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August 29, 2023

Tech firms to comply with EU Digital Services Act

  • Whilst the UK Online Safety Bill makes its way through parliament, the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) became law on 16 November 2022.
  • Tech companies such as Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram were given time to ensure their systems complied with these new rules which have been put into place to protect children and stop election interference.
  • The DSA notes extra requirements for very large platforms and search engines, such as assessing potential risks, reporting their risk assessment outcomes and employing effective measures to deal with issues.
  • Companies must also share details with regulators on how their algorithms work.
  • Smaller tech companies won’t have to comply until next year.
  • Breaches could lead to a fine of up to 6% total turnover and a potential suspension of services.
  • In blog posts and statements, many have stated their efforts in complying with the new regulations.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

The following stories may be regionalised:

Excluded pupils in West Midlands at risk of criminal exploitation

  • The BBC’s File on 4 programme asked 55 councils in county lines hotspots Merseyside, London, the West Midlands and Greater Manchester how many pupils at risk of harm from criminal exploitation had been excluded or suspended.
  • 37 councils responded and more than 1,200 suspensions of at-risk children were reported between 2021-2023.
  • In the West Midlands there were around 550 school exclusions of children deemed at risk of criminal exploitation during this period.
  • These included both permanent and temporary exclusions in 10 council areas.
  • Former Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has stated that these children have “already been identified and assessed as being very, very vulnerable”.
  • One child who was classed as “at-risk” by social workers in Birmingham, was left without a school place for over a year and then was targeted by a county lines gang in the city.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Disadvantaged pupils ‘worst affected’ by post-pandemic GCSE mark down

  • Education sector leaders have raised concerns that pupils from disadvantaged communities are amongst the worst affected by a failure to consider the impact of Covid-19 on GCSE grading.
  • Geoff Barton, the General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders criticised the government stating they have “failed to grasp the gravity” of problems facing disadvantaged pupils.
  • Education Endowment Foundation Chief Executive, Becky Francis, is concerned that these pupils will be worst affected by the GCSE resits in Maths and English.
  • The National Education Union’s joint general Secretary Kevin Courtney added that the “damage it (Covid-19) has done to students’ learning and well-being is enduring”.
  • She continued: “Government decisions about grading boundaries have not done enough to take this into account”.
  • For more, please visit Children and Young People Now’s website.


Child victims to get support in first Bairns House

  • Child victims could avoid court and will be offered specialist support as part of a new pilot project in Scotland.
  • Bairns House will house child victims of violent and sexual crimes and allow them to give pre-recorded evidence without attending court or a police station.
  • The trial scheme is based on the Barnehus model used in Norway.
  • Some judges have suggested that the Bairns House model could avoid the need for cross-examination from lawyers.
  • The scheme has been backed by the Scottish government, which also has plans for further pilots elsewhere.
  • Mary Glashow, Chief Executive of Children’s 1st, stated that “the evidence is simply unequivocal that children are harmed by the current process”.
  • A spokesperson for the Scottish Government has said “Bairns House…will ensure that children and young people in the justice system will be able to access a system of holistic support”.
  • They added there were no plans to amend legislation to allow anyone other than a criminal defence lawyer to cross-examine child witnesses.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.