DfE:  A victory for the rights of teachers and 99.9% of the pupils? - New rules published recently will put an end to excluded pupils winning the right to come back to school against the headteacher’s wishes

Coming into force from September 2012, the new regulations will apply to maintained schools, academies & pupil referral units.  The changes were legislated through the 2011 Education Act and the Department for Education will shortly be publishing revised guidance supporting the new system for exclusions.

Currently when a headteacher excludes a child from school, the school can be forced by an appeals panel to re-admit that child.  This can lead to a disruptive child continuing to damage their own education as well as that of others – as well as undermining the headteacher’s authority.

Under the new system, headteachers will have the power to exclude a child ‘as long as the decision is legal, reasonable & fair’.  If the new review panels believe this has not been the case, they will be able to require schools to revisit their decision.  They will not be able to force the school to take back the child

The new exclusions system will also provide additional safeguards for pupils with SEN, in particular through the introduction of the role of SEN experts to advise independent review panels.
Press release & links ~ DfE: Exclusion ~ Supporting children with challenging behaviour through a nurture group approach ~ Ofsted: additional links ~ Human Rights Committee calls for restrictions on pupil searches ~ DfE:  ‘Education, Education, Education’, replaced by ‘Back to locally based basics’?  (6th item)  ~ Civitas: A New Secret Garden? Alternative Provision, Exclusion and Children's Rights ~ Demos: Ex Curricula ~ Directgov: School Discipline & Exclusion ~ Steer report on behaviour and DCSF response

NHS ConfedA bed is just their first need - A joint report by the NHS Confederation Mental Health network and homeless charity St Mungo's makes the case for improving support & care for homeless people.  The issue will be all the more important as the economic outlook continues to be bleak.   Rough sleeper numbers have risen by 23% nationally since 2010 to 2,200 and many thousands more are staying in shelters, homeless hostels or other temporary accommodation. 

Mental ill health is a major contributing factor in making people homeless and can also be a consequence of being homeless.  Up to 70% of people who use homelessness services have a mental health problem.  Alcohol & substance abuse, relationship breakdowns, bereavements and periods spent in prison are also common.  These issues are compounded by low educational levels and poor physical health.

Homeless people require more flexible models of care to help tackle a range of needs.  These models can include providing outreach services directly to homeless people where they live & stay, and working with other specialist homeless support.
Press release ~ Mental health and homelessness: planning & delivering mental health services for homeless people ~ NHS Confederation Mental Health network ~ St Mungo's ~ HL: Improving the health of homeless people ~ HL: 100 Days To Go: Rough Sleeping and the Olympics ~ HL: Other related links ~ DH:  For some the real problems start after the ‘safe’ return home ~ NHS Confed: There is a need for change in the NHS (4th item) ~ ESRC:  It is not as hopeless as one may think to help the homeless (4th item) ~ Grant Shapps: Over half of London's rough sleepers now non-UK nationals ~ The Mind guide to housing and mental health ~ Understanding Homelessness & mental health ~ The Mental Health Needs of Homeless Young People ~ Guide to models of delivering health services to homeless people ~ NO: Homelessness: how councils can ensure justice for homeless people,

Civitas:  Will we end up a green country with no industry, no jobs and flat broke? - Recently, Nick Clegg derided claims that environmental legislation was holding back industrial recovery as 'utterly wrong'.  But a new Civitas report ('The closure of the Lynemouth aluminium smelter') claims that, in fact, the UK's draconian energy policy is causing the collapse of a successful British industry.

In 2008, production of aluminium was an industry with an annual turnover of £3bn and a 20,000-strong workforce.  Today, it is a shadow of its former self. The report charts the steady erosion of the British primary aluminium business as UK energy prices have risen unilaterally and 2 of the 3 British smelters have closed.

The most damaging of all additional energy costs are those that are imposed unilaterally.  These are the costs that British energy-intensive industries pay that their rivals in other countries do not.  

With the addition of the most recent of these, the carbon price floor, total UK electricity costs in 2013 will be raised by 24% for energy-intensive sectors.  By contrast, German energy-intensive businesses will only be paying 16% extra through government-added costs in the same period.
Press release & links ~ Defra:  First World ‘greening’ can often come at great cost to the environment of the Third World (2nd item) ~ Government mis-selling green economy as job creator ~ CBI calls for action to support industries vital for tackling climate change ~ Protecting the UK’s foundations: a blueprint for energy-intensive industries ~ North Eastern industry to be decimated - and for what? ~ Enabling the transition to a green economy: Government and Businesses working together’ ~ The Telegraph: Protecting the UK’s foundations: a blueprint for energy-intensive industries

WAGA helping hand can save the state a fortune - Care & Repair services across Wales have been awarded £4.67m funding from the Welsh Government to help older people to remain in their own homes.  The service helps older people to repair, improve & adapt their homes to enable them to continue living comfortably and independently by offering a range of services.
Press release & links ~ Care & Repair Cymru ~ www.careandrepair-england.org.uk/ ~ CLG: Handypersons documents ~ www.careandrepairscotland.co.uk/ ~ Newswire – LGA:  A cheaper (but effective alternative) to personal care (2nd item)

MOSunny weather for one lucky charity - The Met Office is asking for applications from charities to become their new Corporate Charity for the next 3 years.  The 3 year tenure of ShelterBox as their Corporate Charity is due to end in June 2012 so they are beginning the process to choose the next one. The deadline for nominations will be 4 May 2012.
Press release & links

EU NewsDespite 3 years of surpluses they insist on repeating Oliver Twist’s most memorable line again - The €123bn EU budget for 2011 shows a 1% surplus (€1.49bn).
Press release & links ~ EU News: Forget budget increase demands, EU finds €82bn down back of the sofa (5th item) ~ Budget 2013: Parliament reiterates payments shortfall worries ~ EU budget for 2012 approved by Parliament

HMRCIt's not just death & taxes that are 'certain' but penalties as well - Anyone whose Self Assessment return is more than 3 months late will now be charged a further £10 penalty for each day it remains outstanding, up to a maximum of 90 days.  This is on top of the £100 late-filing penalty they have already received. Further penalties of at least £300 (or 5% of the tax due, if that is more) will be issued for returns that are 6 & 12 months late.
Press release & links

MoDNo excuse for not buying that present, even under the ocean - Members of the Armed Forces stationed overseas will enjoy the same access to online goods & services as they do at home in the UK thanks to the introduction of new online postcodes this month  

The postcodes will help everyone serving overseas, including those aboard Her Majesty's ships & submarines, and their families, by improving access to products & services on the internet, as proposed in the Armed Forces Covenant.  It will also help personnel maintain a UK credit history recognised by financial service providers.
Press release & links

BIG:  Definitely a good cause! - A Ballymena group providing vital support for people living with brain injuries & their carers has been awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.   Headway Ballymena is one of 73 groups across Northern Ireland that have been awarded grants totalling over £564,137 from the Awards For All programme.
Press release & links

Disposal Services Authority: Asset Management in the Public Sector – Free Seminar, Manchester, 24th May 2012 - ** FREE Enrolment for Public Sector delegates only - If items are not correctly identified as assets they are, by virtue, deemed as waste. Assets are often classed as waste due to space and time constraints within organisations. So, in practical terms, the selling (of an asset) often ends up as a cost, as most organisations buy in the services of a contractor for its assets disposals.

The MoD’s Disposal Services Authority (DSA) is the expert in maximising returns for the sale of public sector assets, whilst ensuring a compliant, secure and audited process.

The DSA is the only government organisation offering a completely managed service for the re-use, recycling and ultimate disposal of surplus Government and Public Sector assets.

What's on the Agenda?

Topics covered in this free seminar include:
  • Identifying assets from waste
  • Compliance and Security
  • Audit
  • Sustainability through procurement
Click below to find out more and to register.

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