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New Nipper News blog posted by Simon on 7 February 2009, 8:51 am, under Events

The new Nipper News blog can be found at

Gene fault 'ups antibiotic risk' posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:31 pm, under Health

One in 500 children is carrying a gene variation which means they are more likely to be damaged by a commonly used hospital antibiotic, a study suggests. Aminoglycosides, often used to target serious infections, can permanently harm hearing. A team from the Institute of Child Health in London found the gene fault in 18 out of 9,371 children tested. In the New England Journal of Medicine they say it should be possible to screen out at risk children.

Parents urged to 'teach' cookery posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:31 pm, under Education

Parents must take more responsibility for teaching their children how to prepare meals from scratch, the Children's Secretary Ed Balls has said. The onus to pass on cookery skills did not only rest with teachers, he said. Detailing a £3.3m package to recruit 750 cookery teaching assistants and boost existing teachers' skills, Mr Balls said obesity must be reduced. From 2011, cookery lessons will be compulsory in England's secondary schools for children aged 11 to 14.

Food firms told to offer snack size portions posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:31 pm, under Health

Alan Johnson will meet leading business figures from firms like Mars, Coca-Cola, Britvic and Nestle as part of the Government's Change4Life campaign. Speaking to the Business4Life coalition of companies, Mr Johnson will call upon them to create healthy new snacks that will appeal to children and to cut down portion sizes. He will urge them to reduce the sugar content in existing food and drink, and to sell "snack sizes" of products along traditional sizes.

Google Latitude to allow you to track friends and families every move posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:31 pm, under Welfare

The new 'opt-in' feature available in Google Maps pinpoints the exact location of loved ones, but has been met with sharp criticism from privacy campaigners. Millions of people will be able to track each and every move by friends and family through their mobile phones, thanks to a new feature launched by Google yesterday.

Apprenticeship plan for schools posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:31 pm, under Education

Ministers say they want schools in England to take on apprentices in the role of teaching assistants. Schools Secretary Ed Balls says he wants to see 4,000 young people taking up the role next year. The National Union of Teachers has dismissed the plan as an "ill thought out idea".

Schools to help social services protect children posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:31 pm, under Welfare

Statutory children's trusts will bring together schools and social services to improve the safety of all children in England, Ed Balls, the children's secretary told MPs today. Since 2004 local authorities have been able to set up children's trusts that bring together councils, schools, social services, police and GPs. But some – including Haringey – have not done so and a new government bill due out tomorrow will put them on a legal footing.

Lib Dem pledge to cut class sizes posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:30 pm, under Education

The Liberal Democrats say they would enable English infant schools to reduce class sizes to 15 - half the current maximum - by training more teachers. They say they would fund this by ending the Child Trust Fund, which gives every child £250 when they are born, and by redirecting other public spending.

Valentine's offers at Argos posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:24 pm, under Bargains

More Valentine's offers, not just for Valentine's Day though ;-). There's 20% off fragrances and 20% off all DVDs (use code DVD20 to claim your discount), plus many other gifts.

Great Valentine's Offers

Babymonitors half-price sale posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:23 pm, under Bargains

A good baby monitor can really make a difference. Simon fancied a video monitor, but we eventually settled for the digital audio monitor BT 150, which has a really clear reception up to 300m (we've tried it out in hotels, very handy!), a talk-back function (great for reassuring baby), a torch (so you don't have to switch on the hall lights when you go up the stairs in the evening), it shows the room temperature in baby's room and alerts you if it's too high or too low and it plays a range of lullabies or you can plug in your own MP3 player with your choice of music. It's also got a belt clip, which means I can take the monitor round the house with me, or even into the garden when I'm weeding! So all in all, a great monitor that we're very happy with.

What a lucky coincidence that Baby Monitors Direct, the UK's largest online baby monitors specialist store, is currently running a winter sale promotion with prices reduced by 50% and more! What's more, delivery is free. So if you haven't got a monitor yet or feel you could do with an upgrade, check out this website.

Babies R Us half-price sale posted by Jana on 5 February 2009, 1:12 pm, under Bargains

Babies R Us are having a half-price sale, where you can pick up a snowsuit for £7.99, a two-pack of T-shirts for £2.99 and a two-pack of joggers for £3.99. There's also furniture: the Caversham wardrobe in natural for £195.73 and a travel highchair for £29.35, as well as car- seats, pushchairs and toys. So what are you waiting for? Go and have a look!

Pregnant smokers 'fear criticism' posted by Jana on 4 February 2009, 7:42 am, under Conception

Many pregnant women who smoke do not approach doctors for help to quit because they think they will be "judged", a poll for the NHS suggests. Of 224 pregnant smokers questioned, 25% said they had not sought help because of worries about being criticised. Some 40% said they had not
admitted their habit to midwives or doctors.

Obese cancer 'explosion' warning posted by Jana on 4 February 2009, 7:42 am, under Health

The current generation of children faces a far higher risk of cancer later in life due to their unhealthy habits, a specialist has warned. Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones said western countries should prepare for an "explosion" of weight-related cancers.

Schools that break admission rules to face spot checks posted by Jana on 4 February 2009, 7:42 am, under Education

Schools which break admission rules should face spot checks, according to the new chief adjudicator of schools. Ian Craig, 61, has been appointed by the schools secretary, Ed Balls, to rule in disputes over admissions and the closing and opening of new schools. The workload of the adjudicator increased last year following insurance complaints from councils about individual schools. It was revealed that half of state schools in England are flouting admissions rules, leaving
potentially thousands of children without places.

Schools warned on parental costs posted by Jana on 4 February 2009, 7:42 am, under Education

Schools in England are being told to limit what parents have to pay for things like uniforms and trips. The amount parents spend on school costs has increased by 4% in five years. Four in 10 say they are finding these difficult to pay. Such additional costs include uniforms, lunches and out-of-class activities. Children's Secretary Ed Balls said he was "very concerned" that some schools were not following existing guidance. Parents spend on average £683 a year on children at primary school and £1,195 at secondary school, the report says.

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