Research and Education

The latest from our Summer of Student Innovation design sprint

12 August 2016

This year's four-day-long design sprint from the Summer of Student Innovation was a huge success. We hear from winners past and present at the design sprint, and Justin Haylock tells us about this year's winning ideas, and what the teams have been up to at the event (including playing with Lego).

More than a third of female students 'have mental health problems'

One in three female students in the UK has a mental health problem, a survey suggests.

Sturgeon launches school reading challenge

Nicola Sturgeon challenges pupils across Scotland to read from a list of up to 100 books as part of a drive to improve literacy.

Body image 'a problem for boys', says advertising think tank

Eating disorders, dieting and extreme exercising are as much of a problem for secondary school boys as for girls, suggests a survey.

Record university offers as top A-level grades slip

Record numbers of UK university places have been offered - as top A-level grades fall for the fifth year in a row.

Is university worth the money?

Many millennials regret the money spent on university, according to a new study. So should you skip the degree?

Foreign languages A-level slump blamed on cuts

Sixth form funding pressures have been blamed for a drop in foreign language A-level candidates.

Ofsted boss 'should not resign'

The chief inspector of schools in England does not think the chairman of Ofsted should resign after describing the Isle of Wight as a 'ghetto'.

Degrees have 'retained earnings value'

The value of a university degree in higher earnings has not been eroded by the increase in student numbers, says the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Wirral teen celebrates nine A* grades and has University Challenge hopes

A teenager celebrates achieving nine A* grades at A-level and hopes to be a future contestant on University Challenge.

Funding and Consultations

Closed consultation: Closed recruitment practices in the public sector

The government wants to open up public sector recruitment, to ensure that the best people can be hired for the job.

This call for evidence is to gather information on the use of internal-only recruitment in the public sector, including whether it is ever ineffectively or inappropriately used. We are also seeking views on the role for government in encouraging more open recruitment.

Closed consultation: Business broadband review: call for evidence

We want to hear from businesses about the barriers they are facing in accessing superfast broadband.

We encourage responses from businesses, communications providers and other interested parties.

Open consultation: Developing black and minority ethnic talent: issues faced by businesses - McGregor-Smith review

In February, the Business Secretary asked Baroness McGregor-Smith to undertake a review of the issues faced by businesses in developing black and minority ethnic talent from recruitment through to executive level.

In order to inform that review, Baroness McGregor-Smith has launched a call for evidence and welcomes your views on:

  • the need for change
  • identifying obstacles
  • assessing the impacts of obstacles
  • existing data
  • best practice
  • recommendations

Closed consultation: National Innovation Plan: call for ideas

Updated: Deadline for responses extended to 30 May 2016.

Innovation can transform lives. It can help us to face some of our biggest challenges, from energy supply and food security, to demographic change and the delivery of public services. It enables businesses to develop new ideas, products and services, and create new jobs and export opportunities.

We want to know how you think the UK can improve its innovation framework. The survey asks for views on 7 areas:

  • regulation
  • procurement
  • access to finance
  • data
  • challenger businesses
  • national infrastructure
  • intellectual property

Your ideas will help us to develop a National Innovation Plan which we will publish later this year.

Closed consultation: Tips, gratuities, cover and service charges: proposals for further action

We believe that all discretionary payments for service should be subject to 3 broad policy objectives:

  • clear to consumers that they are voluntary
  • received by workers
  • clear and transparent to consumers and workers in terms of how the payments are treated

The consultation document includes:

We’re seeking views on our proposals for further action.

Closed consultation: Property ownership and public contracting by foreign companies: improving transparency

Updated: Consultation closing date extended to 4 April 2016.

This discussion paper sets out proposals to improve the transparency of ownership of foreign companies that purchase property or participate in public contracting.

The proposals are designed to help prevent the UK from being a safe haven for corrupt money from around the world.

The consultation closing date has been extended to Monday 4 April 2016.

Closed consultation: Land Registry: moving operations to the private sector

The Land Registry registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales.

This consultation sets out options to move Land Registry operations into the private sector. The purpose of the consultation is to:

  • set out government’s reasons for proposing change
  • propose how a private sector Land Registry would work
  • share our thinking on possible models for the future of Land Registry
  • seek views on the proposals, especially on our preferred option

A sale of Land Registry could allow government to pay down debt, or enable other investment for the benefit of taxpayers. It is expected that a move into the private sector would also allow Land Registry to become even more efficient. At the same time it could continue with an appropriate level of service to support the property market.

Closed consultation: Further education maintenance loans (technical and professional education)

We’re proposing maintenance loans for higher-level learners in technical and professional education. This includes the new National Colleges and learning at the emerging Institutes of Technology. We want to remove the up-front cost and increase the uptake of technical and professional learning in sectors that are important to the economy.

We’ll use evidence gathered through this consultation to make decisions on:

  • whether introducing the loans would increase take up
  • scope of the loans
  • eligibility to receive the loans

We would like views from colleges and independent providers in the further education sector, including National Colleges, higher education institutions and other interested bodies.

Closed consultation: Protections for small and micro businesses in non-regulated sectors

We want views on whether further protections are needed for small and micro businesses (a business employing 9 people or less), including sole traders, in the non-regulated sector.

We are interested in hearing from:

  • individual firms
  • trade bodies
  • research and academic organisations
  • others with experience of analysis in this area

You should back up your submission with strong and clear evidence to support any views offered.

The government made a commitment to consult on protections for small businesses in the competition plan, published in November 2015.

This consultation builds on last year’s call for evidence, which looked at current protections around the sale and supply of goods and services to small businesses.

Closed consultation: Non-Financial Reporting Directive: UK implementation

Updated: Added impact assessment and Regulatory Policy Committee assessment.

We want industry views on how we should implement the requirements in the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (2014/95/EU) into UK law. This amends Directive 2013/34/EU and requires certain companies, with more than 500 employees, to disclose information in their management reports about their:

  • policies
  • environmental risks
  • social and employee situation
  • respect for human rights
  • anti-corruption and bribery issues
  • diversity in their board of directors

This will provide investors and other stakeholders with a more comprehensive view of a company’s performance.