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PA's PA 31st October

PA's PA 31st October

Welcome to this week’s PA’s PA in a week in which the Scottish Labour Party, in the face of polling pointing to an electoral meltdown in Scotland at the next General Election, began the search for a new leader.   

UK update

The PA met with Laura Trott, Education Policy Adviser in Number 10, to discuss the education recommendations in Publishing for Britain.  This was a particularly well-timed meeting as Laura is currently preparing the first draft of the education elements of the Conservative Manifesto for the 2015 General Election.  While not all of the specific recommendations are ones which sit particularly comfortably with Conservative ideology, the issues raised certainly strike a chord and are ones they would like to work with us on developing further, particularly those around ensuring schools are equipped with proper resources, digital, physical and technical, and the role libraries play in schools and communities. 

As part of an Alliance for IP delegation, The PA met with Oliver Letwin MP, one of the main people holding the final pen on the Conservative Manifesto (he also has the rather Orwellian title of ‘Minister for Government Policy’), to discuss the importance of intellectual property and the creative industries. 

The PA’s new policy group met for the first time.  The group will act as a form for discussion of policy issues of interest to publishers, including copyright, taxation, competition and business and enterprise policy development. It will assist The PA in: promoting publishing to the political audience; formulating responses to policy consultations from UK and EU institutions; and help determine The PA’s strategic stance on political communications, such as identifying potential stakeholder allies.  For further information on the group and its activities please contact Susie Winter at

The Intellectual Property Office has written to The PA (and others) seeking assistance in helping them understand the impacts of any change to the current European copyright framework around cross-border access to, and use of, copyright works in the publishing sector.  There are increasing noises in Brussels that the new Commission sees this as an area in which they would like to bring forward proposals aimed at reducing barriers to cross-border use of copyright works.  Reassuringly, the UK Government has reached out to rightsholder organisations and is keen to ensure that it has the best possible evidence on the likely impact on the UK to assist them in developing their position on this issue.   

Reading for Pleasure / Literacy

Save the Children hosted a day long strategy and planning session to develop a long-term programme for the Read On, Get On campaign.  All the original coalition members attended and discussed a wide range of issues including looking at the levers which will enable us to deliver the over-arching objective of ensuring that, by 2025, all 11 year olds read well, and what actions are required to ensure that, given the ‘deadline’, the campaign maintains momentum.

Led by The National Literacy Trust, The National Literacy Forum (of which The PA is a member) this week launched its Vision for Literacy with a reception in the House of Commons.  This was attended by, amongst others, Stephen McPartland MP, chair of the APPG on Literacy, Kevin Brennan MP, Shadow Education Minister, and Baroness (Estelle) Morris, former Secretary of State for Education.  Reported in The Telegraph, the Vision for Literacy aligns with the Read on. Get on. campaign and makes four key recommendations to address literacy:

  1. Early Years: Government should create a cross-departmental Early Years Minister to drive forward an integrated education, health, welfare and business approach to early years policy.
  2. Schools: Government should invest in new support for teachers, school leaders and governors. This should include the creation of a Royal College of Teachers.
  3. Reading for enjoyment: Government should instruct Ofsted to examine a reading for pleasure strategy in every school inspection.
  4. The role of business in education: Government should encourage the creation of Local Brokers to build links between schools and local business community, to support young people’s literacy and employability skills.

The Liverpool Echo has reported that statistics from the Government’s Early Years Foundation Stage Profile 2014 show that nearly of half of children in Liverpool are unable to communicate properly or count from one to 20 when they start primary school.


Author Serena Mackesy (Alex Marwood) addressed the plenary meeting of the European Observatory on Infringements of IP Rights where she was able to share first hand her experience of being pirated and the harm it causes. 


New draft guidance published by the Department for Education says that by seven years old, children should be expected to count to 100, use basic fractions and recite fairy tales and poems by heart.  This is part of a toughening up of primary school assessments in the three-Rs, reports The Telegraph.  Teachers will be expected to rate children’s performance on a new four-point scale after two years of compulsory schooling.  In reading, children should “fluently and effortlessly” access a range of texts, learn a “wide range of poetry by heart”, retell fairy stories and traditional tales, demonstrate tone and intonation when reading aloud and distinguish between statements of fact and opinion.

According to The Telegraph’s Globe Trotter supplement, the International Baccalaureate is increasing in popularity.  Figures from theInternational Baccalaureate Organisation show 3,925 schools worldwide are offering the IB this year, an increase of 37% over the last five years. 

Minister for School Reform, Nick Gibb MP, has confirmed his attendance at The PA /BESA Education Conference taking place on Thursday 20thNovember in central London.  The one-day conference takes place one term in to the teaching of the new national curriculum following a period of significant change in education policy.  Further details can be found here.    

And finally, the Alliance for Intellectual Property has revealed details of its ‘IP: The Big Debate’ event.  Taking place on Wednesday 3rd December representatives from the three main political parties and expert panellists will share their views on the future vision for IP policy over the next Parliament.   Philip Collins, Chief Leader Writer for The Times, will be in the chair and will be joined by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, Iain Wright MP, Shadow Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, Lord Clement-Jones Liberal Democrat Peer and Vice Chair, APPG Intellectual Property, Professor Lionel Bently, Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property, University of Cambridge and Andrew Orlowski Executive Editor of The Register.  To register email  

This week we have: met with Oliver Letwin MP, John Whittingdale MP, Laura Trott, and attended a strategy planning day with the Read On Get On coalition partners as well as the launch of the National Literacy Forum’s Vision for Literacy.

Next week we will be: delivering a keynote address at a Westminster Media Forum event on Prospects for books, publishing and libraries – digital strategies, revenue opportunities and policy priorities; meeting with Michael Dugher MP, Rt Hon David Blunkett MP, IP Kat Blogger Eleonora Rosati and the Society of Authors, as well as attending meetings of the Creative Industries’ Council and the Copyright Hub, and travelling to Salford for the BBC Learning Industry Day.