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Unofficial exclusions leave thousands of vulnerable children without education

Unofficial exclusions leave thousands of vulnerable children without education

The government and local authorities are failing to identify vulnerable children who are being denied an education illegally, a Guardian investigation has found.

Experts fear thousands of under-16s are falling out of the system after being “unofficially excluded” from schools.

Councils have a statutory duty to provide full-time education to children in their borough – an obligation strengthened by the government in 2011. Since then there has been mounting evidence that some schools are using unofficial exclusions to push children out.

Local authority education staff say cuts to their resources are making it difficult to track these cases.

Freedom of information requests from the Guardian have established that the Department for Education (DfE) is not collecting figures nor monitoring local authorities’ performance, despite warnings from both Ofsted and the local government ombudsman in the last two years that it was an area of concern. Read more.

John Domokes | The Guardian | 15th November 2012

Kent police officers arrested over crime statistics ‘irregularities’

Five detectives are being questioned in an anti-corruption probe into the alleged manipulation of crime statistics to meet detection targets.

Kent police said on Thursday the officers – understood to be a detective inspector, detective sergeant and three detective constables – had been arrested “over allegations of administrative irregularities” relating to prisoners.

The quality of crime detection statistics was questioned recently in an investigation by BBC Radio 4’s Law in Action, which revealed that the practice of asking prisoners to admit TICs accounted for 69,000 offences in 2010. The figures – obtained under the Freedom of Information Act – showed that TICs accounted for 35% of domestic burglaries. Read more.

Sandra Laville | The Guardian | 15th November 2012

Victoria Line’s train speed a state secret: TfL refuse to reveal details on ‘national security’ grounds

Transport for London is locked in a bizarre secrecy battle after refusing to reveal the speed of Victoria line trains on the grounds of “national security”.

The Mayor’s transport agency has appealed to three judges to block the release of data that it says would make it easier to mount a terror attack on the Tube, such as the July 7 bombings in 2005 that killed 52 innocent passengers.

TfL says safety concerns about evacuating passengers, providing access for emergency crews and being able to move trains out of danger are “exacerbated” on the Victoria line – the only Tube line to run entirely underground.

It is believed to be the first time since the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act 12 years ago that TfL, which receives about 2,000 requests a year, has appealed against a commissioner’s ruling. Read more.

Ross Lydall | The Evening Standard | 15th November 2012

Numbers of Northamptonshire runaway children more than doubled in four years

Children trying to escape problems at home or school by running away are rising at alarming rates in Northamptonshire, a charity said.

The statistics collated by Railway Children from Freedom of Information requests to Northamptonshire Police show the number of Under 18s reported missing was 885 in 2008 then 1,827 in 2011. Charity bosses said they expected the numbers to increase again by the end of 2012.

But it also warned the true statistics will actually be even greater and urged the parents to tackle the issue at its cause, by talking to their children. Read more.

Nick Spoors | Northamptonshire Echo | 15th November 2012

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