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PA's PA 29th August

PA's PA 29th August

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA – a week which saw the defection of Douglas Carswell MP from the Conservatives to UKIP.  His decision to not just defect but stand down and fight a by-election sets the wheels in motion for him to become UKIP’s first elected Member of Parliament.  Speculation is rife as to whether there are further Conservative MPs planning a similar move. 

Create UK

The PA attended a meeting of the Creative Industries Council IP Sub Group.  Attendees discussed progress on the IP-related recommendations of the CREATE UK document launched by Vince Cable and Sajid Javid at the start of the summer.  With the announcements around Creative Content UK (the new name for VCAP – the process by which rights holders will notify ISPs of infringement on their networks and the will see ISPs inform their subscribers of said infringement) it was felt that good progress was being made by industry on delivering its recommendations.  While the Government appears to also be making progress on its recommendations, the importance of maintaining pressure was agreed. 

Policy announcements

Building on one of its flagship coalition policies, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to increase the early years pupil premium from £300 to £1000 per child.  According to the Party, this will help close the attainment gap between children from low income families and those from more well-off backgrounds.  Education Minister David Laws said “Investing in early years is one of the best ways to build the fairer society that Liberal Democrats want to see and we are ambitious about delivering for future generations.”  The Lib Dems also announced that their manifesto will include a requirement for all children in state-funded schools, including academies and free schools, to receive age appropriate sex and relationship education.  This ‘Curriculum for Life’ means that Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) will be compulsory in all state-funded schools. 

Labour continued with its ‘education announcement a week’ strategy and this week outlined plans to develop technical universities which will offer earn-while-you-learn degrees.  In a pamphlet published by the Social Market Foundation, Labour Higher Education Spokesman Liam Byne set out the proposal which would see university science and engineering departments, employers and colleges collaborate to offer degree subjects to students who could receive wages as apprentices.  THE drew attention to the fact that the pamphlet offers no clues regarding Labour’s future policy on fees and funding.


The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is looking to commission work to establish whether social media is having an impact on intellectual property infringement. Within this, the IPO is keen to establish both negative and positive impacts on infringement.  Before commencing the study, they are seeking input from a range of stakeholders to capture experience of the issue and what they key issues may be to ensure we are asking the right questions. 


It seems that the Commission has finally managed to unblock some budget for its study on the “Remuneration of authors of books and scientific journals, translators, journalists and visual artists for the use of their works”.  The technical specifications of the call for tender (which closed on 28 August)  can be found here and confirms that the examination of fair remuneration is part of the ongoing review of the EU copyright acquis.


As the independence campaign in Scotland starts to draw to a close, the respective campaigns are now barred from the majority of schools in Scotland.  While they had attended school debates earlier in the year, local councils say the restriction is now in place due to ‘purdah’ – the period of election time when curbs are in place as to what public bodies can do. 

According to the Institute of Education, there is no evidence that government investment in particular school structures or types – for example, academies, free schools or faith schools – has been effective in improving the performance of pupils from poor backgrounds.  The review, commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that while there are differences in the performance of different types of schools, this is largely accounted for by the socioeconomic backgrounds of children in their intake. Children who attend schools with a greater proportion of pupils from advantaged backgrounds are more likely to perform better than similar children in schools with a high proportion of pupils from poor backgrounds.

The latest data on Primary School SATS results received mixed reporting.  According to the Telegraph the figures show ‘A fifth of 11 year olds lack lead basic reading and writing skills’, while the Guardian views the data as showing ‘primary school children improving in basic skills’.  What the data does show is that  four out of five 11-year-olds (79%) achieved Level 4 in their SATS tests in reading, writing and arithmetic, up from 75% in 2013. Results in the new grammar and spelling tests, first sat in 2013, rose three percentage points at Level 4 to 76% leading School reform minister Nick Gibb to comment: “Our education system is beginning to show the first fruits of our plan for education, helping to prepare young people for life in modern Britain. There is more to do but teachers and pupils deserve huge credit for such outstanding results.”

This week we: attended the Beijing International Book Fair and a meeting of the Creative Industries Council IP Sub Group.  Next week we will: meet with the Alliance for IP to discuss further promotion of its manifesto; attend a meeting of the Sherpa FACT Advisory Group; participate in a number of political roundtables organised by Save the Children to brief parliamentarians on the Read On. Get On campaign.