DCMSDo they really think teachers have 5 hours spare a week? - A new £25m 'Find Your Talent' scheme, part of the Government's ambition to give young people the chance to experience high quality arts & culture, has been announced by Culture Secretary Andy Burnham and Children's Minister Ed Balls.

It will be accompanied by a £110m investment in the 'Creative Partnerships' scheme which allows children and young people in schools to work with creative professionals such as artists, writers and actors.  The moves are part of the Government's drive to unlock the creative talent of all young people.

The 'Find Your Talent' programme will be piloted in ten areas around the country and it is intended to give young people the chance to discover & develop their talents with the intention, ultimately, to offer children five hours of arts and culture a week, in & outside of the school day.

The Government is also announcing the SHINE Festival which will run from 30 June to 4 July this summer.
Press release ~ Find Your Talent programme ~    Creative Partnerships from Arts Council England ~ SHINE Festival ~ ITN - Plans for more 'culture' in schools - video ~ Culture and Schools East - Case studies ~ Art Education and Teaching Art ~ Scotland's Culture: celebrating Scotland in Scottish schools

HCWould you put up with it for their salary? - More than half of nurses on mental health wards report being physically assaulted at work and the figure rises to almost three-quarters for mental health nurses working on wards for patients with disorders such as dementia.  The findings come in the second national audit of violence in mental health services conducted on behalf of the Healthcare Commission by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

The Commission and the Royal College joined forces to highlight the high levels of violence on mental health wards, saying the impact on staff and patient can be ‘constant and intolerable’.  Improvements have been made to the way violence is managed on wards for people of working age, but more improvements were needed, particularly on wards for older people, where physical environments, activities for patients, training and staffing levels were particularly poor.

Dr Paul Lelliott from the Royal College of Psychiatrists commented: “Those working on psychiatric wards, and in particular the nurses, are the unsung heroes of mental healthcare.  Their every working day is a challenge and this audit once again highlights the danger to their personal safety.  Despite this, ward staff continue to provide care to the most severely ill people in a professional and compassionate manner".
Press release ~ National audit of violence in mental health services ~ 2005 NICE Guideline - The short-term management of disturbed/violent behaviour in psychiatric in-patient settings and emergency departments ~ BBC News: Violence costs NHS '£100m a year' ~ NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service ~ National survey of NHS staff 2006 ~ Breaking down barriers - the clinical case for change ~ DH – Mental Health ~ Welcome to the MHNA ~ From values to action: The Chief Nursing Officer's review of mental health nursing ~ Impact of dementia in the UK - Alzheimer's Society ~ How do you cope with dementia? ~ Choices in Mental Health ~ Mind: Understanding mental illness

DIUSEasier said than done - Bill Rammell, Minister for Further and Higher Education has announced that Colleges have a responsibility to foster our shared values and protect their students & staff from those who wish to intimidate and promote violence.

The proposals are part of a consultation (closes on 6 May 2008) on the role of Further Education (FE) colleges in promoting community cohesion, fostering shared values & preventing violent extremism and they mirror the updated guidance issued to Higher Education institutions last month.  The Government's assessment is that the biggest current threat the UK faces is from Al Qa'ida-influenced terrorism and that the threat in FE Colleges is serious but not widespread.
Press release ~ The role of further education providers in promoting community cohesion, fostering shared values and preventing violent extremism: consultation document' ~ Community Cohesion Consultation Events ~ Reply online ~ Association of Colleges ~ Updated guidance to Higher Education institutions ~ Q&A: Campus extremism - the new guidance - EducationGuardian.co.uk ~ Bill Rammell’s lecture on Academic Freedom at the Fabian Society on 27 November 2007

BNSCA new mission to return to space - New proposals for the UK's future involvement in an increasingly competitive international space sector have been published in the UK Civil Space Strategy: 2008 - 2012 and beyond.  With the space sector currently contributing approximately £7bn to the UK economy, Science and Innovation Minister Ian Pearson announced how the UK would continue to be at the ‘forefront’ of this expanding sector, including:
* Continued UK involvement in Earth observation, space science and telecoms developments
* Closer involvement in international initiatives on the future shape of space exploration
* Setting up a National Space Technology Programme
* Establishing an international space facility to focus on climate change, robotic space exploration & applications

The British National Space Centre, which co-ordinates the UK's civil space activities, will now provide the leadership to take forward the strategy by undertaking a study of programme options drawing on the findings of the 2007 UK Space Exploration Working Group, taking into account the scientific, technological and economic costs & benefits, and UK's existing strengths in robotic exploration.
Press release ~ UK Civil Space Strategy: 2008 - 2012 and beyond ~ British National Space Centre (BNSC) ~ European Space Agency ~ 2007 Working group report, the collective conclusions of the four groups and full list of recommendations ~ The Science and Technology Facilities Council ~ Global Exploration Strategy ~ UK Space Board ~ UK goes to the PLANETS ~ BBC: Science & Nature - Space ~ Free space flight simulator ~ Space Newsfeed ~ ESA - Galileo ~ European Space Agency's (ESA) Aurora space exploration programme ~ NASA

NEVolunteers jump into action - To help save England’s frogs, toads and newts amateur amphibian aficionados from across the country are being trained to track a potentially deadly disease that could have a devastating effect on amphibians. 

Natural England, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and the Herpetological Conservation Trust have enlisted scores of volunteers to help assess the potential impact of this disease.  The project, which is the first of its kind in Europe, galvanises action on this newly discovered fungal disease, which has already been found in a few ponds in Cumbria and Kent.

Frog specialists in other parts of the world have been saddened to see their amphibians disappear after infection by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which causes the disease chytridiomycosis.  However scientists here need to know whether the disease is more widespread and whether it is actually having an impact on our amphibians.

The project will involve a nationwide survey, targeted research in areas where the fungus has been found and developing advice on precautions for amphibian workers. So far the fungus has been found at six sites in Cumbria and two in Kent, though to date the amphibians there are persisting.
Press release ~ Natural England ~ Zoological Society of London ~ Amphibians in your garden: your questions answered ~ Amphibian fungal disease: Natural England information note ~ Herpetological Conservation Trust ~ Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK

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