Daily roundup: Runaways, court petition and free school meals

Laura McCardle
Friday, September 5, 2014

MPs warn of exploitation risk for runaway children at railway stations; NSPCC chief hands government child abuse court petition; and Deputy Prime Minister gets free school meals grilling by nine-year-old, all in the news today.

MPs have warned that hundreds of runaway children are at risk of being sexually exploited at railway stations. A new report by the transport select committee shows that more than 700 children were found at railway stations in London between April 2012 and August 2013.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, is visiting Downing Street today to hand in a petition calling for every region in England and Wales to have a remote site where child abuse victims can give evidence away from court. The Order in Court petition has received 21,000 signatures.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been quizzed about his free school meals programme by a nine-year-old boy who told him they are “unhealthy” and “very expensive”. The Telegraph reports that Clegg was left “squirming” by the confrontation and suggested the boy “go back to class”.

Researchers at the University of Warwick have claimed that one in five child deaths in England could be prevented. The BBC reports that the scientists said more could be done to prevent future deaths by tackling child poverty and spotting serious illnesses sooner.

Plans to convert eight children’s centres in Bury into nurseries have been criticised by parents. The Manchester Evening News reports that parents have staged a protest against the plans, which would see the new nurseries provide 15 hours of free childcare a week for two-year-olds.

The Dicky Birds nursery in Wimbledon has been found to have committed a “gross failure” after staff did not supervise a toddler who choked to death on raw jelly. ITV News reports that an inquest found that 22-month-old Tiya Chauhan died of “an accident contributed to by neglect”.

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