DCMS: Do 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.
HC: Would 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".
DIUS: Easier 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.
BNSC: A 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.
NE: Volunteers 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.
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