HO: Three strikes and it’s ‘Go to Jail’ - People caught carrying cannabis for a second time could now face an on-the-spot fine of £80 instead of a warning. This was announced alongside a Parliamentary Order laid to reclassify the drug to Class B from 26 January 2009.
Under Penalty Notice for Disorder proposals, which the Ministry of Justice will shortly consult on, those caught with cannabis on a first occasion could still get a cannabis warning, but on a second occasion are likely face a fine of £80 and arrest if caught for a third time.
Alongside this, the Government also published its response to 21 recommendations made by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). In accepting 20 of the ACMD's recommendations in its Report - Cannabis: Classification and Public Health, the Government has committed to taking forward work across a range of Departments.
HEFCE: Worldwide e-access to good teaching materials - The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has announced an initial £5.7m of funding for pilot projects that will open up existing high-quality education resources from higher education institutions to the world.
The Higher Education Academy and Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) will work in partnership to deliver the 12-month pilot projects. These will run at institutional, subject and individual level along with accompanying support services. The projects will be formally launched in April 2009.
Open educational resources could include full courses, course materials, complete modules, notes, videos, assessments, tests, simulations, worked examples, software and any other tools or materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge. These resources will be released under an intellectual property license that permits open use & adaptation. Invitations to tender will be sent out in December 2008 from both HEA and JISC.
STFC: Making science education interesting - A unique new scheme to use the excitement of space to teach science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in specialist secondary schools in England has been over-subscribed. 30 ‘space schools’ across the country are taking part in the two year ‘Leading Space Education Programme’ funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and run by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT).
The 30 selected schools will be using ‘Space’ as a theme to develop lessons and for cross-subject collaboration, learning resources and enrichment activities, with the aim of enthusing their students about science. For example they will:
* have access to existing resources from STFC, NASA and ESA education programmes
* use space education to enrich the teaching & learning of STEM subjects & skills across the curriculum
* create innovative space activities, such as space clubs that involve parents and the wider community
* support primary & secondary teachers with using space education through developing pedagogy and providing resources
* partner with the space industry and higher education to enliven space education
They will then share their experience with local secondary schools and feeder primary schools. In return schools will receive support, resources and opportunities to meet with & visit those working in space research and industry.
Ofsted: Ensuring every child has a chance to be educated - A shared commitment by school staff to helping pupils succeed and robust monitoring of pupils’ academic, personal & social progress are among the keys to re-engaging pupils who have become uninterested or de-motivated, according to the latest survey - Reengaging disaffected & reluctant learners in secondary schools - from Ofsted.
Other key factors include:
* the support of teaching assistants
* regular & effective communication with parents & students
* high quality, flexible curricula
WAG: WAG reacts to counter depression - A £35m scheme to help people facing redundancy has been announced by the Welsh Assembly Government. The ReAct programme is intended to help over 12,000 redundant workers gain new employment or training and is made possible with over £15m from the European Social Fund, which is managed by WAG.
As part of a package of measures provided by ReAct, redundant workers will receive a training grant designed to replace outdated skills with those sought by prospective employers. The new scheme will also help to remove barriers to training such as travel and accommodation costs.
Over 1,000 employers will be encouraged to recruit redundant workers with a £2,000 wage subsidy – and will also receive grant support to enable their employees to undertake training to equip them with the skills they need for their new job.
CLG: Where to find the glue to bind us together - The government has welcomed the launch of an interactive dedicated website, developed by the Institute of Community Cohesion (ICoCo), giving help & guidance on creating strong, cohesive communities. Aimed at practitioners, policy-makers and other organisations from a whole range of sectors, the website is intended to provide a continuously updated bank of cohesion resources, including toolkits, links & briefings on key issues.
It builds on the Government’s work following recommendations made by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion in their report - Our Shared Future - and will underpin the Cohesion Delivery Framework overview document launched in the summer. Future stages in the portal’s development will follow, including forums for users to have private & shared discussions and pages to share information
ACE: Start your own art collection - Last week saw the launch of My Own Art Collection – a new website which will enable people to design & curate a ‘virtual collection’ featuring real works of art supplied by Own Art member galleries from across the country.
My Own Art Collection aims to highlight that contemporary art can be accessible & affordable for all, with 9 ‘home hosts’ - all of whom are new to the idea of owning art - hosting work from local galleries that offer Own Art, the Arts Council England’s interest free loan scheme, that offers people a loan of up to £2,000 to buy contemporary art.
The website invites people to design & curate a room of their own by choosing from a catalogue of over 150 art works currently available from Own Art member galleries - all with a price tag of under £2,000. Online ‘collectors’ can then submit their ‘room’ to the Arts Council for the chance to win £500 to buy a real piece of art for their home, plus the advice of a specialist arts advisor, courtesy of the Contemporary Art Society, the UK’s leading independent authority on contemporary collecting.
Forthcoming Event(s): Infrared marks the spot - Despite what gardeners say, weeds don’t grow everywhere if you can stop them before they spread and Complete Weed Control are hitting the road with dates & venues for Britain’s first series of half-day roadshows to highlight the benefits of spot weeding using infrared technology.
The FREE roadshows will discuss how state-of-the-art infrared guidance on the Weed-IT tractor-mounted sprayer can deliver heightened sensitivity to restrict pesticide application only to where it’s needed – on the weeds, rather than on hard surfaces - and without drift (The volume of chemical applied on average per kilometre, for Cardiff Council, has plummeted to just 300ml).
Parks and highways managers will hear about CWC’s 5-point strategy for pesticides reduction, the EU thematic strategy, pesticides reduction programmes and news the methods that CWC employs to control Japanese Knotweed, now seen as enemy number one among UK invasive species.
For information on other forthcoming public sector events please click HERE to visit the WGPlus Events Calendar
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