Daily roundup: Electronic tags, 'train surfing', and a new training agency for teachers

Ellie Clayton
Thursday, January 17, 2013

Figures show two-thirds of young people fitted with electronic tags go on to break their court order, warning over 'train surfing' craze in Wales, and plans to merge the Teaching Agency and the National College for School Leadership, all in the news today.

Figures show many young offenders with electronic tags breach the terms of their court order. Image: Arlen Connelly
Figures show many young offenders with electronic tags breach the terms of their court order. Image: Arlen Connelly

Official figures from the Ministry of Justice show that two-thirds of young people fitted with electronic tags go on to break their court order. The figures, reported in the Telegraph, show that 26,624 out of 41,038 juvenile orders for “electronically monitored curfews” were recorded as being breached between September 2010 and December 2012, a rate of 65 per cent. The figures come amid government promises to encourage a “rehabilitation revolution”, which could see greater reliance on tagging and community orders.

Police in Wales have issued a warning following a rise in so-called “train surfing”. Children have been spotted in Garth and Maesteg stations in north Wales trying to cling to the sides of trains as they pull out of the station. The craze has killed hundreds worldwide but there have been relatively few reported incidents in the UK. Sergeant Steve Dawkins from the British Transport Police said: “I am extremely concerned that if this incredibly dangerous trend continues it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or even killed.”

The Teaching Agency and the National College for School Leadership are to merge to create a single agency. According the Department for Education, the new agency’s remit will include “teacher training, continuous professional development and supporting school improvement to address underperformance in the education system”. It will formally come into effect by the end of March 2013. Russell Hobby, general secretary at the National Association of Head Teachers, urged the new body to maintain its focus on developing leadership in schools. “It’s hard to over-estimate the driving force of an inspirational leader and almost impossible for schools to succeed without one,” he said.

A 14-year-old in Plymouth has successfully managed to set up a youth club in his village. Jake Smith petitioned local people, before approaching a former youth worker in the area and the local leisure councillor. He set up a committee, which then agreed a plan and policy for the club. He also helped secure funding for the club. He said: "Wembury post office gave us sweets, Devon County Council donated £500, two local ladies from the shop bought us a box of sweets and the Old Wheel pub in Wembury gave us £100. We've had a lot of support." In total, 23 young people attended the club’s first night. It will now be open every Friday evening. Entrance is £1.

This saturday demonstrators will march through Sheffield city centre to protest against the threat of £3.6m cuts to services for young children in the city. The protests have been arranged to coincide with two planned council meetings next week. Volunteers have been running a daily stall outside the town hall with the aim of securing 5,000 signatures, in order to force a debate on the issue by Sheffield City Council. The debate should go ahead, since the campaign has received 6,000 signatures so far.

And finally, the Booktrust is to launch a reading fund for disadvantaged children. It is hoped the fund will raise £2m over the next three years to help deprived children through reading. The funding will support the work already done by Booktrust. The organisation hopes it will allow them to extend their programmes to reach 12,000 more children. Booktrust has a number of high profile patrons and supporters, including The Duchess of Cornwall and Joanna Trollope.

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