At a glance headlines: January 5, 2015


A call for a change in the law to protect vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds and new guidance for school governing bodies are among SecEd's at a glance headlines for January 5, 2015.

Cruelty change call

Calls have been made for a change in the law to better protect more than 42,000 vulnerable 16 and 17-year-olds. The criminal law for child cruelty, neglect and ill-treatment currently only covers children until their 16th birthday. The Children’s Society wants to see this raised to 18 and quotes official figures showing that last year 42,260 children aged 16 or 17 were considered by social services in England to be “in need” and at a greater risk of abuse and neglect. The charity is calling for provisions to be included in the Serious Crime Bill, currently going through Parliament, to close the loophole. Matthew Reed, chief executive of the charity, said: “It is nonsensical and unacceptable that adults cannot be prosecuted for behaviour against children aged 16 or 17 that would be considered cruelty if the victim was 15. If MPs are serious about stopping child cruelty – including child sexual exploitation – they must act to close this legal loophole.”

Governor guidance

A Framework for Governance has been published to help governing bodies and boards in any type of school to carry out their duties more effectively. The National Governors’ Association and the Wellcome Trust have jointly developed the framework, which sets out how governors can evaluate their own practice. The document offers “twenty key questions for a governing board to ask itself” and also looks at “how to set the strategic direction for a school” and “how to monitor progress against the strategy using high-level performance indicators”. The framework has been published today (Thursday, January 8) and all schools will be emailed an electronic copy or can download it online. Visit:

Question Time

A Question Time-style event featuring experts including Dr Kevan Collins, the chief executive of the Education Endowment Fund (EEF), is to take place at the Leadership and Training Centre at Shenley Brook End School in Milton Keynes on January 19. The EEF is responsible for managing the well-known Pupil Premium Toolkit and funds a range of educational research. Also on the panel for the debate will be Peter Kent, president of the Association of School and College Leaders, journalist Fiona Millar, and Jonathan Simons, head of education at Policy Exchange. Email or visit

Health warning

A poll has found that seven in 10 education professionals have gone into work despite feeling too ill to do their job properly. The survey by the British Heart Foundation also found that 45 per cent have put off visiting a doctor, while 25 per cent have postponed hospital visits because of their job. Forty-seven per cent of the education workers said that their work had had a negative impact on their health in the last five years. The BHF runs a free Health at Work programme, Visit:


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