Displaying items by tag: United Kingdom

Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:44

Using online teaching to cut costs

Forty schools will use a new virtual messaging tool for pupils to get online help from vetted subject experts in the autumn term to avoid hiring new staff amid a budget crisis. The tool, askOLA, was designed to help pupils study after school but will now be made available during lessons. Over 200 schools are expected to use askOLA by the end of the autumn term, giving 20,000 pupils access during lessons. Pupils connect to an online teaching assistant in less than three minutes, and are coached using a chat box and a virtual whiteboard until they understand. The online teachers start each session by asking the pupil how they are, to assess their mental health and whether they are able to deal with the learning problem.

Published in British Isles

Children as young as 11 are being violently attacked by teenagers who film the assaults called ‘patterning’. They post the videos across social media to embarrass the victim. One mother got a phone call from her daughter screaming 'Mum, please. They've got me. They've got my hair, it’s falling out. They’re stomping all over me.' In the background she heard 'Kick her again. She's down, kick her again.' Parents believe the police do not respond fast enough, and have taken the matter into their own hands, asking the BBC to show the seriousness of the attacks by the teenagers. Recently parents gathered outside Chorley police station holding large photos of their children to draw public attention to the violence. One mother was told her daughter was one blow away from losing her life. Mothers claim police foot patrols are non-existent, and when they call 999 nothing happens. Gang members also attack members of the public, bars, and businesses.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:38

Police crackdown on crime

Merseyside police made 32 arrests, carried out 66 stop and searches, executed 11 warrants, and seized eight vehicles in 24 hours as they cracked down on organised crime after the fatal shooting of Olivia Pratt-Korbel. A total of 202 people have now been arrested. The latest arrests were part of Operation Miller, the force's effort to confront and bring down organised crime in the area. A 31-year-old man was arrested for possession of a lock knife, over £9,000 in cash, a quantity of white powder and cannabis when they searched his home. Another was arrested when they searched his home and found a stolen Rolex watch. Two other men were arrested for stealing a car, dangerous driving, possession of bladed articles, and assaulting police. Officers have also been deployed on major routes in and out of the city targeting suspected criminals.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:34

Nadhim Zahawi visits US for talks

The UK chancellor Nadhim Zahawi visited the USA for cost-of-living talks during what could be his final week in the job. The two candidates for PM have signalled they will offer more help when elected, though neither has given details. Mr Zahawi insists he has been working tirelessly to come up with proposals for either leadership candidate to bring in more support. The chancellor met banking chiefs in New York to discuss co-operating on financial services, before heading to Washington DC to discuss support for Ukraine, the global economic outlook, and energy security. He said that global pressures must be overcome through global efforts.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 01 September 2022 21:31

Sturgeon strike chaos

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has faced scathing criticism over her handling of the chaos caused by binmen striking in over 60% of Scotland’s councils until the end of August. Walkouts in a further twenty councils start on 6 September. While piles of rat-infested rubbish line Scotland’s streets, Ms Sturgeon is having rubbish collected from her official residence by taxpayer-funded contractors. Teachers are also to ballot for industrial action, which would see primary schools and nurseries shut. Cleaners, janitors, catering staff and pupil support staff will walk out from 6 to 8 September, forcing the closure of a thousand schools and nurseries. Over 80% of Unite members from Scotland’s exam board have also voted to walk out following the pay dispute. Mail and train workers will also strike in September.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 26 August 2022 10:38

9-year-old Olivia shot dead

Joseph Nee, a drug dealer and thief, was being chased by a man with a handgun. As Olivia’s mum opened the door to see what the noise was outside, he ran into the house. Her mother was shot twice as she tried to shut the door, and Olivia was also killed. The gunman ran away. Nee escaped to hospital in a car while Olivia and her mother were left bleeding. Olivia's school teacher said, ‘Olivia was a ray of sunshine and very popular with all her peers’. Nee is stable in hospital and will be returned to prison (he was out on licence to keep the peace). He has no links to the family. In the hunt for the gunman police have been given the same name by two different sources. Police said the investigations into Olivia's death is high-priority, as are the deaths of two other innocent victims this week, Ashley Dale and Sam Rimmer.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 26 August 2022 10:32

Potential energy crisis?

An annual energy industry exercise to prepare the UK for a possible gas supply emergency has been scaled up to four days instead of two. The potential scenarios include rationing electricity. Industry links the decision to extend the drill to the seriousness of the energy challenges forecast for this winter. The Government says it is a routine part of the energy industry calendar, and insists there is no risk to winter’s gas supplies. A freedom of information request found that business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has not sought any advice from government officials on possible energy rationing. Energy experts have expressed surprise, particularly as other countries are working on such plans. The Government said this was because the UK had one of the most reliable and diverse energy systems in the world, thanks to investment in renewables, nuclear power, and the North Sea oil and gas industry.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 26 August 2022 10:29

Criminal barristers on strike

English and Welsh barristers will go on an indefinite, uninterrupted strike from 5 September. Recently they have been striking on alternate weeks in a dispute over pay, working conditions and legal aid funding. The strikes will delay thousands of cases, leaving victims and the accused waiting longer for justice. The Criminal Bar Association said the strike action was a last resort, after warning signs coming for many years. Barristers have endured their income collapsing, cuts, and underfunding. Their income has decreased 28% since 2006. Court cases are not going ahead because there are not enough barristers to defend or prosecute. A solution would be an injection of money into the backlog of cases that barristers are working on (currently 60,000 cases). It would cost the government £1.1m per month. It is costing much more for the courts to sit empty.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 26 August 2022 10:25

Back to the office to save jobs

Companies were forced to give bribes to cajole employees to return to the office last year: free breakfast, ice cream and even popcorn to workers who came in. Now bribes are replaced with stern summons issued to workers still wanting to stay at home. Apple’s chief executive ordered every employee to return to the office three days a week from September. That is the latest in similar demands issued by other companies, who all feel that office life improves productivity. But efforts to lure staff back may not be necessary when the country plunges into recession. Experts and City professionals are now saying workers are keen to get back in front of managers to save their jobs as a crisis looms. However, as the harsh reality of the cost-of-living crisis hits, they will still have to escort some of their colleagues to the door anyway.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 26 August 2022 10:20

Back-to-school costs

Parents are facing buying expensive school uniforms in time for the new academicl year. In 2020 the average cost of a uniform was £337 for secondary schools, £315 for primary schools. This year a quarter of parents will try to reuse old school items rather than buying new, according to Barclaycard research. One in five are donating old uniforms to others who cannot afford new ones. Demand for free school uniforms has rocketed recently. Although a new law protecting parents from unnecessary spending on branded items for school uniform costs will come into effect in September 2022, schools have until September 2023 to introduce change. Pray for schools quickly and thoroughly to review their uniform policies to make them more cost-effective sooner rather than later.

Published in British Isles