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Patchy sex and relationship education risks ‘warped and misogynistic attitudes’ in pupils | UK News

“Has anybody ever heard of the phrase ‘red flags’?”

A handful of year nine students raise their hands.

“It’s a warning,” one boy says. “A sign that a relationship is about to become toxic,” his classmate Sarah adds.

The group of 13 and 14 year olds is taking part in a healthy relationship workshop by the organisation Tender, an extension to the school’s health, sex, and relationships curriculum.

During the hour-long session, they discuss themes such as consent in daily life and healthy relationships, before roll-playing a scenario in which a 15-year-old girl is targeted by an older teen at a party.

Their answers are considered and insightful; the young boys in the room are particularly keen to talk about which behaviours are wrong – and why.

Tender's healthy relationship workshop
Image:
Tender’s healthy relationship workshop

Tender’s chief executive Susie McDonald says without lessons like these, children can pick up very damaging habits.

“While relationship education in schools isn’t consistently good across the country, young people are often accessing relationship education through online media.

“So they may be gaining information from places like pornography and making assumptions therefore about what their relationships should be like; which is often very, very harmful and very misogynistic.”

Relationships and sex education was made compulsory in 2020, but there are concerns among teachers and campaigners that it is not being prioritised by the government, and that the quality of teaching in the subject remains patchy.

Since 2020, only half of a £6m fund to roll out the subject has been accessed by schools.

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The government says it’s “clear the schools should be alive to issues such as everyday sexism, misogyny and gender stereotypes”.

Deputy head, and head of safeguarding at Woodside High School Laura Sanford thinks there should be statutory training for anyone teaching these subjects

“As a safeguarding lead, I have to sit through two days of training to ensure that I can effectively support young people.

“That needs to be the same for PSHE training and relationship education training.

“I think it’s about making sure that there’s a course or a specialism that people have to have that make sure that they can teach it effectively for young people and that they’re all getting the same experience, no matter what the school.”

A Woodside High School pupil quizzed during a sex and relationships lesson
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A Woodside High School pupil at a sex and relationships lesson

‘Warped and misogynistic attitudes’

Recent analysis of school inspection data by Ofsted found that mentions of the terms sexism, misogyny, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and safeguarding incident had grown by more than 400% between 2019 and 2022.

While the term sexual harassment in reports grew from three to 106, a rise of more than 3,000%.

While this may be partially down to improvements in awareness, teachers are growing increasingly concerned about the way the internet and social media – from porn to celebrity influencers – are encouraging warped and misogynist attitudes to sex and relationships in ever younger children.

The End Violence Against Women Coalition has now called on the government to prioritise sex and relationship education for children, accusing the government of politicising the subject by announcing a review last March.

The government said it was concerned that children are being exposed to “inappropriate” content, and in October, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan wrote to parents to inform them of their right to know what their children are seeing and being taught in the classroom.

Director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Andrea Simon, said she’s “concerned that the timing of the review is reacting to contested claims that inappropriate content is being taught, as well as rooted in anti-LGBT+ rhetoric”.

“Giving young people the education and tools they need to identify and challenge abuse is vital if we are to have any hope of reducing the likelihood of abuse in adult relationships, addressing the prevalence of violence against women and girls across society, and building radically different futures where everyone thrives,” she added.

Clapham: Moped rider opens fire with ‘shotgun’ while being chased by Met Police | UK News

A moped rider being chased by police has fired shots, wounding three people in south London.

Two of them suffered shotgun pellet injuries while a third was hurt by the moped, but none are believed to be in a life-threatening condition.

Officers were pursuing the vehicle, being ridden by two people, after it failed to stop in the Clapham area just before 5pm on Friday, the Metropolitan Police said.

Pic: @siancole8
Image:
Pic: @siancole8

A firearm, believed to be a shotgun, was fired from the moped near Clapham Common South Side.

The suspects then fled the scene and officers are trying to trace the moped. No arrests have been made.

The London Ambulance Service said its crews had taken two people to a major trauma centre in the capital, while the third was treated in hospital.

A forensic officer at the scene of a shooting in Clapham, London. Three people have been hurt after shots were fired by a moped rider who was being pursued by police in south London. Picture date: Friday March 1, 2024.
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A forensic officer at the scene. Pic: PA

The Met said: “A crime scene is in place and urgent enquiries to trace the moped are ongoing. Firearms officers are searching the area.”

Several roads have been cordoned off.

Police in the Clapham Common area. Pic: @siancole8
Image:
Police in the Clapham Common area. Pic: @siancole8

A local barber, who gave his name as Kaka, said he was left “shocked” after hearing shooting close to his shop near Clapham Common.

He said: “I was in the shop just before 5pm and I heard a gunshot up the road. We were all shocked because it was so close, the police were everywhere afterwards.”

Prince Harry granted access to secret documents in phone hacking claim | UK News

Prince Harry has successfully secured the release of confidential documents from the Leveson Inquiry as part of his phone hacking case against the publishers of the Daily Mail.

The decision permitting the Duke of Sussex to access the files was taken by Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer.

Harry and six other high-profile claimants want to use the documents, which detail payments to private eyes, to support their case against Associated Newspapers.

The group, which includes Sir Elton John, Liz Hurley and Doreen Lawrence, have filed a lawsuit which makes allegations of phone hacking, blagging and other unlawful information gathering.

Although the claimants had been given leaked copies of the documents, a judge ruled they could only be used if the government approved their release.

In a joint statement, Home Secretary James Cleverly and Ms Frazer said: “We do not consider that it is necessary in the public interest to withhold these documents from any disclosure or publication.”

The government notice changes the restriction order imposed by Sir Brian Leveson following his 2012 inquiry into British press standards.

Associated Newspapers tried to stop the files being released, claiming they had provided the Leveson Inquiry with the ledgers of payments on the understanding they would remain confidential.

The decision has been welcomed by Prince Harry and the other claimants bringing the litigation.

Associated Newspapers deny all the charges.

At an earlier hearing their lawyers had argued the case was being brought too late, but this was rejected by a judge who concluded they had failed to deliver a knockout blow.

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Prince Harry recently settled his outstanding claims against Mirror Group Newspapers for an undisclosed sum.

In December 2023, he won a substantial part of his claim that he was the victim of phone hacking and other illegal practices by Mirror Group.

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Prince Harry loses protection case

But Harry hasn’t always had success in his High Court challenges.

He recently lost his legal challenge against the Home Office over the provision of his tax-payer funded security.

And he earlier lost a libel case against Associated Newspapers, over an article written about the same case.

Boy, 11, riding bike dies after collision with bin lorry in Edinburgh | UK News

An 11-year-old boy has died following a collision with a bin lorry in Edinburgh.

The schoolboy was riding his bicycle when the crash occurred on Whitehouse Road at around 8.20am on Friday.

Police Scotland said the incident happened near to the junction with Braehead Road.

Emergency services attended, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

His next of kin have been made aware and are being supported by specially trained officers.

The driver of the bin lorry was uninjured.

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Inspector Andrew Thomson, of Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit, said: “Our thoughts are very much with the boy’s family and friends at this time.

“Our enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances and I would urge anyone who may have information which has not yet been passed to police to get in touch.

“I would also be keen to speak to anyone who may have dashcam or private CCTV footage from the area.”

Primodos: MPs say ‘covered-up’ evidence could reveal ‘one of the biggest medical frauds of 20th century’ | UK News

MPs are calling for a new review into the dangers of the drug Primodos, claiming that families who suffered avoidable harm from it have been “sidelined and stonewalled”.

MPs said the suggestion there is no proven link between the hormone pregnancy test and babies being born with malformations is “factually and morally wrong”.

A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on hormone pregnancy tests claims evidence was “covered up” and it is possible to “piece together a case that could reveal one of the biggest medical frauds of the 20th century”.

Around 1.5 million women in Britain were given hormone pregnancy tests between the 1950s and 1970s.

They were instructed to take the drug by their GPs as a way of finding out if they were pregnant.

But Primodos was withdrawn from the market in the UK in the late 1970s after regulators warned “an association was confirmed” between the drug and birth defects.

However, in 2017 an expert working group found there was insufficient evidence of a causal association.

But MPs now claim this report is flawed. It’s hugely significant because the study was relied upon by the government and manufacturers last year to strike out a claim for compensation by the alleged victims.

The APPG refers to research by Sky News which found aspects of the expert working group’s report were altered between the draft and completion.

It says: “Any risk of undue influence was confirmed by Freedom of Information (FOI) requests obtained by Sky News… that revealed a significant number of changes made to the draft version of the report.

“The APPG examined the FOIs and notes with alarm that there have been hundreds of alterations and some amount to changing the meaning of the report. This raises concerns that the final report seeks to mislead.”

A subsequent review by a team led by Baroness Cumberlege also questioned the changes made between the draft and final copy saying the revisions “created different impressions in the mind of the reader”.

Nicky Gubbins is an alleged victims of Primodos, who plans to sue the government and two drug firms.
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Nicky Gubbins has long campaigned for recognition that Primodos caused her malformations

When Sky News revealed these changes in July 2020 the Medical and Healthcare Products Regulation Agency (MHRA) told us: “It may not be obvious because of the redactions but the expert working group chair and the Commission on Human Medicines endorsed the changes to the report.”

MPs also note that a team of Oxford academics led by Professor Carl Heneghan obtained the raw data used by the expert working group and produced opposite results, finding “there was an association between Primodos and malformations”, and criticising the approach made by the expert working group.

The MPs also say new studies have added strength to claims of a link including a study in Sweden, revealed by Sky News in December.

They are now calling on ministers to commission an “independent review” review.

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Members of the APPG including its chair Yasmin Qureshi, middle, and vice chair Jacob Rees-Mogg, front left
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Members of the APPG including its chair Yasmin Qureshi, middle, and vice chair Jacob Rees-Mogg, front left

The new report said MPs have “heard countless stories of sorrow and anger after a lifetime spent needlessly and irreparably damaged both physically and mentally”.

It added: “Mothers continue to be burdened by the guilt of having taken the tablets.

“Parents of the affected children, now in their 70s and 80s, are deeply anxious about what will happen to their adult children when they are no longer there for them.”

Yasmin Qureshi, chair of the APPG, said the report calls on the government to “finally do the right thing”.

“The report brings together the crucial parts of the historic research that has exposed the scandal that is at the heart of this campaign. This is the evidence that the government chooses to ignore.

“The report sets out the new scientific evidence which was recently published by a team led by Swedish scientist Professor Danielson.

“It asks, why does the government continue to rely so heavily on the expert working group report, when the findings, and how it came to achieve those findings, are so flawed?”

More than 100 claimants lost a bid to sue Bayer for damages in 2023
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More than 100 claimants lost a bid to sue Bayer for damages in 2023

Marie Lyon, chairwoman of the Association For Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests, said: “I await a positive response to our request for a completely independent review of all evidence.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We remain hugely sympathetic to the families who believe that they or their children have suffered following the use of hormone pregnancy tests.

“It is right that the government is led by the scientific evidence and the government’s position remains that, after reviewing the available evidence, it does not support a causal association between the use of hormone pregnancy tests and adverse outcomes in pregnancy.

“We are not closing the door on those who believe they have been affected and have committed to reviewing any new scientific evidence which may come to light.”

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Watch the Sky News documentary Primodos: A Bitter Pill

The German manufacturer of Primodos, Schering, now owned by Bayer told Sky News: “Since the discontinuation of the legal action in 1982, Bayer maintains that no significant new scientific knowledge has been produced which would call into question the validity of the previous assessment of there being no link between the use of Primodos and the occurrence of such congenital anomalies.

“In 2017, the expert working group of the UK’s Commission on Human Medicines published a detailed report concluding that the available scientific data from a variety of scientific disciplines did not support the existence of a causal relationship between the use of sex hormones in pregnancy and an increased incidence of congenital anomalies in the new-born or of other adverse outcomes such as miscarriage.

“The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use of the European Medicines Agency supported that conclusion.”

Dozens of firefighters attend west London blaze | UK News

Around 100 firefighters and 15 fire engines were called to a blaze at a terraced house in Kensington, west London on Friday morning.

Five people were rescued from flats on the first, second and fourth floors of the building, with 11 people treated by paramedics at the scene and taken to London hospitals and trauma centres.

Half of the ground floor of the five-storey building, which has been converted into flats, was alight at around 2.20am on Friday morning – almost two hours after fire brigades were called.

The scene of the fire in south Kensington overnight Pic: Susi Petherick
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Pic: Susi Petherick

Around 15 people escaped from the house on Emperor’s Gate in south Kensington before fire brigades arrived.

Fire crews from Kensington, Fulham, Battersea, Hammersmith and Chelsea also fought the blaze.

The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.

London Fire Brigade’s Steve Collins said at the scene: “The fire has spread from the ground floor to the top floor and roof of the property. Crews are working extremely hard to contain [it] further to stop it spreading to adjacent building.”

A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: “We sent a number of resources to the scene including ambulance crews, paramedics in response cars, advanced paramedics, operational managers and members of our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART). We also dispatched London’s air ambulance.

“We have treated eight patients and taken them to London hospitals and major trauma centres. We remain on scene with emergency services colleagues.”

Drug addict Ian Connell found guilty of strangling father-of-three to death in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester | UK News

A drug addict is facing life in prison after being found guilty of murdering a father-of-three.

The decomposing body of Donald Prentice Patience, 45, was discovered inside a duvet cover at the bottom of his stairs after officers were called to a suspected burglary at his home in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester.

A postman had called police on the morning of 22 August last year after he saw Ian Connell, 39, climb through the rear kitchen window of the end-of-terrace property.

When police arrived Connell was found nearby with Mr Patience’s white labradoodle, Layla, on a lead.

Homeless Connell lied to officers that his “dear friend” was in Scotland and had given him permission to break into his property so he could walk the dog, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Mr Patience, who was known to family and friends by his middle name Prentice, had been strangled at least a day before.

Donald 'Prentice' Patience.
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Donald Prentice Patience was murdered in August last year. Pic: Greater Manchester Police

The prosecution said Connell attacked his victim after probably rowing over money.

Michael Hayton KC told jurors the killer had preyed upon the good nature of Mr Patience, who had access to cash from a family property.

He said the defendant used Mr Patience as an “open wallet” to obtain thousands of pounds since they met in 2020, and accused Connell of losing his temper when he was refused cash for the first time to buy more drugs.

Police officers outside a property on Ainsworth Road in Radcliffe, Bury, where Greater Manchester Police said officers were called to at around 10.30am on Tuesday to reports of a burglary, with a white labradoodle dog being taken. The officers found Donald "Prentice" Patience, 45, dead at the property. Three men were arrested on suspicion of murder, and two, aged 27 and 41, have since been released on bail. Police said a 39-year-old man remains in police custody. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday August 25, 2023. See PA story POLICE Labradoodle. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
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Police officers outside Mr Patience’s home. Pic: PA

Killer ‘panicked’

Giving evidence, Connell said he had “never raised my hand to that man” and claimed he was asleep upstairs in a spare room, and under the influence of heroin and crack cocaine, when someone else strangled Mr Patience.

He said he “panicked” after he said he eventually discovered the body and went on to tell lies to police at the scene and in his initial interview with detectives.

He said he had used heroin and crack cocaine from about the age of 19, and claimed Mr Patience allowed him and others to use drugs in the house.

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The jury heard Connell visited Mr Patience’s home on the evening of 19 August and stayed in and around the address until police discovered the body.

Following the unanimous verdict, Connell told trial judge Mrs Justice Ellenbogen: “I know I’m not supposed to speak out of turn but I’m not guilty of this offence.”

Connell, from Bolton, will be sentenced on 6 March.

Sainsbury’s to cut 1,500 jobs in cost-cutting plan | Business News

Sainsbury’s have made plans to cut around 1,500 roles as it attempts to save £1bn, the company has announced.

The supermarket said it plans to make the savings over the next three years.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

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Leeds fan taken to hospital after falling from top tier of stand at Chelsea while celebrating goal | UK News

A Leeds United fan was taken to hospital after falling from the top tier at Stamford Bridge while celebrating a goal against Chelsea.

The two sides met in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday night, with Chelsea coming out on top in the final minute of the game to win 3-2.

But it was the Yorkshire club that opened the scoring through Mateo Joseph in the eighth minute in west London.

Amid the celebrations in the away end – where visiting teams are given a bigger-than-usual allocation in the FA Cup – Leeds United confirmed an “incident” took place.

Stamford Bridge. Pic: PA
Image:
Stamford Bridge. Pic: PA

“Leeds United can confirm an incident involving a Leeds United supporter occurred in the Shed End of Stamford Bridge during the first half of tonight’s FA Cup game,” it said in a statement.

“The incident is being investigated and is in the hands of the emergency services.”

Chelsea issued an identical statement.

Footage shared on social media appears to show a Leeds fan fall from the top tier of the corner of the Shed End.

The person seen in the footage falls onto empty seats, with no other Leeds fans near enough to be in danger.

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A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told Sky News the supporter’s family has been informed.

“Officers, alongside paramedics and staff from Chelsea FC, responded to an injured man in the away end during the match with Leeds United on Wednesday, 28 February,” the force said.

“The man was taken to hospital for treatment. We await an update on his condition. His family has been informed.”

Leeds United and Chelsea have a historical rivalry, which is seen by some as an embodiment of the north-south divide.

Vape ads on social media ‘need to stop’ as regulator announces crackdown | UK News

Vape ads across social media platforms “need to stop” and advertisers pleading ignorance is not an excuse, the advertising regulator has warned.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) – which regulates non-broadcast adverts – launched a crackdown on e-cigarette advertisers, warning the law prohibits them from marketing vapes containing nicotine that are not licensed as medicines on most social media.

It is currently illegal for retailers to sell disposable vapes to under-18s and the devices can not be displayed across almost all media or targeted at children.

Therefore, brands or retailers cannot promote them in paid-for posts or in non-paid-for posts on non-private accounts, such as on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook.

Vape ads will be permitted online in limited spaces like company websites, provided they do not target or appeal to children. They can only contain factual claims about the products.

CAP said it had sent enforcement notices to vape manufacturers and retailers with clear rules and underlining that ignorance was not an excuse, adding it would not hesitate “to apply sanctions” against those “unwilling or unable to comply”.

Advertisers have until 28 March to fall in line with the rules.

After this, CAP said it would carry out enhanced monitoring and would take action if it found ads that were breaking the rules.

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Pupils ‘can’t last a lesson’ without a vape

Last year, the regulator issued an enforcement notice to e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers requiring them to stop paid promotions on TikTok.

Using AI-assisted monitoring, CAP found that the companies promoting vapes or incentivising others to do so through social media were “typically small traders” who were “most likely in ignorance” of the rules and the law.

CAP secretary Shahriar Coupal said: “Our enforcement notice leaves traders in no doubt about their obligations under both and makes clear that e-cigarette promotions through social media channels need to stop.

“For those that fail to do so, we and our enforcement partners won’t hesitate to sanction them.”

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The crackdown comes ahead of a spring budget in which Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is considering a “vaping products levy” which would be paid on imports and by manufacturers of vapes to make the habit unaffordable for children.

Rishi Sunak announced plans to ban disposable vapes amid concerns about their growing use among children, especially following reports of nicotine dependency in school.

The Scottish and Welsh governments will also ban single-use vapes, which is set to be introduced by the end of 2025.