Video: Schools washing uniforms, charging phones for families with no electricity at home

This devastating 95-second video shot by ITV News in Morecambe shows primary schools giving out shoes and coats and using washing machines to wash children’s uniforms, teachers charging parents’ phones because they have no electricity at home, GPs treating kids for rickets, and parents passing out in the school hall because they’ve done without meals.

The reality of child poverty

Primary schools using washing machines to wash children's uniforms, teachers charging parents' phones because they have no electricity at home, and GPs treating kids for rickets. This is the poverty we have found in the UK in 2017.Watch more: (via Granada Reports)

Posted by ITV News on Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Apprenticeships fall by 59%

From The Guardian: Employers and unions have called for a rethink of the Tory government’s apprenticeship policies after a 59% fall in those taking up trainee posts since a new scheme was launched in April.

Just 48,000 people started an apprenticeship in the final three months of the educational year to July 2017, compared with 117,800 in the same period a year before. The biggest drop came in the lowest level “intermediate” apprenticeships, which dived by 75%, compared with a 48% drop in the most advanced training courses.

Critics of the scheme say the increased costs and complexities are deterring employers from creating apprenticeship posts.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Children waiting up to 18 months for mental health treatment

From The Guardian: Children with mental health problems are waiting up to 18 months to be treated, according to a government-ordered report, in an indictment of the poor care many receive.

A Care Quality Commission report into child and adolescent mental health services (Camhs) will warn that long delays for treatment are damaging the health of young people with anxiety, depression and other conditions.

Long delays are leading to some children starting to self-harm or fall out of education, couples breaking up and parents having to stop working so they can look after their child, the charity Young Minds said. Statistics show that one in five children referred for treatment in England cannot be seen by overstretched child and adolescent mental health services, and some families end up seeking private care.

“We regularly hear from parents who can’t get a referral, with their GP telling them to seek a referral via their school and vice versa. We also hear from parents who have been waiting for months for an initial assessment, and whose children’s conditions have got worse during that time,” said Jo Hardy, the head of parent services at Young Minds.

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‘It only helps richer graduates’: Tory plan to slash tuition fee interest rates slammed

From HuffPostUK: Theresa May is reportedly considering cutting the interest rate of student loans in a bid to win back young voters.

The Sunday Telegraph quoted a source who had discussed the plan with Downing Street, which would see the 6% interest levied on tuition fees slashed.

The plans were criticised by financial journalist Martin Lewis, who said such a move would only help the top earning graduates.

Jeremy Corbyn made the abolition of tuition fees one of the key policies in his general election campaign, and saw the majority of under 40s backing his party.

[Read full article on HuffPost UK…]

More than 600,000 pupils in England taught by unqualified teachers, says Labour

From The Guardian: Labour has accused Theresa May’s government of allowing more than 600,000 pupils to be taught by unqualified teachers.

After a pledge by Jeremy Corbyn to stamp out the practice, the party has analysed official figures to calculate that 613,000 pupils in state-funded schools in England have been taught by adults with no formal teaching qualifications.

Michael Gove, the former education secretary, introduced the right for free schools and academies to use unqualified teachers in 2012, a move which has been expanded under the current education secretary, Justine Greening.

Labour claims the use of teachers who are not qualified leads to children in state schools being taught by people who have had no guaranteed training in safeguarding children, controlling a class or adapting teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils.

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Revealed: Damning Tory catalogue of child health failures and cancelled NHS children’s operations

From The London Economic: The Labour Party are set to reveal that over 12,000 surgical procedures on children and young people were cancelled in the previous year alone.

This represents an increase of 35 per cent in three years. These cancelled NHS operations include procedures for broken bones and treatments under anaesthetic.

One in five paediatric trainee positions are currently vacant even though trainees themselves report high levels of enthusiasm for the speciality.

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Grace is 25. Her student debt: £69,000

From The Guardian: When Grace Parkins opened her first statement from the Student Loans Company she wasn’t prepared for what she saw. After four years studying she discovered she was now more than £69,000 in debt.

Parkins was one of the first generation of students to sign up to £9,000 a year tuition fees. Like many recent graduates, she had no idea she was also racking up £8,000 of interest on her student loan while still at university. Students currently pay interest of 4.6% while they study, and this will rise to 6.1% in September. “That should have been made much clearer,” she says. “I didn’t expect that at all. All I really knew was that I wouldn’t be repaying until I earned £21,000 and my outstanding debt would be written off after 30 years.”

Parkins, 25, graduated from the University of Westminster last year and now works for a PR firm in Leeds. She doesn’t yet earn enough to start repaying – it kicks in at 9% of earnings above £21,000. “One of the reasons I am not totally panicking now is that I know I’m never going to repay all of that £69,000,” she says. “The government should do something about the level of debt students take on. It put some of my friends off going to university.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Student debt rising to more than £50,000, says IFS

From BBC News: Students in England are going to graduate with average debts of £50,800, after interest rates are raised on student loans to 6.1%, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Those from the poorest backgrounds, with more loans available to support them, will graduate with debts of over £57,000 says the think tank.

Interest charges are levied as soon as courses begin and the IFS says students on average will have accrued £5,800 in interest charges by the time they have graduated from university.

Report author Chris Belfield describes the interest as “very high”, but the Department for Education declined to comment on the increase in charges.

[Read full article on BBC News website…]

Poorest students leave university with the most debt thanks to the Tories, says report

From HuffpostUK: Students from the poorest backgrounds are leaving university with the most debt thanks to the Tories decision to scrap maintenance grants.

New research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows poor students will graduate owing more than £57,000 to the Government in tuition fees and loans – while even those from modest and well-off backgrounds will have debts of £42,500.

The research claims the controversial changes to tuition fees in 2012 – which triggered violent protests – actually made the poorest graduates better off to the tune of around £1,500.

But George Osborne’s decision in 2015 to replace the maintenance grant with a loan has helped wipe away that benefit, and most students will now be paying off their debts into their 50s.

[Read full article on HuffPost UK…]

UK student loan debt soars to more than £100bn

From The Guardian: Student loan debt in the UK has risen to more than £100bn for the first time, underlining the rising costs young people face in order to get a university education.

Outstanding debt on loans jumped by 16.6% to £100.5bn at the end of March, up from £86.2bn a year earlier, according to the Student Loans Company. England accounted for £89.3bn of the total.

“Lots of prospective and current university students will see these figures and worry about being part of an increasing pool of graduate debt,” said Jake Butler of at money advice website Save the Student.

“As fees increase this number will only go up, as more and more money is lent out each year. There is some cause for concern here, mainly for the government, as it is now widely accepted that the majority of graduates will never pay off their whole student loan debt before it is wiped off 30 years after their graduation.”

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“Scrapping the Education Maintenance Allowance was a mistake”

Shakira Martin, President-elect of NUS, writes on FE Week: Scrapping the education maintenance allowance scheme in England was a mistake. Plain and simple. The coalition government did a U-turn on their education policy centred on ‘fairness and equality of opportunity for all’. Against all their rhetoric it took away from those who needed the help most. Labour’s commitment to reinstating the scheme if elected next month are a step in the right direction on the road to recovery for FE.

EMA made a significant difference to those from low-income backgrounds, covering essentials such as food, books and transport. It wasn’t perfect but it eased educational disadvantage and scrapping it has had major repercussions on students from lower-income families. At the time of implementation in 2004, financial constraints were seen as a barrier to involvement in post-16 education, it aimed to directly reduce the cost of education as a means for raising their participation (including influencing retention and attainment).

Many students were struggling then, and they’re still struggling now. We know from our own research that many find it difficult to cover their course costs with half stating that they had considered dropping out due to financial worries. This manifesto finally says to post-16 learners that our politicians are ready to invest in young people again and provide a real ladder to opportunities, skills and jobs.

[Read full column on FE Week website…]

If you vote Conservative on 8th June, you are voting to starve children

Teachers have reported “heartbreaking” increases in the numbers of poor children at primary schools going hungry.

Over half of surveyed teachers have children in their school who go hungry during school holidays, when no school meals are available. Most of those teachers also see children arrive at school hungry. Substantial numbers of teachers also report seeing children return from school holidays with signs of malnourishment.

One teacher said: “In addition to holiday hunger I have families who cannot cook a meal because their oven is broken and they cannot afford to get it repaired. I have families with disabled children who cannot easily leave the house and shop for affordable healthy food because it is too difficult and they have no help.”

Another teacher said: “It’s heart-breaking to hear children not wanting holidays because they don’t get to eat enough.”

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Student loan interest rate set to rise by a third to 6.1% after UK inflation surge

From The Guardian: Students appear to be paying a heavy price for the UK’s inflation surge after the Brexit vote, which will drive the interest rate on their loans up by a third to 6.1%.

The rise in inflation, driven by a decline in the value of the pound since June, means students will be charged substantially more interest on their loans, despite the fact that many other consumers are benefiting from record low interest rates. Personal loans from high street banks have rates starting at 2.8%, while five-year fixed-rate mortgages are available from 1.29%.

Student loan interest rates are tied to March’s retail price inflation figure, published on Tuesday. At the moment, new starters and current students are charged 4.6% – the March 2016 RPI figure of 1.6%, plus 3% – on their loans. But from September this will rise to 6.1%, made up of the March 2017 figure of 3.1%, plus 3%.

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High youth unemployment leaves £45bn hole in UK economy

From Daily Telegraph: High youth unemployment is costing the British economy £45bn per year, according to research from PwC, as well as blighting the careers of workers who miss out on a job in their teens and twenties. The proportion of 16- to 24-year olds not in education, employment or training – known as NEETs – is also uncomfortably high at 17pc.

[Read full article on Telegraph website…]


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