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. 

Met Police office admits sending sexual messages on snapchat

  • A Met Police officer has admitted to sending sexual Snapchat and Discord messages to a 15-year-old boy.
  • PC Will Scott-Barrett pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual communication with a child and will be sentenced on 28 February.
  • The messages included graphic sexual pictures and videos.
  • The officer was off duty at the time of the offence; however, the Met have said a misconduct hearing can now be held.
  • Full story, here.


100,000 pupils absent from schools in England

  • An inquiry is being launched into finding children who have not been attending school following the national lockdowns.
  • Rachel de Souza, Children’s Commissioner for England, has said that between 80,000 and 100,000 children were not on any school rolls at all.
  • Although some absences can be explained by illness and COVID-19, de Souza said other children had simply failed to return to the classroom following closures during the pandemic.
  • De Souza has written to local authorities and safeguarding boards across England and has received commitment from the Education Secretary, Nadhim Zahazi, that a database would be created to see attendance data in real-time.
  • Full story, here.


Face masks rules to be relaxed

  • Boris Johnson has announced that England’s Plan B measures are to end from next Thursday, the 27th of January.
  • The restrictions ending include the wearing of face coverings in public places, the advice for people to work from home and the use of COVID-19 certification.
  • Geoff Barten, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has welcomed the end of face coverings within the classroom but expressed concern that the government risked giving the impression the crisis was over.
  • Similarly, school leaders’ unions said Covid remained a challenge for schools, with high numbers of staff and pupils absent.
  • Full story, here.