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The following items are fromChildren & Parliament, winter–spring 1998.Children & Parliament is an abstracting service based on Hansard and produced by the National Children’s Bureau. It covers all parliamentary business affecting children and is available on subscription via the internet. The Children & Parliament web site provides direct links to full text Hansard, government department sites, the sites of the Office for National Statistics, Ofsted, and other relevant organisations. For further details contact Lisa Payne, Editor, Children & Parliament, National Children’s Bureau, 8 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7QE, UK (tel: +44 (0) 171 843 6000; fax: +44 (0) 278 9512). (TheHansard reference is given in parentheses.)
• Speakers in both Houses backed the idea of a national radio channel dedicated to children. It was suggested that such a channel could potentially improve children’s language and verbal skills and encourage listening and concentration. Although it is unwilling to intervene directly the government seems to support the idea.
(12 Jan 98, 13 Jan 98, Col 118–124,194.)
• Government consultation on the subject of parental discipline and corporal punishment is likely to involve the Home Office, the Lord Chancellor’s Department, the Department for Education and Employment, the Department of Health, and the Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Ireland Offices in the spring of 1999.
(12 Jan 98, Col 118.)
• The next survey of children’s dental health will be in 2003.
(12 Jan 98, Col 148.)
• A government white paper proposes the setting up of a Food Standards Agency to provide for public protection against food related health hazards.
(14 Jan 98, Col 351–366, 1079–1094.)
• The government aims to give teachers more time to spend on teaching basic literacy and numeracy while allowing them more flexibility as regards history, geography, art, design and technology, music, and physical education. But science, information technology, and religious education will maintain their curriculum positions.
(13 Jan 98, Col 174–175.)
• Lottery funding for sports in schools so far includes over £48 million (143 awards) to state secondary schools and colleges, over £8 million (8 awards) to state primary schools, nearly £3 million (6 awards) to private secondary schools and colleges, and nearly £39 million (30 awards) to the higher and further education sectors.
(15 Jan 98, Col 265–266.)
• According to Unicef some 32% of children under five in Iraq are chronically malnourished, mainly as a result of international sanctions.
(21 Jan 98, Col 985–990.)
• The number of inpatient episodes for children under 16 with asthma fell from 64 500 in 1991–92 to 54 300 in 1995–96.
(27 Jan 98, Col 23–24.)
• Total births in England, Wales, and Scotland in 1996 numbered some 710 000. The name of the father was not registered in about 8% of cases.
(26 Jan 98, Col 104.)
• The government has set up a task group to consider what research is necessary to develop effective programmes to reduce the rate of unwanted pregnancies, especially among teenagers.
(26 Jan 98, Col 73–74.)
• There are about 320 schools for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties in England. Fifteen such schools have closed since May 1997.
(13 Feb 98, Col 253–254.)
• There is to be a free vote in the House of Commons on the abolition of corporal punishment in independent schools.
(26 Feb 98, Col 360.)
• By the end of January 1998 a total of 1239 people with haemophilia had received compensation for HIV infection from blood products. The payments began in 1988 and have now reached £90 million.
(6 Mar 98, Col 824.)
• The Transport Research Laboratory estimates that about 450 deaths and serious injuries each year would be prevented if the UK were to switch to European Central Time; reducing the driving limit for alcohol from 80 to 50 mg/100 ml would save another 300.
(9 Mar 98, Col 16–17.)
• It has been estimated that some 37% of primary school children and 14% in secondary schools are bullied. In 10% and 4% the bullying occurs at least weekly.
(16 Mar 98, Col 483–484.)
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