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Charity Commission urged to speed up investigation into headteacher

Sir Greg Martin seen during a previous TV interview Credit: ITV News

The Public Accounts Committee has called for the Charity Commission to speed up its investigation into a London head teacher.

The commission is examining claims Sir Greg Martin of Durand Academy in Stockwell broke the law, by being paid almost four hundred thousand pounds as the director of a leisure firm, which operates on his school's premises.

The Commission has had a case open on the affair since October but is still to determine whether to launch a formal investigation, which would trigger powers to freeze assets, dig more deeply and potentially intervene directly.

Sir Martin told the committee the scheme was a 'fantastically good thing' because local children benefited from the facilities.

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Child hunger having dramatic effect at London schools

A new report released today reveals that child hunger and poverty in London are dramatically affecting children's ability to learn.

More than 80 percent of teachers in London say that children are eating the wrong foods in the morning, and most say they can tell just by watching their behaviour at school.

The report, by charity Magic Breakfast, is part of the 'Feed Their Future' campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the impact of child hunger on education.

The charity's report found that an alarming number of children are not having a healthy breakfast Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

It also found:

  • Over a quarter of London teachers do not believe parents can identify what a nutritious breakfast is
  • Nearly 60% of children also do not know what a nutritious breakfast is
  • 23% of parents living in the city say that food is getting so expensive they have had to cut down on breakfasts
  • Up to 60% of parents let their children eat anything in the morning, just so they eat something

A third of teachers in Greater London see children arriving at school hungry - every day

Credit: Johnny Green/PA Archive/Press Association Images

More than a third of teachers in Greater London see children arriving at school hungry every day - according to a survey by Kellogg's.

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Credit: Johnny Green/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Many of the teachers surveyed said hunger made their pupils more disruptive and unable to learn - as a result a quarter of teachers in London have brought in food to give to children they believe haven't had anything to eat that morning.

Credit: Johnny Green/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Almost a quarter of parents could quit jobs over childcare costs

Almost a quarter of parents in London could be pushed to quit their job this year- because of the cost of childcare. That's according to a poll commissioned by children and families' charity 4Children, which also found a similar number say they'll be forced to cut back on essentials to pay for it.

77% parents worried about costs Credit: ITV News

Childcare in London is significantly more expensive than other areas of the country:

The average cost of 25 hours of childcare in a London nursery for achild under the age of two is £140.12- compared to the British average of £109.89.

For those with school age children, the average weekly cost of a childminder pick-up is £93.83 in London, compared to a national average of £65.08.

(figures: 4Children)

'Urgent' need for more affordable childcare Credit: ITV News

4Children Chief Executive Anne Longfield OBE said:

"With over a quarter of parents either considering giving up their job or saying they will be forced to do so because of childcare costs, the urgent need for more affordable, high quality childcare has never been more apparent. For families and for our economy, childcare should be a priority for all political parties as the General Election campaign begins."

London author picks up Costa Children's Book Award

Credit: TVC Group

London author Kate Saunders' book, Five Children on the Western Front, has won the Costa Children's Book Award. Judges called it a 'modern masterpiece'.

It's a moving sequel to E Nesbit's Five Children and It, which transplants the main characters into the trenches of World War I.

Fellow local girl, Emma Healey picked up the First Novel Award for Elizabeth is Missing.

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Tower Hamlets schools could be shut down over extremism fears

Tower Hamlets Credit: PA

Six independent schools in Tower Hamlets could be shut down by the Department of Education if they fail to improve.

The schools are due to be served 'notices to improve' by the government on Monday. If they don't comply, the government then has the power to close them by removing them from the Independent Schools Register.

It follows an Ofsted report which found the schools were failing to protect children from Islamic extremism. A state school, Sir John Cass Red Coat School, has already been placed in special measures by the government.

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