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Pupils face full ban on mobile phones in UK schools under new plans from the education secretary

Headteachers and teaching unions have challenged the proposal

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@pongsawat / Unsplash & Catholic Church England & Wales / Flickr

Mobile phones could be banned in all schools as part of a government clampdown on poor discipline in classrooms across the UK.

The education secretary Gavin Williamson said he wants a ban on mobile phones as he launched a consultation on pupil behaviour and discipline in schools, The Guardian reported.

He said he wanted to make the school day ‘mobile-free’ to help ensure that classrooms remain calm and pupils can overcome the impact of the pandemic.

He said: “Mobile phones are not just distracting, but when misused or overused, they can have a damaging effect on a pupil’s mental health and wellbeing. I want to put an end to this, making the school day mobile-free.”

@jricard / Unsplash

Williamson also urged teachers, parents and other school staff to share their views and policies on managing good behaviour in classrooms before he updates government guidance on behaviour, discipline, suspensions and permanent exclusions later this year.

When announcing his plan, he stated: “No parent wants to send their child to a school where poor behaviour is rife. Every school should be a safe place that allows young people to thrive and teachers to excel.

“In order for us to help pupils overcome the challenges from the pandemic and level up opportunity for all young people, we need to ensure they can benefit from calm classrooms which support them to thrive.”

However, headteachers and teaching unions have opposed the proposal, insisting that mobile phone policies were a matter for schools. The education secretary was also accused of using the issue as a distraction from the government’s failures on education during the pandemic.

Catholic Church England & Wales / Flickr

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the education secretary is ‘obsessed’ with mobile phones in schools: “In reality, every school will already have a robust policy on the use of mobile phones; it isn’t some sort of digital free-for-all.

“Frankly, school and college leaders would prefer the education secretary to be delivering an ambitious post-pandemic recovery plan and setting out how he intends to minimise educational disruption next term, rather than playing to backbenchers on the subject of behaviour.”

As well as the mobile phone policy, the government is looking at introducing ‘removal rooms’ and ‘managed moves’ where a pupil would be transferred to another school as a way of avoiding a formal expulsion.

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Sue Gray report set to be ‘published in full next week’ as partygate investigation ends

The police announced the end of their investigation today

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The long-awaited Sue Gray report into Downing Street misconduct during the Covid pandemic is due to be published in full next week as the police’s investigation concludes.

The report – which investigated a series of alleged breaches of Covid lockdown in 10 Downing Street and Whitehall – was completed in January, but the publication of the full document was delayed at the request of the Metropolitan Police as they completed their own investigation.

But today, the police announced their inquiry into Downing Street lockdown breaches has come to an end, meaning Gray’s report could be published as soon as next week.

A source close to Gray and her team said she now intends to publish her report ‘as soon as possible’, adding that it could come as early as next week, according to The Independent.

The shortened version of Gray’s report noted that there was a ‘serious failure to observe not just the high standards expected of those working at the heart of Government, but also of the standards expected of the entire British population at the time’.

Gray also stated that because the Government was asking citizens to accept far-reaching restrictions on their lives, some of the behaviour surrounding these gatherings is ‘difficult to justify’.

Stand-out points from the report include:

  • There were failures of leadership and judgment by different parts of No 10 and the Cabinet Office at different times.
  • The excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate in a professional workplace at any time.
  • The use of the garden at No 10 Downing Street should be primarily for the Prime Minister and the private residents of No 10 and No 11 Downing Street.
  • The leadership structures are fragmented and complicated and this has sometimes led to the blurring of lines of accountability.
  • Some staff wanted to raise concerns about behaviours they witnessed at work but at times felt unable to do so.

Flickr / Number 10

The police’s investigation resulted in a total of 126 fines, known as Fixed Penalty Notices, being issued for events across eight different dates.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were both fined for their involvement in parties and events held during the lockdowns.

Twenty-eight people have been issued with more than one fine, the force added.

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Full judicial review into inquest of Yousef Makki granted by judge

JUST IN

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Justice for Yousef Makki / Facebook

A judge has granted permission for a full judicial review into the inquest of Burnage schoolboy Yousef Makki.

The family of the seventeen-year-old – who died after being stabbed by friend Joshua Molnar in Hale Barnes in 2019 – called for a review to overturn the coroner’s verdict on his death, which failed to conclude whether he had died either unlawfully or accidentally.

An application was made to High Court by a QC acting for Yousef’s father, Ghaleb Makki and, today (May 18th), at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre, the review was granted.

Yousef’s father said of the decision: “There’s still a long way to go, but it’s a small step in the right direction.”

Matthew Stanbury, representing the Makki family, claimed the coroner’s ruling was ‘inevitable’ due to the failure to analyse and ‘grapple’ with central issues in the case. 

Mr. Stanbury said: “Today is a significant step forward and we are optimistic about getting a fresh inquest.”

Yousef died after being fatally stabbed in the heart by Joshua following an argument on the evening of March 2nd 2019.

The former public school student had met Joshua at Manchester Grammar School, where he had won a bursary to attend.

Joshua, who comes from a wealthy family in Hale, later admitted to stabbing Makki with a knife he had bought online ‘with ease’ during a school break time.

Justice for Yousef Makki / Facebook

However, a jury acquitted Joshua, now twenty, of murder and manslaughter later that year, with him instead been handed a sixteen-month detention and training order after admitting possessing the knife which inflicted the fatal injury and lying to police at the scene.

He says he acted in self-defence, alleging Yousef pushed and punched him and called him ‘p*ssy’.

Following November’s inquest, Senior South Manchester Coroner Alison Mutch recorded a narrative conclusion, saying: “Yousef died from complications of a stab wound to chest.

“The precise circumstances in which he was wounded cannot, on balance of probabilities, be ascertained.”

The family’s formal application argued the coroner’s ruling was ‘unreasonable’ as it ‘failed to address or make findings on central matters in the case such as to enable her to reach a conclusion – on the balance of probabilities – as to the lawfulness of the killing’.

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Teenage girl rushed to hospital after being ‘badly’ bitten on face by dog

The teenage girl was allegedly helping an elderly man get his dog back into its harness

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Google Maps & GMP

Police are appealing for information after a teenage girl was ‘badly’ bitten on the face by a dog in a Trafford park.

The incident happened in Navigation Park in Altrincham last night (May 17th) at around 9pm, when the victim, aged seventeen, attempted to put the dog’s harness back on.

While she was doing this, the dog allegedly bit her on the face and cheek, causing ‘substantial’ injuries.

She then had to go to the hospital for treatment.

Google Maps

In a post on the GMP Trafford South Facebook page, police implored for witnesses to come forward with more information about the incident and the man and dog involved.

The statement reads: “On the evening of 17th May 2022, at around 2100hrs, there has been an incident in Navigation Park, Altrincham involving a male who was in company with a dog and a 17-year-old female who has been badly bitten by the dog present. 

“The male has been described as a white male, approximately 70 years old, around 5ft 9, unstable on his feet, wearing a long brown leather jacket, with a bobble hat and a walking stick.”

The police went on to describe the dog as a ‘mostly white dog, similar to a Labrador however crossed with another breed with a small amount of ginger fur on its back’.

It was also noted that the dog was ‘quite skinny’ and wore a red harness.

The statement continued: “The female had been helping the owner put the dog’s harness on when the dog has bitten the female to the face, causing a substantial injury to her mouth and her cheek, requiring her to have to attend hospital for treatment.”

Any witnesses or anyone with information on the incident have been urged to get in touch with the police via 101 or Live Chat in reference to Log 3423- 17/05/22.

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