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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS IN THE NATIONAL PRESS

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HEADTEACHERS BEND RULES ON ADMISSIONS...
HEADTEACHERS BEND RULES ON ADMISSIONS

One-quarter of all headteachers do not adhere strictly to their school's code on admissions, according to a survey published in The Guardian today (Education Guardian, pgs 1-2). The findings could intensify pressure for the introduction of a legally binding admissions code.

Nearly three-quarters of the 822 heads surveyed also revealed they have used unqualified teachers.

The third Headspace survey was carried out by Education Guardian and EdComs, and administered by ICM.

SUPPORT FOR LABOUR AT 19-YEAR LOW AHEAD OF LOCAL ELECTIONS

Labour's share of the vote has dropped to 32 per cent - its lowest point since 1987, according to a survey carried out by ICM for The Guardian (pg1). The party is two points behind the Conservatives, while support for the Liberal Democrats is up three points to give it a 24 per cent share.

The newspaper warns that a poor showing for Labour next week could see it lose control of up to 10 of the 15 councils it is defending in London, and more than 300 councillors across England.

GATED COMMUNITY DWELLERS THWART LOCAL ELECTION CANVASSING

Young professionals living in secure gated communities are frustrating the efforts of local election candidates seeking their votes, reports The Times (pg24.)

Peter Smallbone, Tory candidate for Ladywood in Birmingham, reveals to the newspaper how the affluent group are very hard to get to. 'The buildings they live in are difficult to access, they work long, unpredictable hours and they never remember when the election is.' Concierges often deny access to buildings, meaning campaign material often has to be left with junk mail.

Mr Smallbone is now using a personal weblog and text messaging to reach voters.

CITY ACADEMIES DEEMED RISKY FOR INVESTORS

Potential sponsors of city academies are warned that they represent a 'high risk' investment because of their mixed results to date, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg2).

The warning comes in a report from New Philanthropy Capital, which also says the buildings cost around£8m more than conventional secondary schools but there is 'scant evidence of the link between capital investment and pupil attainment'.

A letter from a resident opposing an academy in London, published in The Guardian (p31), adds that she believes local education authorities are being blackmailed into agreeing to academies in return for funds from the Building Schools for the Future programme.

Despite the criticism, and recent arrest of headteacher and former government academies adviser Des Smith, the Telegraph reports that Tony Blair has defended honours for those 'contributing to the education of disadvantaged kids'.

HEALTH CARE STAFF VENT ANGER AT HEALTH SECRETARY

Delegates at Unison's annual healthcare conference yesterday heckled health secretary Patricia Hewitt in anger over her claims that that the NHS is enjoying its best year, reports The Independent (pg6).

Ms Hewitt's claims have been criticised at a time when many health service staff are facing job cuts and Unison has hinted that industrial action may be on the cards.

The RCN is also warning that nurses may stop working unpaid overtime.

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