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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.

The following story may be regionalised:

Homeless boy fears Santa will not find him at Christmas 

  • The sentence, “How is Santa going to find me if we are homeless?”, was stated by an eight-year-old boy after he and his widowed mother were moved into a hotel room by Cardiff council following eviction form a rented flat.
  • Cardiff council reported that it was facing “unprecedented demand” which had led it to house 202 further households in five hotels across the city.
  • They stated they were prioritising moves for those in hotels wherever possible.
  • New research by the BBC Wales Investigates programme suggests just over 139,000 people, including at least 34,000 children, were waiting for social housing in Wales, based on snapshot data in October 2023 from all 22 councils.
  • Housing charity Shelter Cymru said placing people in unsuitable temporary accommodation for more than six weeks was unlawful, according to Welsh rules. 
  • Welsh government Housing Minister Julie James said temporary accommodation waits were “a health crisis.”
  • The UK government said the Welsh government was receiving the largest funding settlement in the history of devolution and was committed to ensuring that families can move out of temporary accommodation into stable accommodation.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.