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Schools: leaving is the Incinerat hardest thing to do to overcome barriers to learning.” A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “We are fully confident that the necessary changes will be in place within the required timescales to meet the challenges. We are working in partnership with schools, colleges and training providers, including smaller, often voluntary sector providers.”

Increased costs The school leaving age is set to rise next year from 16 to 17

The government has failed to prepare for the raising of the school leaving age next year by ensuring the right colleges and courses are in place, an education expert has warned. The school leaving age is to be raised next year from 16 to 17, and the year afterwards to 18. But Tom Wylie, former head of the National Youth Agency, said that funding for colleges and community-based organisations is “complex and problematic”, and not geared towards the needs of local economies. In 2007 Wylie, a former adviser to the Education Select Committee, warned the Labour government that too many

“It will be difficult to engage with youngsters.” Dakin people left education without the skills to find work, and urged investment in community organisations better able to deal with the “disaffected, slightly disgruntled, under-achieving youngsters” likely to be forced to remain in education. 4

Last week he said: “I hope I am not saying the same thing in 2017 – that there are not enough of the right kinds of courses and appropriate vocational qualifications for the population. But I wouldn’t bet against it.”

Vocational courses Around 200,000 16-18 year olds – approximately 10 per cent of the total – are not in education, employment or training (NEET). Scunthorpe County MP Nic Dakin, a former member of the Education Select Committee, echoed Wylie’s concerns and said: “Without proper resources and strong leadership nationally and locally it will be difficult to engage with youngsters already NEET [not in education, employment or training] or those likely to become so.” Although the vocational courses introduced by Labour were criticised for failing to help youngsters find work or gain a university place, Dakin does not believe the coalition government’s new plans are an improvement. A Department of Education spokesperson said: “Ultimately it will be down to local authorities to make sure young people in their areas participate and have the support they need


She said the expected increased costs of raising the leaving age would not affect other services “as learning for 16 to 18 year olds is funded through the DoE’s Young People’s Learning Agency, and in the case of apprenticeships through the Skills Funding Agency, and not the local authorities”. MARK METCALF

Britain’s first major study into the impact of emissions from municipal waste incinerators will finally get underway shortly. Announced nearly a year ago, the study will be carried out by the Small Area Health Statistics Unit, Imperial College London, and the Environmental Research Group, King’s College London, on behalf of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) – which first promised to carry out the study in 2003.

Emissions Campaigners claim that emissions from waste incinerators cause above average levels of infant deaths but the HPA and local authorities that commission them argue that there is little evidence to support this. Studies in Japan in 2004 found a “peak decline in risk with distance from the municipal solid waste incinerators for infant deaths and infant deaths with all

Hostel closures m Leeds City Council has defended its plans to close a city centre hostel for the homeless. With admissions to Ladybeck House having ended, the 42-bed hostel with 24-hour staff support will close its doors on 4 March. This will be the third hostel in Leeds to have closed in the last six months after Richmond Court, a 20-unit hostel for homeless families, and The Hollies, a 31-bed hostel for single homeless women, shut last September. According to Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and housing, there will also be a “gradual reduction in hostels across Leeds in the future”. The council says the closure

is part of a “remodelling” of services agreed after consultation with homeless people and not simply a costcutting measure.

Consultation “They felt dispersed temporary accommodation with visiting support would afford them more privacy and independence, and remove the stigma often associated with hostels,” said a council spokesperson. “We are endeavouring to modernise our services in line with customer preference.” According to the council 50 people attended consultation events and it carried out telephone surveys with those unable to attend. Two vendors of The Big Issue in the North, John Whittaker

Big Issue Article - Schools: Leaving is the hardest thing to do  

Schools: Leaving is the hardest thing to do