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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 159

Date:- 17 July 2004

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College Anger Over Job Cuts

ST HELENS College management is threatening 19 compulsory redundancies targeted at lecturers and support staff. The announcement was made as the summer term was coming to an end and almost a year to the day since a panic over finances led to the last round of job cuts.

Under pressure from Natfhe (the teaching staff union), management have agreed to set up a voluntary severance scheme, giving staff less than one week to apply, with a view to people leaving the College by the end of the month. This will give those staff who do leave virtually no time to find alternative employment by September. 

Colin Gledhill, Regional Official of the lecturers’ union Natfhe, said:- “It seems that redundancies are becoming the annual reward for lecturers at the end of the academic year.” 

Lecturers feel that the current mess must be laid at the door of poor management. 

One lecturer said:- “Only a few weeks ago staff were assured that the college was financially sound. Now pressure is being placed on lecturers to go, and with hardly any consultation at all.” 

Much of the blame however lies with government failure to value the FE sector the way it values schools and universities. 

According to Mr Gledhill:- “This is not just terrible news for staff morale. It’s bad news for education in St Helens, and it means the people of the town will lose out. Colleges like St Helens College do wonders for ordinary working class students – youngsters and adults. Further education has lost out again.”

SEFTON PLAYS SIM CITY.
 

SEFTON council representatives were joined by members of the police, parish councilors, education planners and other bodies to play a high tec learning Simulation of the North West region.  The participants learned through the game the need for working closer with one anouther in an enjoyable workshop.   The half day interactive workshop was broken up into four sessions,  introduction, giving the history of the project where participants found out all about the systems development.  The workshop moves onto briefing the participants about what is to come and then onto classifying local issues.  This involves members of each group being asked to write one good and one bad issue to do with the local area and then they all discusses them.   The third step is the learning Simulation, a computer program that looks like Simcity, but a lot more complex and realistic.  It was developed by Planitnw with the help of the NHS, Home Office, Northwest Development Agency, Action for Sustainability and lots of other government bodies and agencies.  The program forces the participants to make difficult choices and decisions head on in the virtual environment and the see what the results are.  The program uses real life data and history taken from all over the North West on everything from population expansion to crime and pollution, even education issues are addressed in the program.  After the simulation, the final part of the work shop comes into effect.  The groups are then asked to look to feed back what they have learned and a final debrief is undertaken.  

It might seem like a expensive computer game, but the issues it raises and the simulations it performs are all based on real life and it does help in long term strategy building.   The over all aim to get our region to find out just why we all need to work closer with one anouther at all levels, with the aim at improving the local communities and the economy for the future.   You can try a simplified version the game for your self on www.pixlfountain.co.uk/planit-nw/.  It is well worth a look.  

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UK KIDS SPENDING HALF OF MONTHLY POCKET MONEY ON SWEETS, CRISPS AND CHOCOLATE AND HIDE SWEET STASH FROM PARENTS

LATEST research amongst 7-16 year olds reveals the sweet eating habits of the UK’s children. A quarter of kids in the North West don’t eat fruit because it’s not “cool” to. Fruit company challenges them to a sweet amnesty and launches a “Fruit is Cool” campaign this Friday 9th July in Hey Green School in Liverpool.

A survey of 1,000 seven to sixteen year old children has revealed that kids are spending almost half of their monthly income on sweets, crisps and chocolate and almost 50% of those questioned are hiding a sweet stash from their parents. Males along with young people in the West Midlands tend to spend more than females, and the lowest spenders are from Wales, although they earn the least amount each month.

The research has been carried out by Cape Apples, to gain a better understanding of kids’ eating habits. The survey also revealed that children between 7 and 16 are, on average, eating more packets of sweets, crisps and chocolate than fruit a week. That is over 50% say they eat up to six packets a week compared to 36% eating up to 6 portions of fruit per week. 

That said, almost 90% of kids questioned said they did eat fruit. Of those that didn’t the second most popular reason after “I don’t like it”, especially amongst boys and those aged 7-10, is “it’s not cool”. 30% of kids in Scotland don’t eat fruit for this reason, 25% in the North West, West Midlands and London, and 14% in Wales. Almost 7% said they didn’t eat fruit because their parents did not buy it – this figure rose to over 50% amongst respondents from the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside. A lower percentage of boys (86%) eat fruit than girls (92%). A higher percentage of boys (15%) eat more than 12 packets of sweets, crisps or chocolates a week compared to girls (4.5%). 

Friday is no longer “sweetie day”. The majority of kids said they eat sweets most days although they are least likely to eat sweets on a Sunday. Almost half said their parents were relaxed about them eating sweets, although 1 in 4 said their parents nagged them. Young people in London experience the highest rate or parental anxiety with 39.5% of respondents saying that their parents nagged them.

Average monthly earnings from pocket money and jobs vary widely across the UK:- the top earners are kids in Yorkshire and Humberside, who earn £51.31 on average. The lowest earners are children in Wales (£8.18).

The research findings have led Cape Apples to launch the “Fruit is Cool” campaign, aimed at trying to encourage kids, especially primary school aged children, to eat more fruit and see eating it as something which is cool. To kick off the campaign, Cape Apples are challenging the nation to a sweet amnesty and are giving out free apples in exchange for sweets. The amnesty is happening in primary schools and city centres this Friday 9th July. Ex-Atomic Kitten star, Liz McLarnon will be visiting a school in London to launch the campaign. 

Martin Dunnett of Cape Apples commented:- ”Fruit companies don’t have the multi-million pound marketing budgets the sweets, crisps and chocolate companies do. They have been promoting their products and creating a cool “must have” image to kids for a long time. We’re not against young people eating and enjoying sweets in moderation – we just want to make sure they feel the same way about fruit. We’re hoping people up and down the country hand their sweets over for a free apple just for one day, and back the “Fruit is Cool” campaign.”

A NIGHT OF TERRIFYING THINGS!

THE on and only Freemaker will be joined by The Most Terrifying Things and The Alterkicks
Satuday 24 July at the Carling Academy in Liverpool. Doors open at 7:00pm and tickets are £4.00 in advance. You can book now on 0870 771 2000 (24hr) or ring the customer information line for more information on:- 0905 020 3999

Log On Today!  Hear the local bands, pop, rock, classical, jazz and more... also going out soon will be phone ins and other talk events that will keep you entertained.