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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS

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PLAN TO HELP POORER CHILDREN GET GRAMMAR SCHOOL PLACES ...
PLAN TO HELP POORER CHILDREN GET GRAMMAR SCHOOL PLACES

Primary school children from poorer background could be bussed into some of the country's top grammar schools for booster lessons in a scheme to increase the numbers passing entry tests, according to The Financial Times (p2). The headteachers of more than 50 grammar schools have been called to a meeting this autumn amid concern that only 3% of their pupils are eligible for free school meals, compared with 11% nationally.

GOVERNMENT STEPS UP EFFORTS TO REFORM LICENSING

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is considering switching licensing responsibilities from magistrates to councils as part of possible plans to shake up the licensing laws. However, The Financial Times (p2) reports that the pub industry is worried that licensing might become politicised, leaving operators vulnerable to local development plans. The DCMS is consulting on details that may form part of a licensing bill, amid speculation that it could be included in the Queen's Speech this year.

PAEDOPHILES TO BE GIVEN 'MINDERS' ON RELEASE FROM PRISON

Convicted paedophiles are to be offered volunteer 'minders' on their release from prison to help them avoid re-offending, according to The Daily Telegraph(p8). A pilot project, backed by the Home Office, is to begin in Hampshire. Teams of between four and six volunteers will be asked to 'adopt' some of the 713 men on the male sex offenders' register to reduce their feelings of isolation when they are released from prison.

CALL FOR CLEARER DEFINITION OF POVERTY

The Social Market Foundation thinktank has warned the government that its plans to eliminate child poverty in a generation is bound to fail unless it creates a more accurate definition of poverty. The Guardian(p2) reports that the SMF believe the current model for measuring poverty and deprivation does not make enough allowance for the costs of childcare. 'If the government has no settled and adequate measure of poverty, then it cannot reliably assess how its policies are contributing to reducing poverty,' writes analyst, Tom Startup. He calls for a cross-party consensus on an 'official headline' definition of the problem as a long-term contribution to tackling it.

ENFIELD IN THE SPOLTLIGHT

In its continuing series of articles on the government's record on improving public services, The Guardian (p10-11) today carries details of the London borough of Enfield's services for pre-school children.

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