Daily roundup 5 July: School improvement, Universal Credit and Welsh childcare
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Councils best placed to improve failing schools, study finds; MPs call for Esther McVey to resign over Universal Credit claims; and pledge to expand Welsh free childcare praised, all in the news today.
Councils are better at boosting the inspection grades of inadequate schools than academy chains, analysis of official figures suggests. Research by Angel Solutions found that 75 per cent of "inadequate" local authority maintained schools were rated "good" or better at their next inspection, compared with 59 per cent of inadequate schools sponsored by an academy chain. The Local Government Association, said the research, which it commissioned, "clearly demonstrates the excellent track records councils have in turning round failing schools", reports the BBC.
Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey is facing calls to resign after issuing an apology for misleading parliament about the government's faltering welfare changes in an apparent breach of ministerial code. The Guardian reports that McVey claimed that Whitehall's independent spending watchdog had called for the Universal Credit rollout to be accelerated. Labour and the Liberal Democrats called for the MP for Tatton to step down after the National Audit Office's head, Sir Amyas Morse, said she had misinterpreted a highly critical report which had actually called for the reforms to be paused.
National Day Nurseries Association Cymru has welcomed childcare plans put forward by a politician standing for election as the next first minister of Wales. Current childcare minister Huw Irranca-Davies has pledged the introduction of free childcare from the age of one, reports Wales Online. NDNA praised Irranca-Davies for putting forward a "very positive and ambitious vision".
A 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a six-year-old girl on the Isle of Bute on Monday. Alesha MacPhail's body was found just hours after she was reported missing in the Ardbeg Road area. The lead detective described the arrest as a "major development", reports the Independent.
Pupil behaviour at Colne Community School in Brightlingsea, part of Thrive Partnership Academy Trust, has become "scary" and "frightening", it has emerged. Ofsted, which previously rated it as outstanding, now says it is inadequate and in need of special measures. The Ofsted inspection follows the suspensions of Thrive chief executive Nardeep Sharma OBE and executive head teacher Catherine Hutley, reports the BBC.