Friday Five: election recommendations, online exploitation, financial education, mental health support, skills


31st May 2024

1. Sutton Trust sets out children and young people-focused policy recommendations for the next government

The Sutton Trust has published its ‘roadmap’ for the next government – a set of ‘evidence backed and costed’ recommendations that span early years, school, higher education, apprenticeships, and workplace access policy. Headline recommendations include:

  • Equal access to 20 hours of early education provision for three and four year olds
  • Reform of the Early Years Pupil Premium with an increase to the same level as primary schools
  • A rebalance of school funding towards schools serving disadvantaged communities
  • Curriculum reform with more focus on life skills
  • Growth in the number of apprenticeships
  • More extensive use of contextual offers by universities and an increase in maintenance support for young people
  • A ban on unpaid internships of over four weeks

Read the full set of recommendations here.

2. 300 million children worldwide are victims of online sexual exploitation, study finds

A new study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh have found that more than 300m children worldwide are victims of online sexual exploitation and abuse. This staggering figure amounts to roughly 12.6% of the world’s children. As part of the research, the university launched a new Childlight initiative which includes a global index to better understand the prevalence of child abuse. Surveys as part of the research found that 7% of British men, roughly 1.8 million people, admitted to online offending against children at some point.

Read more here.

3. House of Commons Education Committee publishes report on financial education

Ten years after financial education was made a compulsory part of the national curriculum in England, the Education Committee has published the results of its inquiry into the current state of financial education in schools and colleges. The report’s principal finding is that while there are plenty of examples of individual good practice, general financial education, particularly in primary schools, is insufficient. Financial education should begin earlier, and should have more dedicated teaching time.  Other notable findings are that Ofsted is not adequately assessing financial education, and that initial teacher training on financial education is insufficient.

Read the full report here.

4.Over 300,00 children are waiting for mental health support, Lib Dem report finds

New research by the House of Commons Library and published by the Liberal Democrats has found that more than 330,000 children are waiting to receive mental health support – with waiting times in some areas of over a year. The research found that the average time children are waiting for their ‘second contact’ with mental health services is 187 days. However, in Buckinghamshire, children are waiting for an average of 375 days, and as many as 444 days in St Helens.

Read more here.

5. The Learning and Work Institute publishes research into the UK’s skills divide

New research by the Learning and Work Institute into the UK’s skills divide paints a picture of a landscape defined by inequality. Headline findings are that by 2035, one third of 16-64-year-olds in the UK will only have a GCSE or equivalent qualification at most, over the last decade adults have gained seven million fewer qualifications than 2010/11 levels, and that employers are investing 26% less per employee in training. 

The scale of the UK’s skills divide is familiar to us at CfEY. In partnership with Policy Connect, we recently published work into reforming Higher Technical Qualifications (HTQs) to reshape England’s apprenticeship and further education provision.

L&W’s research is here; our work on HTQs is here.

That’s all for this week! If you found this blog useful, please be sure to share/tweet it and follow @theCfEY, @Barristotle, and @conorcarleton for future editions.