NA: Files uncovered at The National Archives shed new light on the hardships some women endured in their fight for the vote 100 years ago. The two Home Office files date from late 1909, but only came to light during a recent cataloguing project. They relate to the arrest of 9 suffragettes and their subsequent imprisonment in Winson Green Prison, Birmingham.
The arrested women, who included Mary Leigh and Charlotte Marsh, were the first suffragettes to be subjected to force-feeding after going on hunger strike - a practice which had gained popularity among the suffragette movement earlier that year. The files also contain medical opinions on force-feeding - which continued to be used until the outbreak of the First World War - along with signed letters from Emmeline & Christabel Pankhurst and various petitions.
Press release ~ National Archives ~ Education Service Workshops | Suffragettes: Law-makers or law breakers?
BIS: Young people will now be able to study for brand-new qualifications inenterprise & entrepreneurship as the National Enterprise Academy (NEA), brainchild of Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Peter Jones (and backed by Government), which officially opened last week.
The NEA, the first-ever UK educational institution dedicated solely to enterprise & entrepreneurship, will pioneer a new & innovative way of teaching. It will expose students to real-life business issues in real-life business environments, with a high level of input from a range of entrepreneurs acting as mentors, supporting trained tutors.
The 2 new qualifications have a strong focus on practical skills. The first, a level 2 BTEC Diploma in Understanding Enterprise & Entrepreneurship, and the second, a level 3 BTEC Diploma in Enterprise & Entrepreneurship, have been developed in partnership with Edexcel. Both will be available to 16 to 19-year-olds from September 2009 at the NEA’s enterprise centres in Buckinghamshire & Manchester. The qualifications will also be integrated into diplomas.
Press release ~ National Enterprise Academy (NEA) ~ National Skills Academy Network ~ Peter Jones Foundation - NEA
DSA: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has has joined YouTube to publish official road safety videos on the world’s largest video sharing service. Visitors to the DSA channel can embed video content directly into their own websites or blogs, put it into forums, share it by email, and even link to it through social networking sites such as Facebook.
The channel – youtube.com/dsagov – is being used to post road safety videos which offer advice to test candidates and other road users. Content so far includes videos of the modular motorcycle test and the Are You Ready? films for car & motorcycle candidates. During testing, it was viewed more than 42,000 times by users. There is also an example of the new case study questions being introduced into the theory test from 28 September 2009.
VSO: VSO supporters, would-be volunteers & fans of Papua New Guinea should tune in to Charley Boorman Sydney to Tokyo: By Any Means this autumn on BBC2 to see Charley getting a taste of life as a VSO volunteer. He visited Marcel Pool, a VSO volunteer physiotherapist working in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea, as part of his journey for the second series of By Any Means.
Charley accompanied Marcel on a field trip to the Mount Sion community based rehabilitation unit to see his work training and supporting Papua New Guinean community volunteers. Marcel is helping these volunteers understands the issues of disability & training them in basic rehabilitation skills.
As a VSO volunteer you are provided with flights, accommodation and an allowance to cover basic costs. UK public sector professionals volunteering for between 6 months & 2 years are entitled to claim pension contributions providing they return to the public sector for a minimum of 6 months on their return to the UK.
OS: The lost princess of Wales, Gwenllian, daughter of Prince Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, was ‘reunited’ with her family last weekend when a north Wales peak was officially renamed in her memory - the result of a long campaign by the Princess Gwenllian Society. Carnedd Uchaf, as the peak is currently named, will be known as Carnedd Gwenllian, with the change being officially marked on Ordnance Survey maps from January 2010. This ‘reunites’ Gwenllian with her father, uncle & mother, after whom other mountains in the area are named.
Princess Gwenllian, born in June 1282, was daughter to Llywelyn, the last ruling Prince of Wales. Llywelyn was killed in December the same year, shortly before the whole of Wales came under the control of Edward I. Gwenllian, as heir to the Welsh throne, was snatched from her home and taken to the Abbey at Sempringham, Lincolnshire, where she was held for the rest of her life, dying in 1337 aged 54.
While Ordnance Survey does not have the authority to alter place names itself, it has agreed to put Gwenllian on the map following consultation with all the parties involved, including the Snowdonia National Park Authority, the National Trust, local authorities and emergency services.
Directgov: Directgov has announced major improvements to their Blue Badge map to help disabled people travel across the UK more easily. Disabled football fans can now use the map to find out about a stadium’s accessibility before going to games. Its also good news for train travellers too, as the new rail map gives information about more than 2,000 train stations. This means disabled people can find out about station facilities and can book direct assistance in advance.
The Blue Badge scheme provides a national range of parking concessions for disabled people with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport.
Press release ~ Directgov – Blue Badge Map ~ Office for Disability Issues ~ National Association for Disabled Supporters (NADS)
DCSF: Ed Balls has claimed that the National Challenge programme is on track to achieve its target and announced the next steps for National Challenge with a focus on schools at risk of not reaching the minimum standard.
Based on early indications from local authorities, results are better than expected and he predicted that fewer than 270 secondary schools will remain below the minimum standard of at least 30% of pupils gaining 5A*-C grades at GCSE including Maths & English.
Press release ~ National Challenge programme ~ City Challenge ~ Academies programme ~
NAO: Academies programme
LSIS: Young people aged 16-19 have been given a platform for their unique viewpoint of British society with the launch of a national photography competition. Shortlisted entrants will have the opportunity to showcase their entries at an event at the Houses of Parliament.
The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is asking learners to present an image that addresses the competition title question: The Real Picture: strong communities or broken society? The most striking images – complete with captions and a statement of their context – will be shortlisted & exhibited at Portcullis House (Houses of Parliament), Westminster on 9 March 2010.
You are asked to complete an
expression of interest form by 1 October 2009 if you are interested in involving young people you work with. Completed entries must be accompanied by a final entry form by 18 December 2009. You are asked to read the competition guidance before embarking on this project.
STFC: The ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array) astronomical observatory has taken another step forward — and upwards. One of its state-of-the-art antennas was carried for the first time to the 5,000m plateau of Chajnantor, in the Chilean Andes, on the back of a custom-built giant transporter.
Earlier this year the first of 26 receiver systems that go inside the antennas (that are being assembled & tested at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory) was transported to Chile.
They are designed to operate fully exposed in the harsh conditions of the Array Operations Site. This means surviving strong winds and temperatures between +20 & -20 Celsius whilst being able to point precisely enough that they could pick out a golf ball at a distance of 15 km and to keep their smooth reflecting surfaces accurate to better than 25 micrometres (less than the typical thickness of a human hair).
Newswire – EA: The Environment Agency (EA) has just increased the number of flood warning areas for parts of Oxfordshire including Abingdon, Wantage, Grove, East Hanney and Bampton. New river level gauges have recently been installed along the River Stert, Letcombe Brook and Shill Brook. A new gauge has also been installed along the River Evenlode upstream of Moreton-in-Marsh in Gloucestershire.
Installing these gauges will ensure that the EA is able to detect flooding and inform communities when it is likely to flood in their area. These areas were all seriously affected by the July 2007 floods and while flooding cannot always be prevented, these new gauges will allow local residents time to take action, keep safe & save their valuables.
Press release ~ EA – Prepare for Flooding ~ Flood Forecasting Centre for England and Wales ~ Met Office: Flood forecasting and warning services ~ Defra: Flood management
OS: Following the announcement in April of a new business strategy for mapping agency Ordnance Survey, the pricing & licensing of its flagship digital terrain model, Land-Form PROFILE Plus, has been completely overhauled and partner distribution terms introduced from October 2009.
Land-Form PROFILE Plus is Ordnance Survey’s highest-resolution digital terrain model. It provides the foundation for accurate flood modelling & analysis, as demanded by utility suppliers, insurers, developers and planning authorities.
NA: Following an extensive consultation over the summer, The National Archives has announced a number of changes to its operations & public services:
* Moving to a 5-day week (Tuesday to Saturday), from 4 January 2010, with an extension of opening hours
* Charging for use of the public car park, with an annual season ticket available for frequent users
* Changes to copying & microform services, with the aim of simplifying the process for users
MoD: RAF Chinook helicopters operating in Afghanistan will receive a £408m upgrade to deliver more powerful engines and more advanced, digitised cockpits - the MOD has announced. The £128m engine upgrade will enable the Chinooks to operate more effectively in the hot summers & high altitudes of Afghanistan, while their impproved fuel efficiency means that, despite being more powerful, the fleet will be able to fly further without refuelling and spend longer supporting the front line, before needing re-servicing.
In addition, our Chinook pilots will also benefit from improved visibility, thanks to a £280m contract to fit Thales ‘glass cockpits’, which will improve the capability of the aircraft under demanding low light conditions.
Press release ~ Chinook Factsheet ~ Joint Helicopter Command ~ RAF Odiham ~ IN PICTURES: RAF Chinooks in Afghanistan (see GALLERY: RAF Chinooks in Afghanistan) ~ More battlefield helicopters for UK Armed Forces (VIDEO) (see VIDEO: Joint Helicopters rise to Afghan challenge) ~ Thales ‘glass cockpits’
OS: Ordnance Survey, Britain’s national mapping agency, is introducing a new way to deliver location information on demand to government & commercial users anywhere in the country. OS On Demand is a web map service that hosts & supplies the latest & most accurate raster mapping of anywhere in Britain directly from Ordnance Survey, via the Web.
Because OS On Demand is designed to open web service standards, the data can easily be incorporated to any application quickly and with minimum costs. For example, it can be used within an organisation’s own Intranet pages, ensuring that everyone has access to, and is using, the same data.
NE: England’s newest wildlife reserve - the BigWildlifeGarden – is ready for exploration! The website creates an online network of gardens & open spaces and encourages people of all ages to discover how to attract more wildlife into their gardens.
Families, individuals and primary schools can collect Bronze, Silver & Gold Awards for their efforts to attract wildlife - with the highest accolade reserved for the appropriately named Green Award. There is also a brand new competition to find England’s ‘BigWildlifeGardenSchool of the Year’. Schools progress through each Award level by collecting points for each wildlife wonder added to their garden.
The Big Wildlife Garden is part of Natural England’s ‘One Million Children Outdoors’ programme which launched in April 2009. By summer, children all over the country were taking part in free outdoor activities all over England associated with this campaign
Press release ~ Big Wildlife Garden ~
Wildlife Gardening Forum ~ ‘One Million Children Outdoors’ programme ~ Big Wildlife Garden, School of the Year competition
NE: Natural England and the RSPB, assisted by the Forestry Commission, have been looking at the feasibility of re-introducing the white-tailed eagle - also known as the sea eagle - to East Anglia & the Suffolk coast, following a 3-year study of eastern England.
The Suffolk coast is favoured because of its location at the centre of a string of wetland habitats stretching from The Wash to the Thames Estuary, which could provide a suitable home for white-tailed eagles. Elsewhere in Europe, white-tailed eagles thrive in similar lowland wetland habitats.
HO: Skilled migrants renewing their visas to stay in the UK, under Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PBS), will be issued with an ID card from January 2010 skilled the Home Secretary Alan Johnson has claimed - 3 months ahead of schedule. Since their introduction 90,000 cards have been issued, mainly to students renewing their visa under Tier 4 of the PBS and those renewing marriage visas.
From October 2009 foreign nationals who are being issued with ID Cards will be given the choice of providing their fingerprints & photograph at one of the 17 participating Crown Post Offices for a fee of £8 or at one of the UK Border Agency or Identity & Passport Service Offices currently included within the scheme, which will remain free.
TfL: Transport for London (TfL) has announced plans to tighten the guidelines for licensing taxi & private hire drivers in the Capital. In future, taxi & private hire licences will not be granted to applicants who have been convicted for serious or violent offences, unless there are exceptional mitigating circumstances.
This clarification comes as a result of recent public interest in the case of an individual, with a conviction for manslaughter, who was licensed (now being revoked) as a private hire driver and accepted onto the Knowledge of London programme.
MoD: HMS Ark Royal has just undergone a £12m upgrade in her home port of Portsmouth and is about to embark on 2 weeks of post-maintenance tests. During the upgrade her hull was painted with new ‘intersleek’ paint – allowing her to cut through the seas more quickly - which will cut fuel costs & emissions by 9%. It will also increase her top speed by 2 knots to 30 knots.
The work, carried out by BVT Surface Fleet, also included new exhaust systems, an updated IT network and improvements to sewage treatment plants. Her gearboxes, main engines & diesel generators have also been refurbished.
DH: A new scheme supported by football clubs across England will help educate men about the symptoms & risks of ‘male’ cancers and encourage them to present earlier with their symptoms. The new 1-year pilot initiative Ahead of the Game – Organise Your Defence will use the appeal of football to improve men’s knowledge of the signs & symptoms of lung, bowel and prostate cancers in men aged 55 & over who are most at risk of dying from these cancers.
The Football Foundation will run the pilot scheme, which will raise awareness of these symptoms in a variety of ways including nurses giving out information and FREE health tests at matches & community road shows. The scheme which is part funded by the Department of Health and 5 football clubs will take part - Portsmouth, Brighton & Hove Albion, Blackburn Rovers, Scunthorpe United and Norwich City.