News round up: Shoesmith’s challenge fast-tracked by court

Sharon Shoesmith’s legal challenge fast-tracked by High Court

The High Court is to fast-track Sharon Shoesmith’s legal challenge against the Education Secretary’s role in her dismissal from Haringey Council without compensation.

It has set aside three days, from October 7, for a full hearing of the judicial review into whether Ed Balls exceeded his powers when he removed Ms Shoesmith from her post as director of children’s services on December 1.

Read more on this story in The Times

Trevor Phillips loses out in equality shake-up

Trevor Phillips is to give up some of his powers as head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission after being widely criticised for his leadership style.

The Times has learnt that he has agreed to restructure the body by appointing a senior figure to lead each area of its activities, including gay rights, disability, race and sexual equality. One option being discussed is to adopt the model used by the Australian Human Rights Commission, with individual board-level commissioners to speak out on each issue. That would create a series of powerful figureheads who would each become the national voice on their particular issue, diluting Mr Phillips’s power considerably.

Read more on this story in The Times

Woman tells of years of sexual abuse at Jersey children’s home

A woman who says she was the victim of a “persistent sexual bully” broke down in court yesterday as she told how she suffered years of abuse at a Jersey children’s home.

The 53-year-old woman said that Gordon Wateridge, a house parent at the Haut de la Garenne home, groped girls’ breasts, forced his hands into one child’s underwear and kissed girls on the neck.

Read more on this story in The Times

Heavy drinking culture blamed for surge in oral cancers

Growing numbers of 40-somethings are developing mouth, lip and tongue cancer because they drink too much alcohol, Cancer Research UK warns today.

Diagnoses of oral cancer have gone up by 28% among men in their 40s and 24% among women the same age since the mid-1990s. The charity says tobacco does not explain the rise, as it takes up to 30 years to cause cancer. Instead it blames rising alcohol consumption.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

New ‘totalitarian’ home education plans drive families north to Scotland

The housing market may still be gloomy but one group of people could offer estate agents a glimmer of hope, as home education support groups report a huge increase in the number of inquiries from parents thinking of moving to Scotland.

“People are serious about leaving England,” says Barbara Stark, chair of Action for Home Education. The surge in interest follows the government’s planned shake-up of home education in England – described by Stark as “totalitarian”.

Read more on this story in The Guardian

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