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Parents face £120 fines if they don’t send kids back to school in September

Some updates…

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Chris McAndrew

Today the education secretary, Gavin Williamson, made an announcement to the House of Commons about schools reopening in September.

Pupils will be forming class or year ‘bubbles’, which will allow children to mix without social distancing, by staggering start and finish times for groups to keep them apart during breaks and lunch.

For the limited number of students that have been back in classrooms recently, they have been made to practise social distancing – however, many parents have raised concerns regarding the plausibility of this, particularly with young children. 

According to additional guidance seen by the Telegraph, kids could risk expulsion if they disobey bubble or hygiene rules. 

However, teachers are expected to be given guidance on enforcing these measures, and it’s expected the possibility of being expelled would only be used ‘as a last resort’ if they break the rules.

Andy Falconer/Unsplash

It will be a ‘mandatory’ return to school for all pupils in September, the education secretary announced, and as such parents could be fined £120 if they don’t send their kids back at the start of the autumn term.

Lunch breaks will be staggered to keep bubbles apart and if a pupil tests positive for coronavirus, classmates will have to self-isolate. 

On top of that, teachers have been told to overhaul the curriculum to ‘address gaps in knowledge’, due to the amount of school kids have missed.

There will be ‘substantial modifications’ to the curriculum to help children catch up from their six months out because of lockdown.

Taylor Wilcox/Unsplash

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I know these past three months have been some of the most challenging that schools have faced.

“What they have achieved to make sure that young people are kept safe and can continue to learn during this period is remarkable, and I am incredibly grateful for that.


“Nothing can replace being in the classroom, so ever since schools, colleges and nurseries closed to most children, we have been working hard to ensure they can reopen as soon as possible.

“We have already seen more than 1.5 million children and young people return, but we must make sure all pupils can go back to school in September, giving them the opportunity to thrive and fulfill their potential.

“I want to reassure parents and families that we are doing everything we can to make sure schools, nurseries, colleges and other providers are as safe as possible for children and staff, and will continue to work closely with the country’s best scientific and medical experts to ensure that is the case.”

CDC/unsplash

And finally, classrooms will be rearranged to enable social distancing and windows will be open to allow for airflow. 

The government continues to insist it is safe for all children to go back to school if they can, and that it could be more detrimental to them for missing out on education.

This comes despite the recent outbreak in Leicester having a high infection rate in youngsters. 

You can see all of the government’s latest guidance here.

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Text message scammer found and arrested by police in Manchester city centre hotel

44,000 mobile phone contacts were found on the man’s devices

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GMP

A man suspected of sending over 26,000 fraudulent text messages was arrested by police officers yesterday afternoon.

The twenty-one year old, who has not yet been named, was found by officers in a hotel down Charles Street in the city centre, at around 3pm. Equipment used as part of a text message scam to defraud people – known as phishing – was also found in his hotel room.

The man was subsequently arrested at the scene.

GMP

Detectives from the City of Manchester Central division and Cybercrime Team seized the electronic equipment and his car as a part of their enquiries.

It is estimated that yesterday alone, around 26,000 text messages had already been sent from the devices, all claiming to be from Hermes asking for bank details after a missed delivery.

A total of 44,000 mobile phone contacts are also believed to have been stored on the devices.

Detective Inspector Mark Astbury, of GMP’s City of Manchester Central division, said: “What we have uncovered here are potentially the components of a highly sophisticated and authentic scam that I know many people not just in Greater Manchester but across the country have been potential victims of in recent weeks and months.

@glvrdru / Unsplash

“We have a man in custody and various items of potential evidence that we have seized and this is due to the initiative of the hotel staff, who acted on their suspicions, and the subsequent response from our neighbourhood officers in the city centre.

“These are the very early stages of what promises to be a complex and dynamic investigation, and I would like to take the opportunity to remind the public to ensure they keep remaining alert to the daily risks that unscrupulous cyber criminals pose to them by sending these fraudulent messages.”

GMP advise that anyone believing to be affected by this scam, any other phishing attempts or for more information, they can get in touch here.

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Teen stops young girl being taken by stranger claiming to be ‘dad’s friend’ as she walked home from school

Emma’s quick thinking saved the school girl from being taken by a stranger

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A teenage girl has been praised for her quick thinking as she prevented a child being taken from a stranger.

Fifteen year old Emma Carlile was walking home from school through Wallasey Village in Wirral, Merseyside, when she noticed a man approaching a school girl and telling her that he was her ‘dad’s mate.’

Emma noticed that the girl, who is believed to be around eleven years old, looked alarmed, so decided to intervene.

Emma’s dad, Rik, told the Liverpool Echo: “She said she was walking along and she saw a ‘creepy looking man’ approach a young girl and put his arm around her, which she thought looked odd.

Emma Carlile / Facebook

“She noticed when the man approached her she looked a bit startled and then she heard the man say, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, don’t you remember me? I’ve been to your house before’.”

Rik continued: “The girl was saying ‘no, I don’t remember’ but he kept going on saying, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, I’ve met you before.’ At one point, the girl tried to get her phone out and the man said, ‘no you don’t need to ring anyone, you know who I am, I’m your dad’s mate.’”

Emma followed them around a corner and, as they approached a crossing, shouted the first name that came into her head. 

She said: “Hey Bethany! Dad will be home tonight from police training.”

The girl apparently looked at her and looked startled but relieved at the same time. As soon as Emma spoke, the man quickly walked away down towards Wallasey Village train station.

Rept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons

Rik said that Emma walked with the girl until she was home safely and informed her parents about what had just happened. 

Rik shared his daughter’s encounter on Facebook to warn people with children walking home alone from school. He wrote: “WARNING! My 15 year old daughter was walking home from Weatherhead today through Wallasey village and witnessed an older man walk up to a girl with a Harry Potter backpack and a green coat.

“The man put his arm around her claiming he was her “dads friend,” My daughter recognised that the girl looked alarmed and didn’t know the man and followed them from by the co-op to the crossing by the petrol station.

“Please make your children aware if they walk home alone.”

Emma described the man as being around 6ft tall with short grey hair and stubble. He was of large build wearing a green t-shirt and black trousers.

If you have any information, you can contact Merseyside Police on 0151 709 6010 or, alternatively, you can get in touch online here.

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Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th

We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…

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Number 10 / Flickr & Kristoffer Trolle / Flickr

Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.

The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.

According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.

As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.

Number 10 / Flickr

The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.

Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim. 

Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.

This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th. 

Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.

“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.

“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”

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