Reading Time: 3.7 mins

December 11, 2023

Street drugs stronger than heroin linked to 54 deaths in UK 

  • The deaths are linked to a synthetic opioid called nitazenes which experts fear are being manufactured in labs and then imported into the UK from China.
  • The National Crime Agency (NCA) have reported that more than 40 cases await further testing.
  • Nitazenes first made news in the UK in 2021, when an 18-year-old patient was treated for a non-fatal overdose.
  • There are an average of 42 drug poisoning deaths each week involving opiates across England and Wales, latest official figures suggest.
  • In February, the government said it wanted to classify 11 synthetic opioids as Class A drugs. Last month, the Home Office published an updated list, adding four more.
  • That announcement came after police said the largest UK seizure of synthetic opioids had been made in raids in Waltham Forest and Enfield, north London.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Parents want Ofsted inspections to be ‘more transparent and less high-stakes 

  • Research found that more parents and carers are in favour or a report card-style Ofsted accountability model, the report’s authors, Public First said.
  • The report into public support for education reform suggests that 85% of parents agree on balance that Ofsted should continue to inspect schools and 60% think that inspections should change.
  • A total of 42% of parents said Ofsted should be more transparent on how it reaches judgments, 37% of parents want longer inspections, 36% want greater frequency of inspections and 34% want an end to single-word judgments.
  • Parents are almost twice as likely (57%) to name preparing children for adult life as an essential task for schools compared to preparation for further academic study (32%).
  • Ed Dorrell, partner at Public First, reported: “Often acting through successful multi-academy trusts, primaries and secondaries could once again become community and civic institutions – institutions that are capable, ultimately, of playing a role in helping to rebuild our fractured society and local communities.”
  • He continued: “This research suggests that there is huge appetite both within and outside the education system for something akin to this vision, but only if the reforms needed to make it happen are conceived of, funded and delivered well.”
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Telegraph website.

Ofsted chief ‘should quit now’, says Ruth Perry’s sister as briefing memo is revealed 

  • Ruth Perry’s family has called on Ofsted’s chief inspector to resign immediately after it was revealed its lead inspectors will spend just 90 minutes on a briefing to address concerns raised by the headteacher’s suicide.
  • Julia Waters, Perry’s sister, said the “shocking” response showed that Amanda Spielman had “lost the plot” as chief inspector and should resign now: “If this was Amanda Spielman trying to show she is taking action in response to a damning coroner’s conclusion, then she has clearly lost the plot as well as running out of ideas.”
  • A coroner last week concluded that Ofsted’s inspection of Perry’s school contributed to her death.
  • Amanda Spielman responded: “As a first step, we will delay our inspections next week by a day so we can bring all our lead school inspectors together ahead of further school inspections. As well as addressing the issue of anxiety, we will be clear with inspectors what to do if a pause is needed.”
  • For more, please visit The Guardian website.

Kids forced to walk to school without a coat due to financial crisis, says charity 

  • Around 50,000 children in NI are going without the basics like warmth, fresh food or a celebration this Christmas.
  • Action for Children revealed a third of children aged eight to 18 across the UK fear a friend or classmate won’t get any presents (33%) or celebrate Christmas this year (32%) because their family can’t afford it.
  • The charity’s frontline has reported pressure on struggling families is worse than last Christmas and highlights the desperate choices parents are being forced to make.
  • Claire Larkin from Action for Children’s Northern Family Support Hub said demand for services this year “has been greater than anything we have previously experienced” with the cost of living crisis.
  • Lorna Ballard, national director Northern Ireland at Action for Children, said: “We’re seeing children without a bed sleeping on the floor with just blankets, and families phoning us crying because they have no money to feed their children. We know missing out on essentials like these can scar a child’s whole life.”
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Telegraph website.