23/11/2020: Covid fears prompt 38% rise in parents home educating

There has been a huge rise in the number of children removed from school to be home educated, with many parents saying they were driven by Covid fears. A survey of 151 local councils by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services suggests the number of home-schooled children in England rose 38%. The ADCS estimates as many as 75,668 children were home educated on 1 October, up from 54,656 a year earlier.

Source: BBC

23/11/2020: Children in mental health hospitals at risk of serious rights violations, charity warns

Children being treated in hospital for mental health problems are at risk of serious rights violations with “staggering numbers” still being placed on adult wards and subject to harmful restraint, seclusion and segregation, a study has found.

Source: Children and Young People Now

23/11/2020: Education of poorest pupils in England and Wales ‘suffers most during Covid isolation’

Four out of five schools with the poorest pupils in England and Wales do not have enough devices and internet access to ensure all self-isolating pupils can keep learning, according to a leading education charity. The lack of equipment means schools were having to dip into alternative budgets and that it was the the poorest pupils’ education that suffered during self-isolation, Teach First warned.

Source: Guardian

22/11/2020: Criminalise public sexual harassment in UK, charities say

Girls’ rights groups are calling for public sexual harassment to be criminalised in the UK after research suggested more than half of young women and girls were harassed on the street during the summer. A fifth (19%) of young women and girls aged between 14 and 21 experienced being catcalled, followed, groped, flashed or upskirted during the spring lockdown, according to polling by children’s charity Plan International and campaign group Our Streets Now.

Source: Guardian

20/11/2020: Facebook’s Instagram ‘failed self-harm responsibilities’

Children’s charity the NSPCC has said a drop in Facebook’s removal of harmful content was a “significant failure in corporate responsibility”. Facebook’s own records show its Instagram app removed almost 80% less graphic content about suicide and self-harm between April and June this year than in the previous quarter. Covid restrictions meant most of its content moderators were sent home.

Source: BBC

20/11/2020: Covid-19 ‘having a devastating impact on children’s rights’

The Covid-19 pandemic is having a “devastating impact on children’s rights, wellbeing and futures”, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has warned. In a report to the government on the impact of the health crisis on existing inequalities faced by young people, the EHRC say “key concerns include more children being pushed into poverty, widening educational inequalities and worsening mental health”.

Source: Children and Young People Now

19/11/2020: Homophobic and racist online bullying increasing, research warns

Homophobic and racist cyber bullying among children has trebled since 2015, a new survey has revealed. The survey found that 15 per cent of online bullying messages among children is LGBT+ related, compared with four per cent in 2015. Over the same period the proportion of racist bullying online rose from four to 13 per cent, according to research by young people’s consultancy and internet industry body Internet Matters, from their study of around 15,000 pupils which began last year.

Source: Children and Young People Now

19/11/2020: Education committee launches prison learning inquiry

The government’s education committee has launched an inquiry into prison education including across the youth custody estate. The inquiry will examine to what degree prisoners can access suitable education that meets their needs, how effective current arrangements are in ensuring prisoners continue in training and employment after their release and the impact of this on reoffending rates, the committee said.

Source: Children and Young People Now

19/11/2020: Lords’ debate ramps up calls for outright ban of unregulated placements

Campaigners have reiterated calls for unregulated placements for all under-18s in care to be banned following a debate in the House of Lords. The calls came folowing a debate over a report by the Children’s Commissioner for England, Unregulated: children in care living in semi-independent accommodation, in which Baroness Berridge, parliamentary under-secretary of state for education, appeared to dismiss the need for an outright ban.

Source: Children and Young People Now

19/11/2020: The Home Office launch ‘Something’s Not Right’ Campaign

The Home Office has joined forces with charities including the IWF, the Marie Collins Foundation, the NSPCC, Barnardo’s and The Children’s Society to launch a new campaign to protect victims of child abuse. The month-long campaign, ‘Something’s Not Right’, encourages young people to recognise different forms of abuse, report it and get help. The campaign will see animated adverts aimed at secondary school pupils aged 13+, running across Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Young people will be directed to a dedicated page on the NSPCC service Childline where they can access information and seek support.

Source: South West Grid for Learning

19/11/2020: Court of Appeal judgment – sending children to the Crown Court should be rare

The Court examined the circumstances in which BB, a child aged 13 charged with robbery and attempted robbery, was sent to the Crown Court for trial. The Court quashed the decision to send BB’s case to the Crown Court and made clear that the guidance to be applied in such cases was set out by Sir Brian Leveson in R (on the application of the DPP) v South Tyneside Youth Court [2015] EWHC 1455 (Admin) which makes clear that the circumstances in which a child is sent to the Crown Court for trial should be rare, and that it would be very rare for a defendant under the age of 15 to be sent to the Crown Court for trial.

Source: Youth Justice Legal Centre

17/11/2020: Sharp rise in children investigated over far-right links – including youngsters under 10

Children under the age of 10 in the UK are being investigated over their links to far-right extremism, Sky News has found. Home Office figures show a dramatic rise in the number of under-18s referred to the government’s counter-terrorism programme Channel over concerns about their possible involvement with the far-right. A total of 682 children were referred for this reason in 2017-18, compared with 131 in 2014-15 – a more than five-fold increase, according to figures obtained through a freedom of information request.

Source: Sky

17/11/2020: ‘The enemy in our minds was Islam’: Why boy, 14, joined the far-right – and how he escaped

What you’re about to read will be difficult to stomach. It involves a boy called John who at just 14 was lied to and manipulated into holding abhorrent and racist views. I first met John at the end of October in a draughty room in a former warehouse to interview him. He’s a polite, confident young man – I’d even goes as far to say he’s sweet.

Source: Sky

17/11/2020: TikTok adds tougher parental controls

TikTok is making it easier for parents to safeguard their children on its video-sharing app. New features include the ability to change the youngster’s settings remotely to block them from carrying out searches, and to prevent strangers from seeing their posts. Children can still override these limitations but not without their parents being told.

Source: BBC

16/11/2020: Bullying: ‘They’d spit at me and film it’

“They’d spit at me, take my glasses off and record it, thinking it was funny then send it round different group chats or post it on their Snapchat stories.” This is Abigail’s story – she’s a 17-year-old college student from Manchester, who dreams of becoming a primary school teacher. She was bullied throughout secondary school and says she had to move several times to escape. A survey by youth charity Ditch the Label suggests a quarter of 12-18 year olds in the UK have been bullied.

Source: BBC

16/11/2020: #Chances4Children: UK unites for Anti-Bullying Week

New research by the Anti-Bullying Alliance shows that despite the pandemic leading to school closures a third of children in England said that they have been victims during the last six months. A poll of 2,000 11- to 16-year-olds, published to mark Anti-Bullying Week, which runs from 16 to 21 November, found that one in five children said they were on the receiving end of bullying behaviour once per week or more.

Source: Children and Young People Now

16/11/2020: One in five children in England and Wales experienced online bullying in 2019

Nearly one in five children experienced some form of online bullying last year, figures show, amid warnings that the problem has worsened during lockdown. More than half (52%) of the children who were bullied online went on to say that they would not describe the behaviour involved as bullying, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), while one in four did not tell anyone.

Source: Guardian

14/11/2020: Children more likely to be infected in second wave

The number of school-age children with coronavirus has risen “significantly” in the second wave compared with the first, according to the government’s scientific advisers. Children are now more likely than adults to be the person bringing a Covid infection into a household. But families with children are at no higher risk of severe illness.

Source: BBC

14/11/2020: ‘It was damaging him’: the spiralling number of children refusing to go to school

For Jen Smith, the autumn term started, as always, with the prospect of managing the delicate process of her children’s school attendance. Both autistic, they were in mainstream classes until two years ago; now in specialist provision, they still faced deep-seated anxiety about school. “My son’s anxiety began when he needed a disabled toilet key at school, but in the time it took to get one he felt he couldn’t go to the toilet and that is when the anxiety started building,” she says.

Source: Guardian

13/11/2020: Instagram most recorded platform used in child grooming crimes during lockdown

Freedom of Information responses from 38 police forces in England and Wales show that 1,220 offences of sexual communication with a child were recorded in the first 3 months of lockdown.

Source: NSPCC