• In Focus

    International non-binary people’s day

    Non-binary people may feel that the traditional binary of man and woman does not comfortably reflect their own gender identity. International non-binary people’s day celebrates the identities of non-binary people and takes place on 14 July. This briefing explores some of the basic ideas around non-binary identities and concepts of sex and gender.

  • In Focus

    Antarctic Treaty: impact and relevance today

    The Antarctic Treaty is a framework for peaceful coexistence and scientific cooperation in the continent. It was ratified in 1961 by the 12 countries active in Antarctica at the time. 60 years since its ratification, the number of parties to the Antarctic Treaty has increased. However, the challenges facing the continent have also grown, including the threat of climate change to the continent’s ice sheet and the impact of tourism on local flora and fauna.

  • In Focus

    UK Windrush Day: update on the Windrush scheme

    Following the 70th anniversary celebrations in 2018, the Government announced a national Windrush Day on 22 June each year, to pay tribute to the Windrush generation and their descendants. In this article, we examine who the Windrush generation are and the various Windrush schemes implemented by the Government since acknowledging the unfair treatment of members of the Windrush generation.

  • In Focus

    Foreign languages: skills in the workforce

    Surveys consistently indicate just under two in three Britons are unable to hold a conversation in a language other than their mother tongue. A number of organisations have drawn attention to this so-called ‘language deficit’ and its impact on trade and employment. This article looks at calls to improve language skills in England in the context of the Government’s ambition for a ‘Global Britain’.

  • In Focus

    Foreign languages: primary and secondary schools

    Ofsted, which inspects schools in England, has said languages are in a “pressured position” in primary and secondary education. Schools in England face challenges around both the quality of language provision and the take-up of languages by students. The Government has proposed changes to language GCSE subject content and assessment, but some have criticised the content and timing of proposals.

  • In Focus

    Domestic abuse of older people

    Evidence suggests domestic abuse affects hundreds of thousands of older people in the UK every year. Reports since the first national lockdowns have also drawn attention to how the situation for many older victims has deteriorated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This article examines what constitutes ‘elder abuse’, as well as risk factors, prevalence rates, and government action.

  • In Focus

    Eating out and takeaways: calorie labelling regulations

    The Government has introduced draft regulations intended to require that large businesses such as restaurant chains display the calorie information of non-prepacked food and drink items prepared for immediate consumption. Ministers suggest the policy will deliver considerable benefits over the long term by reducing obesity and related demand on health services. However, the policy has been criticised by some in the hospitality industry and charities campaigning on behalf of those with eating disorders.

  • In Focus

    Early years and childcare fees regulations: regret motion

    The Early Years Foundation Stage (Miscellaneous Amendments) and Childcare Fees (Amendment) Regulations 2021 come into force on 1 September 2021. They introduce a reception baseline assessment (RBA) for children entering reception class; update the statutory framework that early years providers in England must follow; and continue certain annual registration fee arrangements. The House of Lords is set to debate a motion to regret the changes on the basis that introduction of the RBA should be delayed.

  • In Focus

    Merchant shipping: bilge water alarms

    The Government has introduced new regulations on the installation of bilge water alarms to merchant vessels of a certain size, to provide warning when the accumulation of bilge water threatens their buoyancy or safety. The regulations follow the sinking of the vessel ‘Abigail H’ in the Port of Heysham in 2008. The gap between that incident and the introduction of these measures has led to criticism that ministers have been too slow to act to prevent similar accidents happening again.

  • In Focus

    Education (Environment and Sustainable Citizenship) Bill [HL]

    Students are currently taught about climate change and the environment in several different subjects, for example science and geography. In September 2020, a report by the UK Climate Assembly included the recommendation that climate change should be made a compulsory subject in all schools. The Education (Environment and Sustainable Citizenship) Bill [HL] would make climate change and sustainable citizenship part of the national curriculum taught in maintained schools in England.

  • In Focus

    Elective home education: time for a compulsory register?

    Instances of parents choosing to educate their children at home, known as elective home education, are increasing. These increases have led to concern about the nature of education some children are receiving outside of school. Some groups have called for the Government to establish a mandatory register of all home educated children. This article will look at the issue of elective home education in England in more detail, and explain the Government’s current position on a compulsory register.

  • In Focus

    Renewing the UK’s trading relationship with Commonwealth countries

    The Commonwealth comprises 54 countries who share a voluntary association. Member states have a combined population of 2.4 billion people and a gross domestic product estimated to have reached US$13 trillion in 2020. Commonwealth heads of government have set an ambition to increase intra-Commonwealth trade to US$2 trillion by 2030. Post-Brexit, the UK Government is pursuing free trade agreements with Commonwealth partners as part of its independent trade policy.

  • In Focus

    Women’s health outcomes: Is there a gender gap?

    On 8 July 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate the steps taken to improve women’s health outcomes. Research has found a gender health gap in the UK where many women receive poorer healthcare than men. This article examines some of the healthcare challenges women face, why they exist and what action the Government is taking to tackle the issue.