The Tories are ‘fiddling the figures’ to make the case for Theresa May’s grammar schools vanity project, it was claimed today. Education Secretary Justine Greening will set out plans for the new selective schools in a speech today, saying all new grammars should prioritise poorer pupils. Speaking at a South London School, insisting the planned grammars will be “truly open to all”. The Tories claim 21% of pupils from ordinary working families are in an outstanding school, compared to 25% of those in families above the average income. The Department for Education is launching a consultation exercise to “better understand the needs of ordinary working families.” But the Tories’ definition of ‘ordinary working families’ excludes the more than 13% of secondary school pupils eligible for free school meals.
NEW grammar schools will ensure children from “just about managing” families no longer make do with an average education, the Government will vow today. Education Secretary Justine Greening will say those families are the “backbone of the economy” and helping their kids into good schools is vital for Brexit Britain. She will kick-start Theresa May’s schools revolution by insisting at St Mary’s University in London: “I believe that selection, in new 21st century state grammar schools, will add to the options available to truly help make the most of their talents. “The schools we will create will support young people from every background, not the privileged few.
Theresa May’s new wave of grammar schools must give priority to “ordinary working class families” as much as to children from poorer families eligible for free school meals, the education secretary will say. Justine Greening, in a speech briefed in advance, will say she wants selective education to benefit children from households with incomes of up to £33,000, moving the focus of education policy away from targeting the most disadvantaged households. Her plan for the school system, spelled out in a consultation document, was immediately criticised by Labour but amounts to the first attempt by ministers to define the “just about managing families” May had said her government would champion. “To be clear, this isn’t about creating brand new labels for our families and our children. It isn’t about singling out some for support – whilst leaving others alone,” Greening is to say in her speech at St Mary’s University in Twickenham.
Teachers have threatened to ‘put a nail in the coffin’ of the Government’s Sats programme by boycotting all primary school testing. It may mean hundreds of thousands of pupils are stopped from taking the tests, aimed at measuring progress and identifying issues. A major teaching union voted yesterday in favour of shunning the assessments, over fears they cause ‘suffering’ and ‘stress’ to children. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which has around 200,000 members, wants to join forces with other teaching unions to bring the testing regime to its knees. If successful, it would plunge the Government’s plans for reforms into chaos.
New grammar schools must take more pupils from poorer families, the Education Secretary will say. During a speech at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, Justine Greening will set out her vision for a new model of grammar schools which is “truly open for all” and “working for everyone”. Her comments come as a Government consultation found that families excluded from traditional measures of deprivation but with a household income below the national average find it harder to get into outstanding schools. This also means children in these households do not do as well as their wealthier peers.
BRITS travelling to Europe by ferry post-Brexit are unlikely to face any further checks, the UK Chamber of Shipping Chief has said. Guy Platten – who represents 170 members of the shipping industry – said there probably won’t be much of a difference for people making the crossing after we quit the EU. At the moment, travelling from Dover across the Channel requires a passport check on the way out. And Mr Platten said today that he doesn’t envisage it taking any extra time post-Brexit. “That doesn’t seem to be too much of a concern, because we’ve already got passport controls now,” he told The Sun Online. “Even if you have to purchase a visa – and I’m hoping that’s not the case – it’s not going to make a huge difference. “We’ve already got the infrastructure in place to check the passports.”
THE European Union (EU) is divided over what to do with the gaping hole left when Britain’s 73 MEPs leave Brussels for the final time. Some Europhiles want them replaced with pan-European politicians to the cost of the taxpayer. But critics said the EU is already unpopular enough without funding positions for more politicians. It would create the coveted “more Europe”, which Jean-Claude Juncker has mentioned on numerous occasions, at a time when anti-European sentiment is growing within the general populous. Paulo Rangel, a member of the EPP from Portugal, said the pan-European lists would “create more Eurocracy” at a time when “the mood is not very pro-European”. The idea of a pan-European list first reared its head in 2011 when it was floated by Andrew Duff MEP, but despite making it through the constitutional affairs committee it was deemed too integrationist and was never adopted.
The European Union (EU) told Hungary and Poland they face legal action if their populist governments continue refusing to take a share of illegal immigrants from the third world. Warsaw and Budapest have strongly opposed the bloc’s migration scheme, which seeks to move 160,000 people from Italy and Greece into other EU nations. Fewer than 20,000 people have been resettled so far even though the programme is due to end in September this year. “If Member States do not increase their relocations soon, the Commission will not hesitate to make use of its powers … for those which have not complied,” the bloc’s executive arm said in a statement. Italy, along with Germany, Sweden, Austria, and France have been vocal in demanding the EU cut subsidies to Hungary and Poland for the countries’ refusal to welcome migrants.
EU President Jean-Claude Juncker has insisted that Italy won’t leave the Euro despite the weight of evidence against that claim. Juncker was quoted yesterday: “Let’s clearly say that I rule out Italy leaving the Euro.” The latest polls out of Italy show anti-Euro parties surging in the polls, with the Five Star Movement polling over 30%, the Northern League on more than 12% and even more right-wing grouping the Brothers of Italy – National Alliance up to almost 5%. As Westmonster has reported before, around 60% of the Italian electorate now back parties that either want Euro withdrawal or are increasingly hostile when it comes to the single currency. Hmm, are you sure Jean-Claude?
BIG business was last night urged to wean itself off cheap foreign labour as figures revealed huge numbers of migrants in blue-collar jobs. Nearly 250,000 Eastern Europeans are employed in manufacturing — ten per cent of the sector’s total .And more than half a million EU nationals work in the wholesale and retail trade, including 66,000 Romanians and Bulgarians. The Office for National Statistics said overall more than 2.2million EU nationals aged 16 to 64 work in Britain. But 388,000 — 14 per cent — do not have a job. In total, foreign nationals account for 11.2 per cent of the UK workforce.
Immigration is “particularly important” to the wholesale and retail, hospitality and health sectors, which employ around 1.5 million non-UK nationals, according to an official analysis. Highlighting the severity of imposing curbs to immigration after Brexit research from the independent Office for National Statistics also shows that EU migrants account for as many as one in 10 of employees in some sectors of the British economy. The ONS data claims that more than two million migrants from the EU were employed in industries including manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and financial services during 2016.
More than half a million EU citizens were employed in Britain’s retail, hotel and restaurant industries last year, according to a government study published yesterday — highlighting the country’s reliance on migrant labour. A further 400,000 EU citizens worked in the financial and business services sector, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It reported that migrants from eastern Europe were likely to work more hours and earn lower wages than other workers, including Britons. It found a split between migrants from western EU states and those from the poorer, eastern European countries that have joined the union since 2004.
Immigration is particularly important to keep Britain’s health service and its wholesale and retail, public administration and hospitality trades going, with more than 1.5 million migrants working in these sectors, according to a new official analysis. The Office for National Statistics analysis also shows that migrants from eastern Europe are likely to work more hours and earn lower wages than other workers, partly reflecting their numbers in lower skilled jobs. They are also likely to be over-educated for the jobs they do. But they also show that migrants from western European countries are more likely to have a university degree, to be higher paid and to work in a job that matches their education. This split in profile between western and eastern European migrants working in Britain is echoed by their relative concentrations in the financial and business service sectors on the one hand and agriculture and manufacturing on the other. It also carries serious implications for ministers attempting to devise a post-Brexit immigration policy from Europe.
EU migrants make up more than one in 10 manufacturing sector workers in the UK, official figures have shown. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also said EU workers from outside the UK tended to work longer hours than the workforce average. And it said non-UK workers were more likely to be overqualified for the jobs they were doing. The government is planning to change the way migration is managed after Britain leaves the EU. It has not yet set out the model it will adopt once EU free movement rules no longer apply, but has pledged that the “brightest and best” will continue to be attracted to the UK. In a report, the ONS said that last year an estimated 3.4 million workers, amounting to 11% of the entire UK labour market, were foreign nationals. This number was made up of about 2.2 million EU nationals (7%) and 1.2 million non-EU nationals (4%).
Yesterday, Westmonster reported that around 600 migrants had gone missing after a fire destroyed their camp near Dunkirk, following a riot between rival Afghan and Kurdish gangs. Today, Doctors Without Borders, the group that run the camp, has admitted that 1,000 people are currently unaccounted for, and they think they know where they are heading… Corenne Torre, head of the group’s French operation told TheLocal that three gymnasiums were provided for the displaced migrants, but only around 500 were actually taken in. “In other words, around 1,000 are still unaccounted for.” Torre said that some may be hiding over fears of being placed with rival gangs, however, she admitted that she thinks most of them will be heading for the UK. TheLocal says: As most of the migrants are looking to move through to the UK, they often aren’t interested in the refugee centre in La Chappelle in Paris, meaning that they tend to stay on the streets.
Theresa May is set to announce a cap on rip-off energy bills within weeks – as EDF’s tariffs soar for the second time in only a few months. The French firm raised electricity costs by 8.4 per cent last month – but it sparked fury again yesterday with the news it will push through a second increase of 9 per cent in June. The combined rises will add close to £100 to annual bills, affecting millions of households. Critics said consumers were being taken for granted and the latest increase would ‘hit those already struggling’. But the Daily Mail understands the Government is working on a scheme to protect families which will include a cap, after pressure from MPs and campaigners to step in. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘We are concerned by the planned increases.
ENERGY giant EDF has announced an electricity price hike for the second time this year. From June 21, customers on standard tariffs will see electricity prices rise by 9% and gas prices will go up by 5.5%. The supplier previously increased electricity prices by 8.4% on March 1, although it cut gas prices in January. The average dual-fuel customer will pay an extra £78 a year, bringing the annual bill to £1,160, EDF said. Combining both increases will mean 1.5million EDF customers will pay 18.1% more for their electricity in 2017. The latest rise was immediately criticised by the energy regulator Ofgem, which said it was hard to justify. But EDF insisted the decision was “fair”. Chief executive Vincent de Rivaz said: “I know that price rises are never welcome, but the industry is facing significant cost increases.”
The health secretary has ordered an investigation into a series of baby deaths at an NHS trust, many of which involved a failure to monitor the baby’s heart rate correctly. There have been at least seven avoidable deaths in less than two years at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, according to a BBC investigation. Jeremy Hunt has asked NHS England and NHS Improvement, the regulator, to contact the families involved in the deaths, as well as other incidents at the trust, to ensure that they had been properly investigated. A failure to monitor babies’ heart rates during labour can lead to their brains being starved of oxygen if action is not taken to hasten birth.
Nurses will vote on whether to take strike action over pay after being awarded a below-inflation increase of just 1% – a real-terms cut that unions say compounds years of underpayment. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is canvassing the views of its 270,000 members across the UK following the pay award, announced at the end of last month. The RCN said that Government pay restrictions on the NHS since 2010 amount to a 14% real-terms pay cut for nursing staff that has contributed to tens of thousands of unfilled nursing posts. In an online poll, members will be asked if they wish to go on strike and they will be given the option of pursuing measures that fall short of industrial action.
US military bosses fear North Korea is ready to detonate a nuclear bomb it has placed in a tunnel. It is believed North Korea is in the final states of preparing for its sixth nuclear test. A Voice of America journalist tweeted that US government sources believe North Korea had placed a nuclear device in a tunnel and it could be detonated as early as this weekend. It comes after Washington-based 38 North, a website that monitors North Korea, said satellite images from Saturday showed vehicles and trailers at the Punggye-ri test site and signs that communications cables may have been laid to a test tunnel. The think tank said water appears to be being pumped out and was draining downhill “presumably to keep the tunnel dry for monitoring or communications equipment”.
NORTH Korea has ordered 600,000 residents in Pyongyang to evacuate immediately as war fears escalate, according to staggering reports. Russian newspaper Pravda Report claims 25% of the city’s residents have been told to flee. According to South Korean media, residents in the hermit kingdom have said goodbye to each other sparking concerns tyrannical Kim Jong-un could be about to act after months of nuclear weapon testing. The latest rumours come after North Korean officials announced a “big and important event” tomorrow. Foreign reporters have been told to prepare for the event on North Korea’s biggest national celebration called “Day of the Sun”. Around 200 foreign journalists are in Pyongyang as the country marks the 105th birth anniversary of its founding president Kim Il Sung on April 15.
A MASSIVE asteroid measuring around 2,000-ft is speeding straight in the direction of Earth. The ginormous space rock will come very close in space terms to the planet during a fly-by on April 19. And it will be passing so near that stargazers will have no problem seeing it in the sky. Asteroid 2014 JO25 was discovered a few years ago by astronomers working with the Catalina Sky Survey – past of NASA’s NEO Observations Programme. As well as its big size, the asteroid is also notable because of reflective qualities that make it twice as bright as the moon. And although the asteroid will be over a million miles from Earth, it is the nearest the space rock has ever come in 400 years. It was actually labelled a potentially hazardous asteroid in the Minor Planet Centre when it was first sighted.