Social exclusion

Free period products to be available in schools and colleges in England | Education

Tampons, sanitary pads and other period products will be made freely available to all state schools and colleges in England starting next week, with the launch of a scheme funded by the Department for Education. The scheme follows the government’s commitment last year to pay for sanitary products for primary and secondary schools, in an effort to tackle “period poverty”, which can cause girls from low-income families to missschool. “We know that it is not easy for everyone to access…

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London council launches free school meals pilot scheme | Education

A scheme to offer pupils free school breakfast and lunch irrespective of income has been launched in an attempt to tackle the growing food poverty crisis in parts of the UK. Hammersmith and Fulham council rolled out the scheme in west London on Wednesday. It said the national free school meals system was not working, leaving many children going to school hungry and remaining hungry throughout the day. Officials say the threshold for families to qualify for free school meals…

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Everyone welcome: inside the schools that haven’t expelled a child since 2013 | Education

Jason Thurley, headteacher at Beacon academy, near Grimsby, leans across the table explaining why yet another of his pupils was excluded before joining the school. “He’d brought in a £1 potato gun. It was at the bottom of his bag and so he goes up to his form tutor and says, ‘I don’t want to get into trouble with this, sir, can you take it?’ And he gets permanently excluded. The school said ‘we have a zero-tolerance policy on firearms’.”…

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Headteacher Judy Shaw: ‘My staff are fantastic but they can’t fight poverty’ | Education

On Judy Shaw’s first day as a headteacher, a man came to show her one of the school’s vast brick walls. She recalls: “He said, ‘Is that pointing all right for you then?’ and I stood there and I thought, this job is not what I thought it was going to be.” But 14 years later Shaw is still headteacher of Tuel Lane infant school in Sowerby Bridge, a town nestled along the River Calder in West Yorkshire. In that…

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‘Many of our children don’t get presents’: schools open over Christmas for families with nothing | Education

Sammy will wake up on Christmas morning with little hope of a visit from Santa. He didn’t get a present last Christmas and it is unlikely he will get one this year, because his mother struggles just to put food on the table. But it is not all gloom for the lively eight-year-old. Next Monday, 23 December, his school will reopen and the teachers and support staff will return, unpaid, to organise a huge “Christmas Eve Eve” party for the…

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‘Working-class children get less of everything in education – including respect’ | Education

When Diane Reay, Cambridge University professor of education, started researching her book about working class children’s experiences of education, she had no idea just how much inequality she would uncover in state schools today. “The most important thing I found out was that we are still educating different social classes for different functions in society.” She expected to find the English state system was providing roughly the same education for all. “But it doesn’t. Even within a comprehensive school, when…

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US entrepreneur sets up Oxford scholarship for black UK students | Education

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur is to fund Oxford university’s first dedicated scholarship for disadvantaged black British students, the university has announced. Arlan Hamilton, the founder of Backstage Capital, which specialises in supporting startups by overlooked groups, is to donate more than £200,000 to establish the fund and pay the tuition fees and living expenses for a three-year undergraduate degree. The Oxford-Arlan Hamilton and Earline Butler Sims scholarship, named in part as a living tribute to Hamilton’s mother, will be open…

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Call for reform of pupil exclusions ‘as schools unaware of legal duties’ | Education

The law reform group Justice has called for a radical overhaul of exclusions amid concerns that too many schools do not fully understand their legal duties and that the appeal process available to parents wishing to challenge an exclusion is inadequate. According to Justice, there are “serious weaknesses” in a system that excludes, sometimes unlawfully, a disproportionate numbers of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (Send) and those from a minority background. One of the problems, its report said,…

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School’s back – but some parents can’t keep up with cost of branded uniforms | Education

Charities and community groups aiming to lower the cost of buying school uniforms for low-income families say they cannot keep pace with rocketing demand, as parents struggle to afford essential items for their children in the run-up to the start of the new school year. The popularity of groups offering free donations and secondhand school uniforms for swap has risen sharply this year and organisers say they have been inundated with thousands of requests for items over the past six…

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Children in need of speech and language therapy face postcode lottery | Education

Spending on speech and language therapy has fallen in many areas of the country and children in need of SLT are subject to a postcode lottery of provision because of huge disparities across England, research has found. The study by the children’s commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, says that too many vulnerable young children are missing out on vital support in their earliest years, with far-reaching implications for their progress and life chances. It is the first time data has…

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Schools in England to give extra lessons on dangers of knives | Education

Pupils in schools in England are to be given additional lessons before the summer holidays warning them of the dangers of carrying knives. Children at risk of knife crime are known to be vulnerable during the long summer break, especially if they have time on their hands and, with the schools shut, have no safe space. Campaigners say that, due to government cuts to youth services, there is also a shortage of activities for young people during the six-week holiday.…

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Pupils lose out on £65m of free school meals money, says charity | Education

Secondary school pupils from the most disadvantaged families who are entitled to free school meals are losing out on tens of millions of pounds every year in unspent lunch funds, according to an investigation by a charity. Citizens UK said free school meals money that is not spent by a pupil, perhaps because they are off sick or have missed lunch due to sport commitments, or have not spent the full amount – , is retained by the school meal…

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