A new report claims that almost 650 children reported missing in Greater Manchester in 2014 were at risk of child sexual exploitation. The figures, which also show that 530 of the 3,242 missing children were in care, were brought to light by an inquiry commissioned by Stockport MP Ann Coffey following the Rochdale grooming case in 2012
A new fund worth £2m has been launched by the Department for Education as part of efforts to tackle homophobic bullying in schools. Shares of the fund will be offered to charitable and not-for-profit organisations that present creative ideas about how to tackle the issue.
Child sexual exploitation now a ‘social norm’ in parts of Greater Manchester
Sexual exploitation of children has become “normal” in parts of Greater Manchester, according to a report described as “alarming” by Home Secretary Theresa May.
An inquiry, led by MP Ann Coffey, also suggests child sex abuse may have been fuelled by the increased sexualisation of youngsters through explicit music videos and so-called “sexting”, selfies and Instagram.
The independent report from the Labour MP for Stockport was commissioned to see what has changed since the Rochdale case in 2012 when nine Asian men were jailed for grooming girls with alcohol, drugs and gifts before forcing them to have sex with multiple men. Some schoolgirls told Ms Coffey they were regularly approached by men in the street and urged to get into cars with them.
She said: “My observations will make painful reading for those who hoped that Rochdale was an isolated case. This is a real and ongoing problem. I have been concerned about the number of people who have told me that in some neighbourhoods child sexual exploitation had become the new social norm.”
Ofsted has power to inspect academy chains, say Morgan
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has publicly contradicted the head of Ofsted over whether the watchdog has the right to inspect academy chains.
Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw has often called for his organisation to be given additional powers to inspect and grade the management of academy chains.
But Ms Morgan said inspectors already had the power to inspect these bodies.
More than half of secondary schools in England are now academies, operating outside local authority control.
Appearing before the Education Select Committee on Wednesday, Ms Morgan said she disagreed with the chief inspector over the powers he had to inspect.
Source: BBC News
The Boarding Schools Association has issued guidance on Ebola after some heads asked how to deal with students returning from affected countries.
Many schools with international students say they will monitor pupils’ travel over half-term.
“With a rich mix of overseas students you do get concerns being raised,” Robin Fletcher, BSA national director, told the Times Educational Supplement.
Half-term starts for some boarding schools this weekend.
Schools are concerned that boarders from affected countries may return home, says the TES.
Some head teachers have suggested some pupils may come into contact with family or friends who have been to affected areas.
The BSA’s guidance to its 500 members suggests schools with students from a range of countries may face parents worried about their children mixing with pupils from countries affected by Ebola.
“Some pupils may also be displaying their own ‘fear-of-contagion’ behaviour having reached their own conclusions, informed or otherwise, about whether they are at risk,” says the advice.
“We recommend that staff, pupils and parents are told that any fears they may have within a school are low-risk and this reassurance should come, ideally, from a senior staff member with responsibility for pastoral care.”
The guidance says schools with students from seriously affected countries, or neighbouring countries, planning to travel home at half-term should follow the latest government advice.
“This could, potentially, mean that they are advised not to travel home (in which case alternative supervision arrangements will need to be made for them) or they may face screening or other restrictions when returning to the UK.
“In issuing any specific advice for students, it is crucial this is done in full accordance with guidance from your school nurse and GP, and that any medical steps they recommend are closely followed.”
Elaine Purves, head teacher of Rossall School in Lancashire which has boarders from 50 countries, told the TES she had been watching the situation closely for some time.
“We have been monitoring it all through the summer.
“We are conscious that anybody could have been in Africa over the holidays and we are gearing up now to do it again as everyone is going off site.”
Jo Heywood, headmistress of Heathfield School in Berkshire which has published guidance on its website, said the measures were “to prevent scaremongering”.
Heathfield’s guidance says Public Health England has advised “that any persons arriving back in the UK having travelled from any of the affected countries and who are free of symptoms are not infectious and there should be no restrictions on their school attendance or normal activities.”
However, the school says it can take up to three weeks for symptoms to appear so its medical staff will monitor pupils who have travelled to “at-risk countries”.
“Should a pupil, who is returning from one of the affected countries, present to the medical centre with a fever then the pupil will be isolated and medical advice obtained from the school medical officer or her colleagues.”
Mr Fletcher said: “What we are saying is that it is a managed situation.
“And every school has a nurse who can keep up-to-date with the latest official advice.”
Source: BBC News
More than two-thirds of UK teachers have raised concerns about the safety and well-being of their pupils within the past year, a survey suggests.
Primary staff were most likely to speak up, with 71% having done so in the past year, the poll for the NSPCC and Times Educational Supplement found.
And 81% of the 1,200 employees surveyed had reported an issue at some point during the last five years.
But some education leaders felt social services failed to act quickly enough.
“Getting the attention of children’s services is really difficult,” said Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.
Many local authorities were very overstretched, he added.
“Reporting safeguarding issues is almost a daily occurrence, but to have a social worker come in and deal with it is quite rare.”
Overall only 15% of the staff questioned said they had never reported an issue.
Changes must be made to the child protection system to prevent children falling victim to sexual exploitation and abuse, a senior health professional has claimed. The Manchester Evening News reports that professor Andrew Rowland, a consultant in paediatric emergency medicine for Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, says better training for professionals and a new law making it a requirement for anyone working in an organisation caring for young people to report “any reasonable” suspicion of exploitation, must be introduced.
Numbers of children suffering from vitamin D deficiency has almost tripled in the space of four years, NHS figures show. The Telegraph reports that experts want parents to consider giving their children vitamin D supplements to avoid the risk of rickets.
The government will move to create new civil orders to protect potential victims of female genital mutilation following a consultation on the proposals. The idea was first mooted by Prime Minister David Cameron in July. The government will legislate for the orders through the Serious Crime Bill, which is currently going through parliament.
Charity Beatbullying has gone into administrators owing to “significant financial difficulties”. The online counselling service for children, has closed down, with visitors redirected to the Samaritans and ChildLine, the Times reports. It received a £500,000 grant from the government last year to launch a new children’s mental health online service called MindFull, which has also been suspended.