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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.

Government insists 'reforms improve lives of poorest'

A Department of Work and Pensions spokeswoman responded to criticism from the Children's Commissioner on how poorest families are paying the price for the government's welfare reforms.

Read: Children 'pay price' for austerity

The spokeswoman insisted the reforms would improve the lives of some of the poorest families by "promoting work and helping people lift themselves out of poverty."

Our reforms will improve the lives of some of the poorest families in our communities by promoting work and helping people to lift themselves out of poverty.

Universal Credit will make three million households better off and lift up to 300,000 children out of poverty.

There are a lot of misleading stories about our reforms, but the truth is that we spend £94 billion a year on working age benefits and the welfare system supports millions of people who are on low incomes or unemployed so they can meet their basic needs.

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Children 'pay price' for austerity

A generation of youngsters are "paying the price" for the Government's austerity measures, the Children's Commissioner for England has warned.

Maggie Atkinson said the poorest families were being hit by welfare cuts, but children were also affected by library closures and reductions in spending on leisure facilities.

Government spending cuts are affecting children's lives, said Maggie Atkinson. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

In an interview with Total Politics magazine the commissioner said local government cuts had also hit after-school and holiday clubs for children.

She said: "There are children now who are paying the price in England, not only for the reduction in welfare spending, but in libraries, in leisure facilities, in early intervention, in after-school clubs or holiday clubs.

"All of those things have been under such severe pressure in local government that many of them have stopped doing them."

School to teach English as foreign language to all pupils

A secondary school, where more than three-quarters of its pupils do not have English as their mother tongue, plans to teach English as a foreign language to all of its students.

The City of Leeds School teaches 300 children from 55 different countries but says its new approach will also apply to those whose first language is English.

Headteacher Ms Sale said pupils will receive one extra 50-minute English lesson each week. The school hopes the extra tutition will "boost their fundamental English skills and improve their basic spelling and grammar."

File Photo: A Leeds school will start teaching all pupils English as a second language in a bid to boost GCSE results. Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

In an interview with the Yorkshire Post, Ms Sale said many of her pupils struggled to read and write even in their native language.

Ms Sale told the paper: "Many of our pupils are not only new to English but they are not even literate in their own language. In some cases we are the first people to put a pen in their hand."

The move is a strategy aimed at reversing the school’s GCSE results which saw only 26% of pupils achieving the crucial five A* to C grades last year.

The school plans to introduce the lessons to all pupils later in the year.

Gove 'hung around eating biscuits' on paternity leave

Education Secretary Michael Gove "hung around the house, eating biscuits and getting cups of tea made for him" when he was on paternity leave, his wife Sarah Vine told ITV's The Agenda.

"I think it's too much," the columnist said of the two-week paternity leave entitlement. "Having fathers around sort of hovering in the first two weeks, well it was just a bit annoying."

ILM: Shared parental leave crucial for women

The Institute of Leadership & Management said plans for shared parental leave from April 2015 will have little impact if "ingrained" attitudes were not tackled. The report warned that low levels of paternity pay affected take up of leave.

The ILM say that shared parenting is crucial in enabling women to progress, Credit: Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire

ILM boss Charles Elvin said: "The introduction of shared parental leave is a crucial step towards enabling more women to progress into senior roles, yet our research revealed cultural barriers are impeding the uptake of both two weeks statutory paternity leave and additional paternity leave.

"The paternity pay gap not only creates practical financial barriers to shared parental leave, it also reinforces a cultural expectation within organisations that women will be the ones taking extended periods away from the workplace, which may halt their career progression."

Just 9% of fathers receiving anything longer than two weeks at full pay.

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Few fathers take paternity new report reveals

A new study has revealed that one in four new fathers do not take paternity leave and few go beyond the statutory two week break.

Few fathers take paternity. Credit: Edmond Terakopian/PA Wire

Research among almost 1,000 employees and 800 managers found that a lack of support from employers was to blame for limiting time off among men after the birth of their child.

The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM) said its survey also found that fewer than one in 10 new fathers take more than two weeks of paternity leave, falling to just 2% among managers.

Children eating too much salt, study shows

Children aged five and six are eating 0.75 grams more salt than the recommended daily amount and teens are exceeding the limit by around 1.5 grams, researchers claim.

The recommended daily levels of salt according to age are as follows:

  • One to two years - 2g salt per day (0.8g sodium)
  • Four to six years - 3g salt per day (1.2g sodium)
  • Seven to 10 years - 5g salt per day (2g sodium)
  • 11 years and over - 6g salt per day (2.4g sodium)

The study showed that 36% of children's intake of salt comes from a combination of bread-based and cereal products, while meat provided an additional 19%.

An example of salt levels in popular foods (taken from a sample of popular brands):

  • Children's cereal: around 0.3g salt per 30g
  • A slice of white bread: around 0.35g salt per slice
  • Pork sausages: around 0.3g per sausage
  • Ready salted crisps: around 0.45g per packet

Warning over children's salt consumption

More than a third of children's salt consumption is from breads and cereals, researchers have found.

A bacon sandwich Credit: PA Wire

Analysis of young people's diets found that they eat an "unhealthy amount of salt on a daily basis". 36% of this salt comes from cereal and bread-based products, according to the new research.

The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, found that many children are exceeding the recommended intake of salt on a daily basis.

Parents pay more than a quarter of salary on childcare

Children in a nursery. Credit: PA Wire

In the last five years the price of part-time nursery care for a child under two has risen by 27%, with parents paying around £1,214 more in 2014 than in 2009 according to a new report.

These figures come from a Family and Childcare Trust report which says that families are paying more on average for part-time childcare than they spend on their mortgage.

For a family with two youngsters in full-time childcare the average yearly cost is £11,700, the report adds, 62% higher than the average yearly mortgage bill for a family home.

The study says that since 2002, childcare costs have risen more than inflation each year and that international data shows that parents in Britain hand over more than a quarter of their salary (26.6%), more than most other European nations.

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