Daily roundup: Vocational training, health and parenting

Derren Hayes
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New practical qualifications for school children introduced next year; huge rise in Crohn's disease hospital admissions of young people; and parents warned not to give children alcohol at end of exams, all in the news today.

From September 2015, 14- to 16-year-olds will be able to study practical subjects such as textiles and electronics as part of a shake up in vocational education, the government has announced. The technical awards will have the same standing as GCSEs, and aim to better prepare young people for work. Teenagers will be able to study up to three of the awards alongside a minimum of five core GCSEs, including English and maths, the BBC reports.

The number of young people admitted to hospital with Crohn’s disease has quadrupled over the past decade, new data shows. The Health and Social Care Information Centre says 19,405 16 to 29-year-olds were admitted for treatment in England in 2013 compared to 4,937 in 2003/4. Experts are blaming the rise in the disease, which attacks the intestine and can cause severe diarrhoea and tiredness, on young people’s increased exposure to junk food and antibiotics, BBC Newsbeat reports.

Alcohol campaign group Drinkaware has urged parents not to give their children alcohol to celebrate the end of their exams. It follows a Drinkaware survey that shows nearly one in four parents have allowed their children to drink alcohol as a reward for completing their school exams. It warns that alcohol can damage developing adolescent bodies normalises a drinking culture from a young age.

Sally Rowe has been appointed as the director of children’s services at Luton Borough Council. Rowe, currently deputy director of Ofsted, is to take up post shortly, reports Luton Today. Rowe was interim head of social care at the inspectorate before the appointment of Debbie Jones last year.

Department for Education figures show that just 15 to 20 per cent of primary schools offer childcare outside of term time. 4Children said the findings expose the scale of the change needed if schools are to extend their hours during term and in holiday periods, as desired by the main political parties.

The Children’s Commission on Poverty has called on children, teachers and other school staff to submit evidence to it on the problems children in poverty face at school. With many families struggling to bear the costs of school essentials such as lunches, uniforms, text books and access to computers, the inquiry will focus on the impact this has on children. The commission, supported by the Children’s Society and comprised of a panel of 15 young people aged 12 to 19 from across England, launched its 18-month investigation into child poverty in the UK last October.

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