Instagram launches live test of fan subscriptions

  • Instagram has launched an initial test of its new ‘Subscriptions’ option, which will give creators a further monetization avenue.
  • This aims to incentivise creators to keep posting their content to Instagram, rather than being attracted to TikTok or YouTube instead.
  • The option is currently in limited testing, with only a handful of prominent creators in the app having access – these users now have a ‘Subscribe’ button on their profile.
  • Parent company Meta says that it won’t be taking in any cut of the fees from fan subscriptions until at least 2023.
  • Full story, here.

Google aims to improve enforcement of children’s ads policy

  • Google is aiming to improve enforcement of age-sensitive ad policy after ads for sex toys, alcohol and high-risk investments were found in its search engine.
  • These should have been blocked under Google’s efforts to comply with new UK regulations.
  • Google’s efforts to respond to these regulations include using automated tools to stop ads related to alcohol, gambling and prescriptions drugs being shown to users not logged into a Google account or confirmed to be 18 and above.
  • To configure your safety settings on Google, use our Safety Centre
  • Full story, here.

Free school meal eligibility changes could skew attainment gap data

  • Transitional arrangements to smooth the roll out of Universal Credit has significantly increased the number of pupils eligible for free school meals.
  • This has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with around 300,000 pupils in England becoming eligible for free school meals during this period.
  • A new report by the National Foundation of Education Research (NFER) has warned that this change in the makeup of the disadvantaged group will make it ‘almost impossible’ to track the attainment of disadvantaged pupils for the next decade.
  • Read the NFER report,
  • Full story, here.

Child abuse prosecutions down 50 per cent

  • Prosecutions and convictions for child sexual abuse have fallen by around 50% in four years.
  • Figures obtained by the NSPCC have revealed that the total number of prosecutions in England and Wales fell steadily between 2020 and 2021 by 52%.
  • Additional figures given by the charity to the Ministry of Justice showed that cases were also taking longer to resolve.
  • The average number of days from offence to completion went from 526 in 2017/18 to 668 days in 2020/21.
  • Full story, here.

Police warn about rise in recent scams

  • Police have urged members of the public to talk to older family members following a rise in phishing texts, phone calls and WhatsApp messages.
  • The scams involve texts from a person claiming to be a family member and the scammer’s aim is to get the recipient to transfer money.
  • The PSNI have said that this scam could be used to target older people.
  • Full story, here.

Bill on flexible school starting age to be fast tracked through Stormont

  • Stormont’s Education Committee has agreed to recommend accelerated passage for a bill that will make changes to the school starting age.
  • The legislation will introduce more flexibility to allow parents of children born between April and July 1 to opt to start school in the September following their fifth birthday.
  • The new legislation will allow younger children to benefit from an extra year in pre-school and will also have a big effect on children born prematurely, allowing them more time to develop the skills needed for school.
  • Full story, here.

300 schools at risk under plan to streamline education in NI

  • The Education Authority (EA) has published a paper on a five-year area plan, which will go out for public consultation until April 12.
  • The Department of Education recommends that the minimum number of pupils in a school should be 500.
  • The proposals laid out mean that 228 primary schools and 54 post-primary schools fall below this minimum threshold.
  • The EA plan also looks at the structure of special schools and said there would be a need for 2,000 additional places for pupils by 2030, meaning more schools may need to be built.
  • Full story, here.