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Fixed penalties for parents of truants will 'hit morale'

Fixed penalties for parents of persistent truants will "hit morale" according National Union of Teachers (NUT) in Wales.

Assembly Members will debate the detail of plans this afternoon, before voting this evening.

Under the plans, parents would be fined £60 if their children play truant, rising to £120 if the fine is not paid within 28 days.

But Owen Hathway, Policy Officer at NUT Wales, has warned against fixed penalties being introduced.

"We know that the best way to tackle truancy and long term absenteeism is to have a healthy relationship between the parent and the school," he said.

"Our concern is that if you start introducing truancy fines, there's going to be a breakdown in that relationship and it's going to be even harder to engage families in this issue.

"We often know as well that many parents are trying their very best to bring children to school and they're trying every initiative they can.

"If you start fining them it's going to hit the morale of those parents; it's going to hit their engagement with schools and it's going to cause perhaps even greater problems."

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Tuition fees policy 'unsustainable'

Welsh students have the majority of their tuition fees paid wherever they study. Credit: PA

Some Welsh students may have to pay more for their tuition fees in future. That's the warning from a leading academic and opposition politicians. They says financial pressures on the Welsh Government will mean it will have to abandon its current policy.

But in a statement the Welsh Government has dismissed the concerns.

Grangetown Welsh-medium school rally in Cardiff

A rally is being held at City Hall in Cardiff today as part of a campaign calling on Cardiff Council to honour their pledge to establish a Welsh-medium school in Grangetown.

Campaigners say access to Welsh-medium education is especially difficult for many in the Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown communities, with some children having to face round trips of up to 8 miles a day with no financial assistance for transport.

'Significant' minority want education and health handed back to London

Most people backed the Assembly retaining the powers it has in six key areas: tourism, agriculture, housing, roads, education and health. But a significant minority want to see responsibility for health and education returned to London.

20% said education should be the responsibility of the UK Parliament and Government and 27% said the NHS should be administered from London. The survey points out that these are two areas which received most media coverage.

Plans for truancy fines should be scrapped, says AMs

The Welsh government plans to introduce fines to parents in September Credit: ITV News Wales

Proposals to tackle truancy by fining parents should be dropped, according to assembly members.

The Welsh government plans on introducing fixed penalty notices of £120 next month to parents whose children play truant.

The Children's Committee of the National Assembly that makes laws for Wales, found no evidence in a report that fines are an effective way to tackle regular truancy and are suggesting more 'positive alternatives'.

The Welsh government says fines would be just one of the tools available to councils to tackle absenteeism.

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Welsh Tories back return of grammar schools

The Welsh Conservatives have called for the reintroduction of grammar schools to the education system here in Wales. They've told tomorrow's Daily Telegraph that grammar schools were the 'purveyor of success' and that 'we want those elements back.'

But the Welsh Tories are ruling out the return of the eleven-plus exam, saying 'selection at 11 was wrong and is still wrong.' Instead they'd introduce academic and vocational streaming from 14. They'd also want vocational skills to have 'equal weighting' to academic skills.

It's a move certain to appeal to traditional Conservative voters but the party at a UK level has been opposed to opening any new grammar schools since David Cameron pushed through that policy in 2007.

Digital 2013: Swansea children show off IT skills to businesses

School children from Swansea have been given a front line role in helping to attract jobs and business to Wales.

They've been recruited to speak to business leaders from across the world about the skills available to companies who come here.

It's all part of a major conference, organised by the Welsh Government called Digital 2013.

Joanna Simpson reports.

Cash and finance lessons for Welsh schoolchildren

150 Welsh schools are taking part in the 'My Money Week', which is being organised by the charity Personal Finance Education Group Credit: PA

Schoolchildren across Wales are to be given lessons about money and personal finance.

The charity behind the programme says it is aiming to create a society in which all children and young people have the skills, knowledge and confidence to manage their money.

Launched today at Cowbridge Comprehensive in the Vale of Glamorgan, 'My Money Week' is a new partnership between financial education charity PFEG (Personal Finance Education Group) and Barclays bank.

The school is one of 150 organisations that have signed up to participate.

Digital skills worth over £1bn to Welsh economy

Digital 2013 is a two-day event that begins today at the Celtic Manor at Newport which aims to enable businesses to harness cutting-edge technologies for economic benefit.

Led by the Welsh Government's ICT Exploitation Unit it will be bringing world experts to Welsh business leaders.

High-growth, innovative businesses are at the core of any buoyant economy and supporting them to utilise technology will be key if Wales is to be positioned at the cutting edge of the digital economy.

It's promising to see such a high-profile digital event held here in Wales, demonstrating Wales' credentials as an outward-looking nation that's committed to up-skilling the economy and getting behind the digital agenda to encourage inward investment and growth.

– Sir Terry Matthews

Leaders from global technology organisations will share their expertise on cutting edge megatrend technologies at the event.

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