Monday 14 October 2002

By Clare Jerrom, Nicola Barry and Alex

Estelle Morris under attack on three fronts

Estelle Morris came under attack on her handling of three areas
in the education system last night.

The education secretary’s intervention in the case of two
teenage boys expelled for making death threats to a teacher then
reinstated by an appeal panel, was criticised by Surrey

Morris stepped into the row on Thursday when two 15-year-olds
were ordered back to Glyn School in Epsom, Surrey. She demanded
that Surrey council make alternative provision for the boys, who
admitted making death threats against teacher Steve Taverner.

Kay Hammond, Surrey’s member with responsibility for
education, said Morris had upset “delicate” negotiations with the
boys’ parents and the school to resolve the issue quietly.

Shadow education secretary Damian Green said Morris had made
“yet another blunder”.

The education secretary also faced being undermined by
universities about her promise to help teenagers robbed of places
by the A-level fixing scandal. They said students would have just
10 days to decide if they wanted to switch courses.

Suggestions that primary school teachers would get a day out of
the classroom every fortnight to ease their workload, also received
criticism that she was caving in to union threats of strike

Source:- The Times Saturday 12 October page 1

Gang of six told to behave or face prison

Six youths who have terrorised a London borough for two years
were given lengthy anti social behaviour orders yesterday.

The gang was responsible for a series of assaults, violence,
vehicle crime and burglary, which had the residents of Bexley,
south London, living in fear since December 2000.

The gang face up to five years in jail if the break the

The Metropolitan police said the move should be a strong message
to young people who persist in seriously anti-social behaviour.

Source:- The Times Saturday 12 October page 7

Child porn raids

Raids in the south of England as part of an operation against a
paedophile ring resulted in six arrests of people aged 23 to

There were also raids in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands,
Spain, Sweden, Romania, Italy, the US and Canada.

Source:- The Times Saturday 12 October page 15

Widow at care home tied up with dog lead

A care home in Grimsby will face investigation after an
84-year-old widow was found tied in a chair with a dog lead.

Staff said Phyllis Scott was tied with the lead to prevent her
from falling off the chair.

A visitor to Clover Lodge Rest Home in Humberston saw Scott and
reported the incident to the National Care Standards Commission. An
inspector visited the following day and Scott was being restrained
again by the leash.

Staff said they could not cope with Scott, and she was
transferred from the privately-run home to a local authority run

The home, which has 16 residents, is now under investigation to
ensure none of the residents are at risk.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Saturday 12 October page

Jamaicans win gay asylum right

Applications for asylum by homosexuals from Jamaica are being
considered after two gay men from the Caribbean island were granted
asylum in Britain because their lives are in danger.

The applications, which are among the first successful claims
under a House of Lords ruling that included homosexuals within
“particular social groups”, were backed by evidence of homosexuals
being murdered, attacked by machete or threatened.

Homosexual intercourse is still a criminal offence in Jamaica
punishable by up to 10 years hard labour.

A home office spokesperson said that asylum would not be granted
purely on the basis of sexual orientation, but if there was
evidence that individuals were being persecuted because they were
gay, and adequate protection was not available, then it might be a
contributing factor in a successful asylum application.

Source:- The Sunday Times Sunday 13 October page 6

Parents will get right to trace adopted

Hundreds of thousands of parents who gave up their children for
adoption are to be given the legal right to contact them in a move
to be announced today.

The government measure will give hope to many of the parents of
750,000 babies put up for adoption in the post-war years.

The children, many of them now adults, have the right to refuse
contact from their natural parents.

Health minister Jacqui Smith will also announce a multi-million
pound funding boost for the adoption support services that will
help implement the scheme.

Source:- The Sunday Times 13 October page 12

Teacher vetting backlog rises as checks

The backlog of cases waiting to be vetted at the Criminal
Records Bureau has reached a record high.

The number of potential employees that the government agency has
failed to process within a three-week target time-scale, now stands
at 96,000.

The figure is worse than in the summer when many schools were
forced to remain closed at the beginning of the new academic term
as new staff had not been vetted.

The home office admission came as an undercover investigation by
The Sunday Times revealed that errors have led to 100
people being wrongly accused of having a criminal record, thousands
of cases being stuck in the system for up to seven months, nearly
4,000 completed checks have been disputed by applicants, and the
CRB is now facing 170 compensation claims.

Source:- The Sunday Times 13 October page 30

Blunkett axes jail terms below six months

Courts will be pushed to abandon prison sentences under six
months by the home secretary, in a bid to ease the growing crisis
of overcrowding in jails.

Later this year, David Blunkett will announce a major new bill
on criminal justice that will say courts should avoid giving short
sentences wherever possible because it does not give enough time
for rehabilitation programmes to make any difference.

The male prison population would be cut by more than 40,000 from
the current 73,000 if no prisoner was serving a sentence of six
months or less.

The home office says sentences for serious offences such as rape
and assault would be increased at the same time.

Source:- The Observer Sunday 13 October page 2

Child protection policy is a mess

The government is failing to adequately protect children from
the dangers of abuse and violent attacks, according to a report by
its own child safety watchdogs.

The report, which will be published by the chief inspectors of
eight government services responsible for young people, accuses
ministers of giving “insufficient priority” to the safeguarding of

The monitoring of dangerous individuals such as suspected
paedophiles is inadequate, and the government agencies were often
“confused” and had “no consistency” particularly in their failure
to share information about potential threats.

The report, Safeguarding Children, also says the “severe
difficulties” in the recruitment and retention of child protection
workers are having a direct impact on children’ s safety.

Source:- The Sunday Telegraph 13 October page 2

Lotto good causes reform “will finish off

Many charities and voluntary projects could face collapse if
government proposals to allow lottery players to vote for the type
of good cause they choose, goes ahead.

Under the new scheme, expected to be announced next month,
players will tick a box on the back of the ticket to indicate which
causes they would like their money to support.

The voluntary sector has criticised the plans and said it was a
bully-boy tactic to counter recent public anger at the way lottery
money is distributed.

Stephen Bubb, head of the Association of Chief Executives of
Voluntary Organisations, said that the move would result in smaller
charities suffering as funds are directed towards more popular
organisations and social issues.

He added that one likely scenario is that lottery money would
beef up the government’s budget for causes such as health and
education, which should be funded by taxation.

Source:- The Times Monday 14 October page 6

National offenders register will protect

The government is to set up a national register of all violent
and sex offenders in a bid to help police and probation officers
track criminals who pose a risk to children.

More than 45,000 offenders will be listed on the Violent and Sex
Offenders Register (Visor) including names, addresses, crimes and
the risk they pose to children. The probation service has demanded
the move for two years.

The recommendation is disclosed in a report today which claims
insufficient priority s given to child protection.

Source:- The Times Monday 14 October page 13

Scheme to boost aspirations of pupils in deprived areas
to be expanded

A multi-million pound scheme will be announced by the government
today, to tackle underachievement in inner city schools, which
ministers believe has helped break “the poverty of aspiration” that
has held back generations of youngsters.

School standards minister David Miliband will announce that as
well as maintaining its spending of more than £300
million-a-year on the Excellence in Cities scheme, over the next
three years, by the end of that period, the government expects to
have doubled resources for inner city schools to more than
£700 million a year.

The programme, launched in 1999 is to be extended to 13 new
areas, identified as pockets of social deprivation.

Source:- The Guardian Monday 14 October page 13

Pupils urged to inform on problem parents

Pupils are being encouraged to disclose sensitive information
about their parents to the government to help discover why they
might be failing at schools.

Details of problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, depression,
eating disorders and frequent domestic rows would be sought by

The data, gathered without the consent of parents by the
Connexions service, could be shared with a number of government
departments, the police and health authorities.

Connexions has been ordered by the department for education and
skills to compile profiles on the 13 to19-year-old age group to
identify problems over academic performance.

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 14 October page 1

Career women use adoption to become single

British career women are adopting children to become single
mothers, according to research published today.

Married people are no longer the group most likely to consider
adopting, the survey for National Adoption Week also found. People
who co-habit with a partner of the same or opposite sex, are more
likely to consider adopting, as are single people.

Felicity Collier, chief executive of British Association of
Adoption and Fostering, said attitudes to adoption are changing.
“But one thing does not change – children have a much better
chance of a successful life if they are adopted than if they grow
up in a local authority home.”

Source:- Daily Telegraph Monday 14 October page 13

Teachers suffer from abuse claims

Teachers should be given anonymity to protect them from false
accusations of child abuse, a union said yesterday after figures
revealed only a small minority of allegations resulted in

Staff accused of abusing children were often driven to
“professional ruin, nervous breakdowns, family break-ups and even
suicide”, because of the publicity, according to the National
Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.

The union’s figures show that only 62 of its 1,557 members
who had been interviewed by police since 1991 after claims by
pupils were convicted.

Source:- The
Independent Monday 14 October
page 5

Scottish newspapers

Take suicidal inmates out of jail

Suicidal prisoners should be removed from jail and treated for
mental health problems in hospital, according to leading
psychiatrists who claim the prison service is taking a bureaucratic
approach to preventing self-harm.

Source:- Sunday Herald 13 October page 10

Mourners pay last respects to girl, 6, killed with

More than 100 mourners paid their last respects at the funeral
of a six-year-old South Lanarkshire girl who was killed with a

Police arrived at the Union Street home in Stonehouse to find
Erin Gilmour dead and her sister, 10-year-old Louise, seriously
injured. A woman was detained at the scene.

Source:- Scotland On Sunday 13 October page 5

Scotland is failing disabled travellers

The Scottish tourist industry is losing potential business worth
£20billion because it fails disabled travellers, according to
a new report.

Researchers for Capability Scotland who posed as disabled
holiday seekers, said they were so frustrated with the lack of
information on facilities for them they would have given up trying
to book a holiday in Scotland.

Source:- The Scotsman October 14 page 5

Welsh newspapers

Children ‘more important than Iraq’

People in Wales believe that ending child abuse killings is a
more important issue for the government than committing forces to
Iraq, a new NSPCC survey shows.

The poll coincides with a new stage in the charities, Full Stop
Campaign, to end cruelty to children. The NSPCC wants to see urgent
child protection reforms that would see child killings cut by half
over the next 10 years.

The survey also found that over half of the people questioned
believed that children in the UK are most likely to be killed by
someone outside their family, with only one in nine aware that it
is parents who most often kill their children.

NSPCC Cymru/Wales director Greta Thomas said the levels of child
abuse killing in this country were a national disgrace.

Source:- Western Mail Monday 14 October page 1

Baby in canal ‘for weeks’

The body of a baby boy found in the Brecon-Monmouthshire canal
last week could have been in the water for five weeks, say

The body was found by a golfer searching for balls in the canal,
near Newbridge and was hidden inside a green holdall. A post-mortem
examination at the University Hospital of Wales showed that the
baby weighed around 5.5lb, but further tests are to be carried out
to determine the cause of death.

A police spokesperson said: “We need to provide help for the
mother, who is probably experiencing pain both mentally and
physically, and may need medical attention. We are deeply concerned
for her safety.”

The police have set up an incident room at Llanhilleth police

Source:- Western Mail Monday 14 October pages 1and

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