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).

Geographer maps Oxbridge success of London state schools

Some London state schools send more pupils to Oxford and Cambridge than private schools in other parts of England, research suggests.

Social division stays in online learning

There are strong social divisions in how young people use digital technology at home, according to international research from the OECD.

Parents 'struggling' to access free childcare

A report carried out by a campaign group reveals that some parents are struggling to access the childcare they are entitled to.

Girls on top

With girls' dominance on the university campus set to continue, we ask why more women than men go to university.

Teachers urged to submit GCSE and A-level questions

A major exam board is to ask teachers to submit potential questions for GCSE and A-level exams.

Free lunch?

As thousands of students prepare to head off to university for the first time, here are 10 alternative ways they can help fund their education.

Scotland's Children's Panels launch recruitment drive

A drive is launched to sign up 500 volunteers as members of Scotland's Children's Panels.

Birds and bees

Sex and relationship education (SRE) in schools is often criticised - so we've asked a teacher to watch old videos and explain how it's changed over the last 50 years.

Firms offered £2,000 incentive to take on apprentices

Employers are offered an extra £2,000 to take on teenagers, care leavers and those with special education needs as apprentices in England.

Funding and Consultations

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.

Closed consultation: Business impact target, growth duty and Small Business Appeals Champion

Updated: Added link to categories of regulatory provisions to be excluded from the BIT.

We’re seeking your views on which regulators to bring within scope of the business impact target (BIT), growth duty and Small Business Appeals Champion. We’re also asking for feedback on draft statutory guidance to support the implementation of the growth duty and the Small Business Appeals Champion.

This consultation is relevant to regulators and businesses and members of civil society subject to regulation.

On 3 March 2016 the Secretary of State published his list of categories of regulatory provisions which will be excluded from the BIT. All other regulatory provisions coming into force or ending during this Parliament will be treated as qualifying regulatory provisions and will count against the target.

Closed consultation: Improving terms and conditions

In this call for evidence we are seeking a better understanding of how T&Cs can be made more accessible for consumers. It includes a number of proposals along with more general questions on how respondents approach T&Cs and what might work better for them.

We are also proposing additional enforcement tools, including civil fining powers for breaches of the consumer protection legislation.

Views are sought from the public, consumer representatives, businesses, trade bodies and regulators.

Closed consultation: Damages for breaches of competition law: implementing the EU directive

The Damages Directive is designed to make it easier for businesses and individuals to claim for compensation when they have been victims of a breach of European competition law.

This document sets out the changes we believe we need to make to UK law in order to implement the directive.

Closed consultation: Research Excellence Framework review: call for evidence

Government has asked Lord Nicholas Stern to lead an independent review of the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The review is examining how university research funding can be allocated more efficiently so that universities can focus on carrying out world-leading research.

The review has already received many helpful inputs through the community’s response to the Higher Education green paper consultation questions on the REF. This call for evidence is to explore some of the issues raised and investigate ways in which a simpler, lighter-touch, system for the REF might be developed.

See the terms of reference.

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