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Stockport school cancels visit over Ebola fears

St Simon's Catholic Primary School

A school in Stockport has cancelled the visit of a charity worker and her son because of fears by parents that their children could be infected with Ebola.

Kofi Mason-Sesay, 9, from Sierra Leone was due to study at St Simon's Catholic Primary School in Hazel Grove this month on a placement while his mother, Miriam was on fundraising duties for the charity EducAid which runs a network of free schools for vulnerable youngsters in the West African country.

Last month the school tried to reassure parents that the forthcoming visit posed no risk to the pupils of contracting the disease.

The school took advice from health chiefs in the borough and passed on Public Health England's guidance that anyone travelling from affected countries who were free of symptoms was not infectious.

Yesterday, headteacher Elizabeth Inman wrote to parents to say that "with a very heavy heart" the school and its governors had taken "the pragmatic decision" to stop the visit despite Ms Mason-Sesay and her son having been screened and given unrestricted movement in the UK.

She said:

I understand that there is a lot of misinformation about how Ebola is spread.

A significant number of parents have been in touch with me to express their fears. As you know, I always listen to parents. Ebola cannot be spread as some parents have suggested.

There are many parents who believe that the visit should have gone ahead and that we are contributing to misunderstandings by cancelling it.

In this instance, it has been very hard to juggle justice to Miriam and the views of parents. Of course I would never endanger any child or colleague and I have to put my trust in the professionals.

It is with great sadness that we decided to cancel the visit; the misguided hysteria emerging is extremely disappointing, distracting us from our core purpose of educating your children and is not an environment that I would wish a visitor to experience.

– Elizabeth Inman, Headteacher St Simon's Catholic Primary School

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“It is therefore regrettable that management is choosing to reward them for this dedication by insisting on a worsening of their terms and conditions.”

– Mick Burrows, NASUWT National Executive Member for Merseyside,

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inspectors have found children's services in Manchester are inadequate, leaving vulnerable children potentially at risk.

In June, Ofsted found a backlog of almost 500 cases waiting to be assessed by social workers, with staff unable to prioritise high case loads.

The council accepts it needs to make improvements and says it is taking action to ease staff workloads.

Elaine Willcox reports.

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Watchdog says Manchester children's services are inadequate

Inspectors have found Manchester's children's services are inadequate leaving vulnerable children potentially at risk.

In June, Ofsted found a backlog of 486 cases waiting to be assessed by social workers, with staff unable to prioritise high case loads.

The council says it has now cleared that backlog.

Mike Livingstone is Director of Manchester's Children's Services.

Watchdog judges Manchester's children's services to be inadequate

Manchester Town Hall Credit: PA

The children's services and education watchdog Ofsted has found Manchester's children's services to be inadequate.

The department was criticised for the way it deals with children who need help and protection, adoption and the management and leadership in Children's services

The watchdog found:

  • 486 cases left waiting a long time for assessment leaving children unseen and at potential risk
  • Quality assurance and management oversight is not robust
  • High social workers' case load mean children and families are not receiving a good quality service
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Credit: Smithills School

Schools in the North West are being encouraged by the Environment Agency and Angling Trust to offer pupils the chance to try fishing.

Fishing has proven health, social and educational benefits and can help pupils improve personal skills such as communication, concentration and discipline.

One school in the North West is already leading the way - Smithills School in Bolton has set up its own angling club and has a school team that competes with other clubs at weekends.

Click here for more about getting involved in fishing

Credit: Environment Agency

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