This is the 65 of a series of bulletins produced by ISE to update members on key data and policy relating to Covid-19. This bulletin covers the period 15 October – 28 October 2021.
You can access all of the Covid-19 bulletins on ISE insights.
Latest COVID-19 data and news
Source: Government Covid-19 dashboard
Please note – October figures in the top graph only currently include data until 22/10/21 for hospital admissions and 26/10/21 for cases and deaths. In addition, the average daily hospital admission rate for the most recent week in the second graph is based on data from 18/10/21 – 22/10/21..
The UK has now had almost 8.9m identified Covid-19 cases and 163,515 deaths (with Covid on the death certificate) in total. A steady increase in cases and hospitalisations can be observed over the last 6 weeks. There is not as apparent a trend for deaths, however figures in the most recent week had returned to the higher levels of late September following a few weeks of decreased rates.
Source: Government Covid-19 dashboard
79.3% of the 12+ UK population are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, with another 7.2% having had one dose. 13.5% remain unvaccinated. 6.4m ‘booster’ third doses have also been given.
- Pressure is building for the government to implement Plan B (mandatory mask wearing, working from home and vaccine passports) following the rise in cases, with the case rate among over-60s the highest since January. However, modelling from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggests infection rates could soon drop.
- ONS research suggests only 7% of university students are unvaccinated.
- MPs urge Education Secretary to stop plans to get rid of most BTECs claiming that many young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, will be left without suitable pathways post-GCSE.
- 4 in 10 pupils leaving school without vital Level 3 qualifications.
- International students struggling to get work experience in the UK and feel that careers and employability support is targeted at British students.
- Students urging academics to boycott strike ballots to avoid more disruption to their teaching.
- Government considering plans to limit students on ‘lower-earning’ arts degrees to rein in student loan debt.
Rishi Sunak delivered the Autumn Budget on 27 October. Some key points relating to the economy, education and employment were:
- Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts 4% inflation for next year.
- The economy is expected to grow by 6.5% this year, but won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until early 2022.
- Unemployment expected to peak at 5.2%, down from last year’s forecasts of 12%.
- Borrowing in the current financial year will be 7.9% of GDP, falling to 3.3% next year.
- Departmental spending to increase by £
- National living wage will increase from £91 to £9.50 an hour from April
- Schools funding to increase by £1500 per pupil, returning to 2010 levels.
- 30,000 special school places to be created.
- Almost £5bn allocated to catch up funding following the disruption to education during the pandemic.
- Spending on skills and training increased by £8bn.
- UK-wide numeracy service, Multiply, to be launched.
Experts have reacted to these announcements and explain the potential impacts.
The Office for Budget Responsibility published their October Economic and Fiscal Outlook here.
- Hospitality sector calls for Covid Recovery Visa for overseas workers as 92% of firms report difficulties.
- Inability to recruit production and engineering roles despite raising wages.
- Medical Schools Council claims that the NHS will ‘grind to a halt’ without 5,000 extra medical students.
- Scottish Space Strategy expected to create 20,000 jobs and have £4bn share of global space market.
- Councils can offer local solutions to climate crisis by reskilling staff and creating apprenticeship schemes to generate clean energy and insulate housing.
Student recruitment and development
- Mary Curnock Cook explains the work of the UPP Foundation Student Futures Commission and stresses the need to boost student confidence in graduate employment – Register for ISE webinar Successful Futures for Students on 4th November here.
- Results from the September ISE poll indicate that the vast majority of careers events and services are still being run virtually.
- Welsh government launching drive to retain young people due to worries about the impact that low levels of working-age citizens would have on the economy.
- CIPD encourages government to allow EU citizens to apply for a youth mobility visa to address the labour supply challenges.
- Career Development Policy Group claims everyone in England should be able to access lifelong career guidance, as youth unemployment grows.