Daily roundup: School sports, tooth decay and academies

Neil Puffett
Monday, March 18, 2013

£150m for primary school sport, 41 per cent of children in Wales suffer tooth decay by five, and concerns over cost of academies in Birmingham, all in the news today.

Primary schools will receive £150m for school sports. Image: Phil Adams
Primary schools will receive £150m for school sports. Image: Phil Adams

Primary schools will receive £150m from government over the next two years to boost sport provision. The BBC reports that the ring-fenced money will be given directly to schools. They will be able to use it to cover the cost of extra coaching sessions. Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We can create a culture in our schools that encourages all children to be active and enjoy sport."

More than four out of 10 children in Wales suffer tooth decay by the age of five, The Western Mail reports. The release of the statistic coincides with the Welsh Government's launch of its National Oral Health Plan. “The National Oral Health Plan looks to the future and outlines an agenda for improving oral health, reducing oral health inequalities in Wales over the next five years and beyond,” Wales’ chief dental officer David Thomas said.

The largest local authority in England has warned that it will run out of money if many more schools become academies. The Birmingham Post reports that Birmingham City Council says it is being left out of pocket as a result of paying the costs of the transfer, absorbing debts owed by schools and reductions to the education budget. In the last two years, conversions have cost the authority in excess of £2m. Brigid Jones, lead member for children’s services at the authority, said: "If the government is not going to reimburse us for these academy conversions, then we are going to have to stop doing other things.”

Meanwhile, a union has warned that cutbacks in Hull are placing some of the city’s most vulnerable children at risk. The Hull Daily Mail reports that Hull City Council plans to shed nearly 50 jobs from children and young people’s services. Unison convenor Nikki Osborne, said: "The council is looking to completely reshape the system. It is alarming. There were deep concerns when there was a 28 per cent cut in staff two years ago and these are on top of that. We feel there is a huge risk and it's not safe for the vulnerable children in the city."

Drugs tests could be carried out on children as young as 10 if they want to be members of local athletics clubs. The Daily Record reports that procedures put in place by the UK Anti-Doping Agency mean investigators can ask to test any one of around 5,000 young people who are members of Scottish Athletics through their local sports club. Children can be made to give urine samples in front of adult observers at junior events.

The National Childminding Association has renamed itself the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY) to widen its membership to nursery workers. Liz Bayram and Catherine Farrell, joint chief executives of PACEY, said: “PACEY is being launched at a critical time for childcare when multiple changes are being considered in the sector, from new entry and qualification requirements to childminder agencies and ratio changes. For the first time PACEY will enable one voice to represent all childcare professionals."

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