Daily roundup: Doncaster resignation, riots report, and GCSE legal challenge

Neil Puffett
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The chair of Doncaster's Children's Board steps down, post-riots report calls for improved youth engagement in Tottenham, and the GCSE grade boundaries argument reaches court, all in the news today.

The chair of a board helping Doncaster’s children’s services to improve has quit his job. The Doncaster Star reports that Peter Kemp is stepping down following fresh concerns over safeguarding. The council’s chief executive Jo Miller, said: “Given the two recent reports, we fully expect that the existing form of government intervention through the work of the Children’s Board probably won’t continue in its current form. Peter Kemp, the chair of that board, has advised he will not continue with his chairmanship post past December. As soon as a new intervention framework is known an immediate report will go to cabinet setting out all the necessary measures for accelerated progress in children’s services.”

An independent report on last summer’s riots has called for more youth engagement. The Independent Panel on Tottenham, chaired by property developer Sir Stuart Lipton, also calls for increased employment opportunities, better community relations with the police, improved housing and transport links and for a regeneration body to be set up to improve the prospects of people living and working in Tottenham. Lipton said: “A new vision for Tottenham will create real change for the community.”

The legal challenge over this summer’s GCSE English results is set to open at the High Court today. The BBC reports that an alliance of pupils, teaching unions, schools and councils is seeking a judicial review of changes to grade boundaries for the exams. A three-day hearing will begin this week if the application for judicial review is granted. Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said she sincerely hopes the High Court “rectifies this injustice”. 

Tax breaks to help families with the cost of childcare are being considered by government. The Telegraph reports that aides to David Cameron and Nick Clegg are discussing plans to allow up to a third of childcare costs to be made tax-deductible. It has been suggested that the change could be included in a “mid-term review”, a range of new policies intended to revitalise the coalition government.

Nearly £9m has been saved as a result of a triage system to divert young people away from the youth justice system in Hull. The Hull Daily Mail reports that the system has been so successful that from next year youth courts in the city will only run two days a week, rather than the current three. Around 1,000 children aged between ten and 17 have been released without charge by police and youth workers as part of the scheme.

A service to help put rough sleepers in touch with local services that can help them has been launched by a consortium of 500 homelessness charities. StreetLink is a new hotline and website enabling members of the public to help connect rough sleepers, including young people, with local advice and services. Housing Minister Mark Prisk said: “With the nights getting colder, many people will be wondering how they can help when they see someone facing a night on the streets. StreetLink will give them the chance to make a real difference.”

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