The Education Secretary is to meet union leaders in a bid to avert seven days of strike action over teachers’ pay – as school leaders refuse to ease the pain of walkouts with contingency measures. We have the latest on those talks as well as today’s strike by nurses.
School leaders refuse to ease pain of strikes
As the country faces the worst day of strike disruption in a decade, head teachers are refusing to put in place contingency measures. School leaders have been urged by the Government to take steps that could limit the impact of staff walkouts. They include bringing in volunteers and supply teachers, adopting bigger class sizes or arranging activity days with theatre groups or sports coaches to keep classrooms open during action by teachers. But senior leaders are refusing to consider such measures as unions said heads were sympathetic to striking teachers’ pay demands. The first walkout of National Education Union members across England and Wales is scheduled for Feb 1, which is becoming a de facto general strike as train drivers, civil servants and university staff join teachers in taking industrial action. As education editor Louisa Clarence-Smith writes, schools have begun writing to parents to warn that entire year groups could be sent home.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that a hospital has asked patients’ families to help out while nurses go on strike this week. Nurses at 55 NHS trusts in England are to walk out today and tomorrow and the Royal College of Nursing also announced further industrial action for next month covering 73 trusts. Health correspondent Lizzie Roberts reports that, ahead of this week’s strikes, Dorset County Hospital has asked families and friends to provide “additional support” for patients on strike days.
Trans law ‘could turn parents into criminals’
The equalities minister is to write to all Tory MPs and insist that a ban on trans conversion therapy must not criminalise parents, as a backlash against the plans grew. In a highly unusual move, it is understood that Kemi Badenoch intends to set out her concerns over the proposed legislation, which was announced yesterday in the Commons. She will write that legitimate conversations between parents and trans children must not be outlawed and that freedom of religion must be protected. Her letter reflects concern in Downing Street that Tory MPs will rebel over the introduction of the ban, which was announced as the Government vetoed separate plans to make it easier to change gender in Scotland – on the day rifts were exposed in the Labour party.
> What are your ideas about trans conversion, transgenders and the use of certain gender-related words? After Rishi Sunak blocked Nicola Sturgeon’s gender reforms, do you agree with the Prime Minister – and why? Please do not mind giving your idea on our article:
Rogue police | Suella Braverman is preparing to make it easier for chief constables to sack corrupt or abusive officers, as she said she was braced for more “shocking cases” to emerge in the wake of the David Carrick scandal. The Home Secretary announced an internal review would consider putting police chiefs in charge of all misconduct hearings, effectively sidelining the independent panels chaired by lawyers.
Match of the Day | BBC sabotaged by ‘porn noise’ prank
Gary Lineker’s pre-match discussion with Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy was punctuated by sounds from hidden mobile phone
China | Country’s population falls for first time in 60 years
The last time China’s population plummeted was in the 1960s, when the country endured the worst famine in its modern history
China’s population has dropped for the first time in six decades, the latest warning bell to sound over the country’s demographic crisis.Government data shows that China’s population dropped by 850,000 people to 1.412 billion in 2022, compared to the previous year.
That marks the first decline since the early 1960s, when Chairman Mao Zedong’s disastrous policies led to mass famine and deaths.
Around the world: Hauled over the coals
Greta Thunberg was carried away by German police officers for the second time in three days during a protest against the expansion of a controversial coal mine. The Swedish climate activist was carried from the edge of the Garzweiler II open cast lignite mine, in North Rhine-Westphalia, by three officers. Europe editor James Crisp reports that the village is set to be demolished to make room for the expanded mine, which critics say will lock in global warming emissions for years.
Police officers carry Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist. Credit: DPA
Business briefing: How inflation eased in December
Inflation eased to 10.5pc in December, but remains at a 40-year high and far above the Bank of England’s target of 2pc. It is the second straight month the consumer prices index has declined in a tentative sign that inflation may have peaked sooner than expected. Follow the latest with Chris Price in our live blog. Meanwhile, consumer analysis found where prices rose the highest on average – and it is at budget supermarkets.
Here is a selection of articles we think you’ll be interested in today.
Ministers have confirmed they will bring in a ban on conversion therapy, including for trans people, but will ensure it does not “criminalise” parents and clinicians.
Michelle Donelan, the Culture Secretary, announced that a draft bill would be published “shortly”, to allow it to be given stringent scrutiny by MPs and peers before the full legislation is brought forward.
She said this was to ensure it would not have a “chilling effect” on legitimate conversations parents may want to have with their children who say they want to change their gender.
A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world.
We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".
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