Tuesday 20 August 2002

By Clare Jerrom and Alex Dobson.

Whitehall reviews checks on school staff

An urgent review of information given to Cambridgeshire
education chiefs has been ordered by Whitehall officials following
police checks on staff working at Soham schools linked to the
deaths of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

The review comes amid fears that legislation designed to prevent
sex offenders working with children has loopholes, which could lead
to important details on school employees being withheld.

All applicants for jobs working in schools including support
staff are subject to police vetting. The law includes safeguards
against people trying to conceal their identity by changing their
name as applicants are required to provide their national insurance
number, which allows police to check former identities.

Home office ministers have signalled that legislation this
autumn will strengthen the power of the police and courts to
protect children from sex offenders.

Last night, it emerged that the department for education and
skills has demanded full details of the police checks on staff
working at St Andrew’s primary school and Soham village
college. The restriction of employment regulations, sometimes
called the list 99 law, requires police to tell local education
authorities about any conviction held by people applying to work in

A Whitehall insider said: “There is work going on to do with
this, but at the moment many of the relevant files are still at the
Soham schools where access is understandably difficult.”

Humberside police, which covers the town of Grimsby where Ian
Huntley and Maxine Carr previously lived, are also likely to be

The couple are now being held on the suspicion of the
girls’ murder.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 20 August page 1

No promises, Cambridge tells deaf Oxford

The deaf state school student, who achieved six grade As at A
level but was turned down by Oxford university, was warned
yesterday that she had “no guarantee” of being more successful at

Anastacia Fedotva, whose rejection from a course at Brasenose
College has renewed controversy over admissions policies, is
considering applying to study mathematics at Oxford’s rival.
Imperial College, London, has already offered her a place.

Robert Hunt, Cambridge’s director of studies for
mathematics ,said he would look beyond her headline qualifications
to check whether they were middle-range As or straight As. Her
performance at interview and other entrance tests would be more
important, he added.

Yesterday, Oxford defended its decision by claiming that the
eight people who had been accepted were more qualified.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 20 August page 2

Boy shot friend dead

A 14-year-old boy was convicted of manslaughter at Newcastle
crown court after he shot his friend dead with an airgun.

Daryl John Allison and his older brother took their
father’s airgun in Eaglescliffe near Stockton-on-Tees.

After firing at different objects, the court was told, Allison
shot Matthew Sheffield between the eyes.

Matthew’s parents have called for tighter controls for
air-powered weapons.

Source:- The Times Tuesday 20 August page 5

Milburn retreats on care home standards

The government scrapped its plans yesterday to force care home
owners to improve conditions for older people by making them
upgrade facilities to increase minimum room sizes.

Health secretary Alan Milburn published fresh proposals allowing
established homes to remain as they are indefinitely, in a bid to
prevent proprietors selling homes. The higher environmental
standards and space requirements will apply just to new homes.

Help the Aged said the government should not be watering down
space requirements that had been accepted as good practice for the
last 30 years.

The charity’s spokesperson Mervyn Kohler said: “These
standards are being blamed for the closure of many homes, but the
real issue behind the home closures is less about room sizes and
more to do with inadequate government funding for residential;

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 20 August page 5

Woman found hanged in cell

An investigation by the prison service is being launched after a
woman was found hanged in her cell at Durham prison yesterday.

Diana Schooling was sentenced to life for murder last

Source:- The Guardian Tuesday 20 August page 8

Council workers plan more strikes over pay

Union leaders warned yesterday that tens of thousands of council
workers in London will go on strike again next month in a dispute
over pay.

Workers including school assistants and street cleaners will
take action over a claim for a £4,000-a-year allowance for
working in the capital.

Unions claim the London weighting payments of between
£1,400 and £2,600 for most council workers do not bridge
the gap between salaries and the high cost of living in the

Leaders of the Transport and General Workers Union said plans
for the action, including strike dates, will be discussed

Council workers in London have already held two strikes,
including one linked to a pay dispute which has now been

TGWU organiser Jack Dromey said: “Councils in Europe’s
most expensive city have not offered a penny more in London
weighting. Our members have had enough.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Tuesday 20 August page 6

Welsh newspapers

Group set up drive to free sex abuse head

A headmaster convicted of abusing 17 boys in his care has
thanked supporters for their continuing support.

Derek Brushett from south Wales says that the support has given
him a “great boost”. He is currently serving a 12-year prison
sentence for the physical and sexual abuse of boys at the
Bryn-y-Don home in Dinas Powys between 1974 and 1980.

Campaigners claim that he and others are the victims of
miscarriages of justice, and plan to hold a second annual
conference in south Wales next month. The campaign group Falsely
Accused Carers and Teachers (FACT) claims that dozens of people
have been caught up in so called “trawling” inquiries by the

Source:- South Wales Echo Monday 19 August page 13

Threat to centre for disabled kids

A groundbreaking centre for disabled children is in danger of
closing because it has been refused further funding from

The Torfaen Opportunity Group (TOG) centre opened in Pontypool,
south Wales, last year after 10 years of work by parents.

The purpose built building, funded by a £313,669 national
lottery grant provides services for 150 families, and more than 180
children, ranging in age from only four months to 19-years-old.

Last year, the European Social Fund awarded TOG just over
£400,000, but this year they have been told that they no
longer qualify.

Centre manager Cynthia Beynon said that the centre is now in
danger of closing because of the loss of core funding.

Torfaen council’s leader Brian Smith said that the TOG
centre certainly deserved support, but that the council could not
come up with the amount of money needed.

Source:- South Wales Argus Monday 19 August page 5




More from Community Care

Comments are closed.