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Senior MP 'shocked' at report on child drug use

The head of the influential House of Commons home affairs committee says he is "deeply concerned" at an investigation showing children as young as four are being treated for drug and alcohol misuse.

Labour MP Keith Vaz called on parents to do more to prevent risks to their children.

"It is right that these youngsters receive the appropriate help but we must look at the source of their problems," he said.

"It is vital that parents take responsibility and additional support is given to them in order to prevent children being exposed to drugs and alcohol in the first place."

'Vital' to improve children's drug and alcohol education

It is "vital" to improve education programmes to stop young children having to be treated for drug and alcohol misuse, charities have said.

A survey by Mentor UK, who works to protect children from drug and alcohol misuse, suggested youngsters are not getting enough information.

The charity's director of programmes, Andrew Brown, said:

"We think it is vital that alcohol and drug education improve. Our own survey of teachers suggests that at the moment delivery is inconsistent, and that the norm is to timetable only one or two sessions a year.

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Four-year-olds referred to drug treatment centres

Children as young as four years old are among hundreds of young people being sent to specialist drug and alcohol treatment centres.

An investigation by the Press Association found that councils across the UK were referring youngsters to the centres.

Experts said the most common reason children had access to drugs was through their parents.

Your views: 'No sympathy' for teacher strikes

As teachers announce plans that could result in strike action there seems to be little support for any walk outs with parents reacting angrily to the plans.

  • Helen Nellie Chadwick: Surprise surprise think parents should unite as one to stop the fines for taking kids out as its prejudice as it doesn't apply to the disruption that strikes cause let alone the poor pupils about to do their exams.
  • Gypsy Bluebell: Outrageous. Parents can't take children out of school because of disruption to the rest of the class... I have no sympathy with them, whatsoever.
  • Ron Lock: Why don't they have their strikes in August, as a nurse I am getting fed up with this... Maybe we should refuse to treat teachers when they go on strike!
  • Tracy Trotter: Find a different way than walking out. It not only hurts the gov it hurts every parent and costs [them] to find childcare.

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DfE: Strike action 'will damage teachers' reputation'

The Department for Education has hit out at the National Union of Teachers over proposed strike action in June, saying it will "damage the reputation of the profession".

A spokesperson added that it was up to headteachers to ensure their staff have manageable workloads.

Ministers have met frequently with the NUT and other unions and will continue to do so. Further strike action will only disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.

It is important that teachers work closely with school leaders to ensure that their workload is manageable. We trust the professionalism of our headteachers to monitor their staff's workload and address any issues.

Teachers share support for summer strike action

Teachers have taken to Twitter in support of the news that summer strike action has been approved by the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

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NUT votes for fresh teacher strikes

The National Union of Teachers has voted for a series of fresh strikes, starting with a national walkout in June.

Teachers taking part in industrial action in March of this year Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The action relates to a long-running dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Flagship free school due to shut

Discovery New School in Crawley, West Sussex, is due to close its doors today amid concerns about the standard of education it offered - it is the first time this kind of action has been taken.

Discovery New School in Crawley, West Sussex, is due to close its doors today. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

The school has around 70 pupils who will all have to find new schools.

Explaining the decision when the closure was announced, schools minister Lord Nash said that "none of the school's teachers were delivering good lessons and all were still consistently inadequate or required improvement".

Charity calls for swifter action to protect children online

A children's charity is calling for a change in the law to help better protect children from being targeted by predatory sex offenders.

A report published by Barnado's and Labour MP Sarah Champion urged the Government to close a "legal loophole" preventing police from taking quicker action when they suspect a child is being groomed for sex.

File picture: A children's charity is calling for a change in the law to help better protect children. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

Under current legislation someone must make contact with a child at least twice before a meeting takes place, with the intention of abusing them, in order to be arrested for 'meeting a child following sexual grooming'.

But the charity is demanding that police should only need to prove one incidence of contact if there is also a clear intention to meet and abuse the child.

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