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August 29, 2023

Tech firms to comply with EU Digital Services Act

  • Whilst the UK Online Safety Bill makes its way through parliament, the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) became law on 16 November 2022.
  • Tech companies such as Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram were given time to ensure their systems complied with these new rules which have been put into place to protect children and stop election interference.
  • The DSA notes extra requirements for very large platforms and search engines, such as assessing potential risks, reporting their risk assessment outcomes and employing effective measures to deal with issues.
  • Companies must also share details with regulators on how their algorithms work.
  • Smaller tech companies won’t have to comply until next year.
  • Breaches could lead to a fine of up to 6% total turnover and a potential suspension of services.
  • In blog posts and statements, many have stated their efforts in complying with the new regulations.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

School uniforms: Parents in Northern Ireland call for more help with costs

  • A mother has argued there should be more financial support available to help parents with costs.
  • It comes after school uniform grants in Northern Ireland lag behind the rest of the UK.
  • Janet Ward has two children and spent around £500 on school uniforms and stationery on their supplies for back to school.
  • Janet argues that “No kid should have a £500 piece of kit to go to school”.
  • A UK-wide report from The Children’s Society claims parents spend around £422 a year on secondary school uniforms, and £287 on primary school uniforms.
  • In NI, some families qualify for one-off payments to help buy school uniforms.
  • The rates for the 2023/24 school year are: £42.90 for primary school pupils; £61.20 for secondary school pupils under 15 and £67.20 for secondary school pupils aged 15 and over.
  • An additional payment of £26.40 is available for secondary school pupils to help with the cost of PE kits.
  • There are no grants available for nursery or reception children.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Fall in number of top GCSE grades awarded in NI

  • There has been a decrease in the number of top GCSE grades awarded in Northern Ireland (NI) compared to the previous academic year.
  • Grades A* and A were awarded to around 34.5% if GCSE entries in 2023, compared to around 37% in 2022.
  • Some 86% of GCSE entries in NI were awarded grade C or above in 2023, compared to 90% in 2022.
  • Results in NI are again higher than those in England and Wales.
  • The GCSE data for 2023 also shows that girls outperformed boys in Northern Ireland in achieving top grades.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

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