UK Passport Photo Checker Shows Bias Against Women with Darker Skin

  • Women with darker skin are more than twice as likely to be told their photos fail UK passport rules when they submit them online than lighter-skinned men, according to a BBC investigation
  • One black student said she was wrongly told her mouth looked open each time she uploaded five different photos to the government website
  • This shows how “systemic racism” can spread, Elaine Owusu said
  • The Home Office said the tool helped users get their passports more quickly
  • “The indicative check [helps] our customers to submit a photo that is right the first time,” said a spokeswoman
  • “Over nine million people have used this service and our systems are improving.
  • “We will continue to develop and evaluate our systems with the objective of making applying for a passport as simple as possible for all”

School Payment System Wisepay Hacked

  • Parents who made payments to UK schools in recent days via the Wisepay service have been warned their card details have been compromised
  • Wisepay said a hack of its website meant an attacker was able to harvest payment details between 2 and 5 October via a fake page
  • Attempted payments to about 300 schools have been affected by the scam
  • but the firm said only a small number of the pupils’ parents would have used its system before it was taken offline
  • Its managing director Richard Grazier said this was because the type of cashless payments made – covering things like exam fees and school meals – would not be done on a daily basis, adding that it is now back online and safe to use

Mobile Call Time increased by 50% After Start of Lockdown

  • People in the UK spent much longer chatting on the phone in the first weeks of lockdown, research suggests
  • Time spent talking on mobiles “rose significantly” – by almost 50% – after the announcement of strict measures in March, media regulator Ofcom says
  • Average call time rose from three minutes 40 seconds to nearly five-and-a-half minutes
  • The research also showed a boom in phone use in parks and green spaces, as people found reasons to go outdoors
  • But as might be expected, mobile phone connections dropped dramatically in inner cities
  • “The areas showing a notable increase in mobile activity during lockdown were mostly residential, often with parks or open spaces,” the report said
  • Examples included London’s Richmond Park, Edinburgh’s Inverleith Park, and Lavernock, Vale of Glamorgan

No On-site Counselling for Half of Schools in UK

  • Fewer than half of state schools in England offer counselling for pupils on-site in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, research says
  • The Institute of Public Policy Research study says fewer schools offer such services now than in 2010 and schools in more deprived areas were most likely to have lost out
  • The study wants a national entitlement to mental health support in schools
  • The government says it is investing in mental health and children’s wellbeing
  • John Trickett, Labour MP for Hemsworth, who has been campaigning with counselling organisations on the issue, said “the fact that some schools in more deprived areas haven’t been able to offer counselling and other pastoral services isn’t surprising in this context, but it is wrong, unfair and should make people’s blood boil”

69% of Teachers Report Behaviour in Class Worse After Lockdown

  • The majority of school staff in England say pupils’ behaviour has worsened since the Covid-19 lockdown, a Tes survey reveals
  • More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of teachers, school leaders and classroom assistants in the survey said that pupils’ behaviour has dipped since the coronavirus lockdown closed schools to the majority of pupils
  • Some 6 per cent of respondents have seen behaviour worsen hugely, another 25 per cent reported that it had worsened noticeably and 38 per cent said that it had worsened a little
  • Less than a third of school staff (31 per cent) said that behaviour had not worsened at all
  • The views were collected as part of a wider Tes survey of 10,000 heads, teachers and other school staff on the impact of Covid-19 on education