) managers.

Press release ~ Centre for Excellence in Leadership (CEL) ~ Guidance on the Gender Equality Duty for the FE Sector ~ Learning Skills Network (LSN) ~ Gender-related factors in career progression ~ Further Education: Raising Skills, Improving Life Chances


LLUK: The selection process for Centres for Excellence in Teachers Training (CETTs), organised by Standards Verification UK, has culminated in the announcement of eleven successful bids.  SVUK devised the selection methodology for the new networks further to Lifelong Learning UK establishing the requirements for what should constitute a Centre for Excellence in Teacher Training.

The eleven successful consortia due to be operational from September 2007, do not conform to a single prescribed model.  Also remits vary; some have a national focus whilst others concentrate on particular specialisms.  All share the obligation to contribute to raising the quality of teacher training and the support available to teacher training providers across the lifelong learning sector.
Press release ~ Standards Verification UK ~ Lifelong Learning UK ~ Centres for Excellence in Teachers Training (CETTs)

CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities has made a submission to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, giving views & advice on the following issues within rural communities:

Press release ~ Commission for Rural Communities ~ Submission ~ Commission on Integration and Cohesion ~ Defra – Rural Affairs ~ Defra UK - Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act ~ DCLG - Gypsies and Travellers ~ CRE - Gypsies and Irish Travellers

Red Hat on automation (pt 2)