Daily roundup: Praise for Lambeth Council, sports coaching and primary school places

Neil Puffett
Monday, July 23, 2012

A letter from the children's minister to Lambeth, the effect of child protection on sports coaching and plans to deal with the population boom, all in today's news roundup.

Debbie Jones is director of children's services at the outstanding-rated Lambeth Council. Image: Alex Deverill
Debbie Jones is director of children's services at the outstanding-rated Lambeth Council. Image: Alex Deverill

The children’s minister Tim Loughton has written to Lambeth Council congratulating the authority on being the first in the country to receive an outstanding Ofsted rating for both its safeguarding and looked-after children's services. Loughton said he is “keen to encourage effective local authorities to share their learning on how to deliver improvement and change locally with other authorities facing similar challenges."

Some sports coaches have given up working with children for fear of false accusations of abuse, the Telegraph reports. A study by academics at Manchester Metropolitan University found that child protection policies may be hampering attempts to widen participation in sport. Researchers argued that regulations designed to protect children have created a “climate of fear” for coaches.

An investigation by The Observer has found that councils are considering dramatic ways of dealing with the ongoing population surge and resulting shortage of primary school places. The newspaper found local authorities are drawing up emergency plans to teach children in disused shops, warehouses, magistrates' courts and vacant office blocks. It also found that Barking and Dagenham Council is considering "split shift" schooling.

David Norgrove has been appointed as the chair of the new Family Justice Board, the Ministry of Justice has announced. The board, which is being set up in line with recommendations from the family justice review, will focus on reducing delay across the family courts system, in preparation for the introduction of a six-month time limit on all cases relating to care proceedings.

Concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of an international treaty on child abduction, the BBC reports. Researchers say the Hague Convention, which is designed to ensure the swift return of children abducted abroad by a parent, needs to be implemented faster. A study suggests the proportion of returns under the treaty fell between 2003 and 2008 and cases took longer.

ChildLine has launched a new campaign to encourage children to speak out about physical abuse, as new figures released by the charity show a link between abuse and self-harm. A ChildLine survey of 1,730 children and young people found that over 1,300 had suffered some level of abuse, with half of them saying it had caused them to self-harm.

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