Government announcement digest

Enhanced redundancy protection for pregnant women and new parents

Pregnant women and new mothers could receive up to 2 years of legal protection against redundancy, with new protections today (22 July) being extended for an additional 6 months after their return to work, Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst announced.

The move comes in response to a government consultation which found that new parents continue to face unfair discrimination. Research estimates that up to 54,000 women a year felt they had to leave their jobs due to pregnancy or maternity discrimination.

 

Flood resilience funding 

 

Communities across England are set to be better protected against the impacts of flooding thanks to almost £3 million of government investment, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey confirmed today (Monday 22 July).

Following a competitive evaluation process, three projects across Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall and central England have been chosen to receive up to £700,000 each to boost research into, and uptake of, property-level measures which can better protect homes and businesses from flooding.

The South West Partnership project, led by Cornwall County Council, will focus on local innovation to enhance the future take-up of property flood resilience measures. As well as establishing a demonstration hub and web portal it will seek to simplify and streamline processes, increasing the flood resilience of communities across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

 

Teachers feel unsupported on classroom behaviour

Teachers believe there is a lack of support for tackling poor classroom behaviour, either from school leaders or from parents, new research has found. In a report published at the end of the school year looking at the well-being of teachers, Ofsted has found that managing poor behaviour in the classroom is one of the main causes of low morale.

Ofsted carried out extensive research among staff in schools and further education and skills (FES) providers in order to better understand the issues that lead to poor occupational well-being, and make recommendations to address them.

The report finds that teachers overwhelmingly love their profession and enjoy teaching and building relationships with pupils. However, the overall well-being of most teachers is low. Positive factors are outweighed by high workloads, poor work-life balance, a perceived lack of resources and too little support from leaders, especially for managing bad behaviour. All these negative feelings can lead to higher levels of sickness absence and teachers leaving the profession entirely.

 

Heat advice

Weather forecasts show a very warm week for much of the country with hot days and warm nights. Temperatures are likely to rise on Tuesday 23 July through to Thursday 25 July 2019, which may leave older people, young children and those with long-term conditions, including heart and lung diseases, struggling to adapt to the heat.

Owen Landeg, Principal Environmental Public Health Scientist at Public Health England said:

Much of the advice on beating the heat is common sense and for many people spells of warmer weather are something they very much enjoy. However, for some people, such as older people, those with underlying health conditions and young children, the summer heat can bring real health risks. That’s why we’re urging everyone to keep an eye on those you know who may be at risk this summer.

If you’re able, ask if your friends, family or neighbours need any support. Also take water with you when travelling and keep up to date with weather forecasts.

It’s also worth remembering to think about practical steps to keep homes cool during the day as this can aid sleeping at night and give the body time to recover from the heat.

Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, Paul Gundersen said:

The UK will experience another pulse of high temperatures this week, with the possibility of records being broken for not only July but also all-time records. The weather setup is broadly similar to the pattern that brought high temperatures to much of continental Europe at the end of June.

As well as high temperatures during the day, overnight temperatures will also be notably warm and could also break records. Conditions will feel much more comfortable for all by the time we get to Friday.

The top ways for staying safe when the heat arrives are to:

  • drink plenty of fluids and avoid excess alcohol
  • look out for others, especially older people, young children and babies and those with underlying health conditions
  • close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler and remember it may be cooler outdoors than indoors
  • never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially infants, young children or animals
  • try to keep out of the sun between 11 am to 3 pm
  • take care and follow local safety advice, if you are going into the water to cool down
  • walk in the shade, apply sunscreen and wear a hat if you have to go out in the heat
  • avoid physical exertion in the hottest parts of the day
  • wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes
  • make sure you take water with you if you are travelling

Teachers’ pay rises

School teachers and leaders are set to receive an above inflation pay rise in the next academic year.

The Education Secretary has today (Mon 22 July) accepted all the recommendations from the independent School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), to raise the upper and lower boundaries of all pay ranges by 2.75 per cent.

NHS Doctors’ and dentists’  pay rises

The Health and Social Care Secretary has announced one of the biggest pay rises in a decade for thousands of NHS doctors and dentists.

The announcement is in response to the 47th report of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB).

The increases for 2019 to 2020 will be between:

  • £1,940 and £2,630 for consultants
  • £970 and £1,820 for specialty doctors
  • £1,360 and £2,250 for associate specialists

This will be backdated to April 2019.

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