News story: HMCI responds to National Audit Office report

first_img Like much of the public sector, we are operating in a difficult financial climate. As the report acknowledges, the envelope provided by the Department for Education for school inspection is 52% less, in real terms, than it was in 2000. This means that we have had to make tough decisions about how we prioritise resources. I am confident that Ofsted gets the balance right. For example, by focusing more resource on inspection of schools that are less than good. An increase in either the number of inspections or time spent on inspection will quite simply require greater funding. Ofsted is only one lever in the school system, which is why it has proven difficult for the NAO to judge our impact and value for money. As we have made clear to the NAO, judging ourselves against school outcomes would inevitably create perverse incentives. We exist to provide an objective account of the quality of the nation’s schools. The NAO’s conclusion that we cannot prove the value for money we represent is explicitly not the same as demonstrating that we do not provide value, particularly considering that the costs of our school inspection work represents just 0.1% of the overall school budget. We are confident we compare well against other school inspectorates internationally, something the NAO did not look at. We recognise that in 2015, a year in which we were also required to hand back £6m of our agreed budget, our decision to raise workforce standards resulted in reduced numbers of inspectors and therefore created short term challenges around deployment and the volumes of inspections achieved. These issues have now been resolved and our workforce quality is better than ever. All of the NAO’s further recommendations are ones we were already in the process of addressing. Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector said: Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 6pm 0300 013 0415 Media enquiries Clive House70 Petty FranceLondonSW1H 9EXcenter_img Read NAO’s report ‘Ofsted’s inspection of schools’. Out of hours duty press officer 07919 057 359 Email [email protected]last_img read more

Coronavirus: government to fund sick pay for SMEs

first_imgSmall- and medium-sized businesses will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for staff off work due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.Employers with fewer than 250 staff (as of 28 February) will be eligible to claim a refund of up to two weeks’ SSP for each eligible employee who has been off work because of Covid-19.In addition, SSP will now be available for people diagnosed with Covid-19 or those unable to work because they are self-isolating. People who are advised to self-isolate will soon be able to obtain an alternative to the doctor’s fit note to cover this by contacting NHS 111.The plans were announced in today’s (11 March) Budget as part of a £12bn package of temporary measures to support public services, individuals and businesses through economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.Employers will need to keep records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a doctor’s note. The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers.The Budget was also used to announce plans to aid businesses impacted by Covid-19 by:Increasing the Business Rates retail discount to 100% for a year and expand it to the leisure and hospitality sectorsProviding an additional £2.2bn funding for local authorities to support small businesses that already pay little or no Business Rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR). This will provide a one-off grant of £3,000 to around 700,000 business currently eligible for SBRR or Rural Rate ReliefEstablishing a temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, delivered by the British Business Bank, to support businesses to access bank lending and overdrafts.In addition, it was pointed out that all businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.last_img read more

Two thumbs up for Midmar Mile

first_img11 February 2008Despite rainy weather throughout Saturday, the 2008 Midmar Mile weekend was a roaring success, with excellent racing, fun and drama, slickly put together into a professional package that kept competitors and spectators well entertained at the world’s largest open water swimming event.A significantly upgraded commentary set-up worked brilliantly. For the first time, big screen televisions covered the action at both the start and finish. Race commentary was provided by people at the start, top swimming coaches in boats on the water, the pilot of a helicopter over the dam, and more commentators at the finish.Besides being broadcast over a far-reaching sound-system, the commentary also went out on 100.5 FM over a 30-kilometre radius around the Midmar Dam.Into focusWith the massive fields of swimmers out in the dam, causing splashes reminiscent of a sardine run on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, the comprehensive coverage of the event helped bring into focus the action in the water, at the start and at the finish. Outstanding!The introduction of the Mr Price timing chip played a massive role in making the job of the commentators an easy one. Identifying swimmers, with each of them wearing caps, is not an easy job, but a quick glance at a number and running it through a computer made matters relatively easy.As competitors crossed the timing mats at the finish, their times and names became available, which allowed the commentators to personalise their comments.Ultimately, it made for a warm and feel-good production which made everyone a part of the event.Men’s titleThe primary men’s title, in the category 14-30 years, was claimed by open water swimming star Shaun Dias in a fantastic sprint finish across the timing mat, just ahead of Chad Ho.Dias went out fast from the start, picking up hotspots wins as the 400 metres, 800m, and 1 200m marks. The final 400 metres, however, saw Ho drawing up alongside Dias to match him stroke for stroke as the finish drew near.On the banks, the crowds edged closer to the water, excitement palpable in the air, to watch the drama unfold. Dias was first to his feet, fractionally ahead of Ho. Both immediately turned on the afterburners in a race for the line, with Dias winning in 19:05, only one second ahead of Ho.Visiting Hungarian swimmer Csabo Gersack captured third place in 19:19.Women’s championVictory in the women’s 14-30 went Hungary’s way as Erika Hajnal out-duelled South Africa’s Melissa Corfe to win in her first go at the Midmar Mile.There were shades of 2007 as Hajnal adopted a similar line to the one used by Australia’s Melissa Gorman when she won a year earlier.Corfe took up a line that was as much as 100 metres apart from Hajnal but, after realising the Hungarian was on a better course, she moved inwards in an effort to close the gap. It was too late.Despite a furious finishing burst by Corfe, she couldn’t catch Hajnal, who won in 20:27, three seconds ahead of the South African. Melanie Greyling took third place in 21:48.CharityMembers of the 8-Mile Club, including three-time winner Gareth Fowler, two-time champion Terence Parkin and former Springbok prop Adrian Garvey, completed every race in their distinctive gold caps as they raised money for charity.The Game Charity Challenge swimmers were also prominent with their pink caps as they too swam for charity. In the company relay, 87 swimmers from Game Stores took to the water, with Game donating R1 000 for each swimmer that took part.Event one on Saturday decided a number of titles, including those of the Ironman and Ironwoman. The Ironman/Ironwoman is made up of the previous year’s Comrades Marathon, the Dusi Canoe Marathon, and the Midmar Mile, while the biathlon part of the competition includes the Midmar Mile and Dusi Canoe Marathon, as well as the Midmar Mile and the Comrades Marathon.Ironman titlesRoy Delhove claimed the Ironman title, including all three events, while Kerry Koen was crowned women’s champion.The men’s Ironman biathlon title, including the Comrades and Midmar Mile, went the way of Bruce Gore, while Kerry Koen was again the winner among the women.The Ironman biathlon title, including the Dusi and Midmar Mile, saw Dusi great Hank McGregor top among the men and Angela Scrooby coming out on top among the ladies.Gareth Fowler led Terence Parkin across the finishing line.Included in the field were 30 swimmers from the Sobantu development programme, a success story which was started thanks to the support of the Midmar Mile and the organising club, Pietermaritzburg Seals.Team relaysUnilever Wave defended their title in the company relay, with Brett Clark leading their challenge by finishing third behind 8-Milers’ Fowler and Parkin, who weren’t officially in the running for victory.Event three, the non-company relay, is closely watched as an indicator of the form of the leading swimmers ahead of the main men’s and women’s races on Sunday.Charl van Zyl took victory in 19:45, ahead of JC Thompson and Wesley Gilchrist, but perhaps the most telling result was Melissa Corfe ending sixth overall, the first woman across the line, in 20:05.USN-Spike retained their title.Family relayThe final event on Saturday, the family relay, was won by the Dias family, with Shaun taking first, Paul fifth, and Gareth sixth.Courtney and Kirsten Mower, part of the defending champion team, put the pressure on by ending second and third respectively, with Connie and Caitlyn Mower finishing a little way back to ensure the Mower family finished as runners-up.True magicIt was at the back end of the family relay that the true magic of the Midmar Mile was revealed. Watching spouses, siblings, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, exiting the water together, with mile-wide smiles, pride and love plastered across their features was lump-in-the throat theatre.Here and there messages in marking pens were written on swimmers’ bodies: “4 mum + dad”, “4 dad-zn”, and other more humourous offerings, such as “Learner, please pass”.Much as the true spirit of KwaZulu-Natal’s other major mass-participation events – the Comrades Marathon and the Dusi Canoe Marathon – is to be found among the entrants competing to finish the events, rather than racing to win, so the heart-warming spirit of the Midmar Mile became clear in the family relay.Age group winnersSunday morning’s first event, the women’s 13-and-under and 31-and-over, was won by Kira Hauptfleisch, an under-13 entrant, in a time of 21:27.Stacey Bowley topped the 31-40 age group, while Lulu Cochran, a visitor from the United Kingdom, was number one in the 41-50 section. Rita Townsend won the 51-60 event.The men’s event in the same age divisions was won by Ryno Markgraaff after a fantastic dice against Gregg Price that had the spectators enthralled.Markgraaff’s win saw him take the 31-40 title, while Price won in the 41-50 age group. Lliam Hunt was the top under-13 finisher.Veteran starsLorna Cochran lifted the women’s record for the oldest finisher to 84 years of age, while Mike “Buthy” Arbuthnot swam the Mile for the 35th year in succession. Having been a part of the 8-Mile Club previously, he has swum the race 65 times in total!Apart from Adrian Garvey swimming all eight events, a few other ex Springbok rugby players were in attendance. Former captain Gary Teichmann swam the first race, while Os du Randt was on hand to support his wife, Hannelie, who in her younger days won her national colours for swimming. Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Hyundai Elantra TVC introduces ‘big’ small car

first_imgThe Hyundai Motors has reportedly used the idea of a Russian doll to introduce its new Elantra, the small car with big car features.The ad involves designing, engineering and animating 18 mechanical arms to transform a ceiling decoration into robotic apparatus. The campaign launches with a 45-second TV ad, with online, print and point of sale running in support.Hyundai’s marketing director, Oliver Mann, told a website that “The Elantra is the latest new model to be unveiled by Hyundai, and maintains the brand’s reputation for groundbreaking car design, matched by groundbreaking communications.””The new TV spot uses state of the art CGI to convey that Elantra incorporates big car thinking and design in a beautifully compact shell,” he added.It may be noted Hyundai Motors has last month expressed apprension over achieving its sales target for this year on account of higher petrol prices and increased cost of borrowings.Hyundai Motor India marketing and sales director, Arvind Saxena, has said, “In the beginning of the year, we had forecast a 6-7 per cent sales growth. That may be difficult to achieve now.”Saxena said because of cheaper diesel price compared to petrol, customers are preferring diesel cars, adding that diesel models currently comprise 28 per cent of Hyundai’s overall vehicles sales.Hyundai sold 6,16,039 cars and sport-utility vehicles in the previous year. Though the company’s domestic sales were up 4.8 per cent in 2011, which stood at 3,73,709 units, its outbound shipments dropped 1.9 per cent to 2,42,330 units.As to the proposed move to hike duty on diesel cars, Saxena said it would not help the government to augment the revenue collection.advertisementWith Agency inputslast_img read more

21 days ago​Arsenal boss Emery delighted with Tierney performance

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say ​Arsenal boss Emery delighted with Tierney performanceby Paul Vegas21 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery is delighted with Kieran Tierney after his return from injury.The summer signing from Celtic backed up his impressive debut last week with another quality display in Thursday’s comfortable win over Standard Liege.Asked about Tierney’s performance, Emery said: “Kieran after his injury is coming back with a good attitude.”He played last week against Nottingham Forest for 80 minutes with a good performance, and tonight was another very good performance.”We are a better competitive team with him and with Sead Kolasinac at left back. We are happy with him.” last_img

Alabama Football: Here’s Video Of Nick Saban’s Daughter Dancing As The Alabama Mascot At Her Wedding

first_imgA closeup of Nick Saban on the Alabama sideline.TUSCALOOSA, AL – NOVEMBER 22: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide looks on during the game against the Western Carolina Catamounts at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 22, 2014 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)Saturday night, Nick Saban’s daughter, Kristen, got married at Bryant-Denny Stadium, which, of course, is the ultimate dream for any Crimson Tide fan. The wedding was complete with a rendition of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and a number of other Alabama-themed activities for guests. But one takes the cake.Kristen Saban and her new husband, Adam Setas, danced with Alabama mascot heads. Yep, Saban danced with the Big Al headpiece on at her wedding. There was more than one, too. Check it out:Weird? A little. But if you’re going to go full Alabama at your wedding, this is how to do it.last_img read more

4-Star Alabama Commit VanDarius Cowan Makes It Clear He Isn’t Interested In Any Other Schools

first_imgVanDarius Cowan commits to Alabama and poses with Nick Saban.Palm Beach Gardens (FL) defensive end/outside linebacker VanDarius Cowan wants fans to know he’s not considering any other school.After committing to Florida State, Cowan switched his interest to the Crimson Tide, to which he gave a hard commitment in April. With recruits constantly posting their top schools of interest across social media, Cowan took the time to emphasize to ‘Bama fans that he’s not going anywhere else. Here is my Top 4 No order … Alabama Alabama Alabama Alabama Thanks To Everyone that have recruited me this far— VanDarius Cowan (@vandarius98) July 15, 2016The OLB is ranked at No. 141 on 247Sports’ National Composite Rankings. The site also ranked him as the 23rd-best player in the state of Florida.last_img

Suspect in Hamilton Good Samaritan shooting arrested along with female police

first_imgHAMILTON – Police say a man wanted in connection the fatal shooting of a Good Samaritan in Hamilton has been arrested.Yosif Al-Hasnawi — described by police as a brave young man who was trying to do the right thing — was shot when he tried to intervene as two men were accosting an older man in downtown Hamilton on Saturday night.A second-degree murder warrant was issued on Monday for 19-year-old Dale Burningsky King, who police say was arrested Thursday afternoon in Hagersville, Ont.Hamilton police say a female arrested at the same time is charged with accessory after the fact to murder.A 20-year-old man who was arrested on Monday in connection with the shooting also faces a charge of accessory after the fact to murder.last_img

Hydrogen sulfide leak at Suncor refinery sends workers to hospital

Filed under: nsjgmbtl — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 4:21 am October 13, 2019

first_imgEDMONTON – A number of people at Suncor’s refinery in Edmonton were sent to hospital after a toxic gas was released.Suncor spokeswoman Erin Rees says company crews responded to a release of hydrogen sulphide at around noon on Wednesday.Rees says a number of employees and contractors were in the vicinity of the release, and were assessed by Suncor and Alberta Health Services personnel.She says a handful were sent to hospital for further assessment, but all were expected to be released.Hydrogen sulphide is a poisonous, corrosive and flammable colourless gas that smells of rotten eggs.Rees says there will be an investigation into the cause of the release.Companies in this story: (TSX:SU)last_img

Bhim Army chief says will fight against PM Modi in Varanasi

Filed under: wztsorsa — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 10:40 am October 12, 2019

first_imgNew Delhi: Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad on Friday addressed a rally with BSP founder Kanshi Ram’s sister and announced that he will contest the Lok Sabha elections against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Varanasi seat, a move that is likely to upset the SP-BSP alliance in Uttar Pradesh.The Bhim Army, which has been trying to mobilise Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, also told PTI that it will field a candidate against Union minister Smriti Irani and “wherever there’s a need of a strong nominee against the BJP”. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!At the rally organised to mark the 85th birth anniversary of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram, Chandrashekhar said he would ensure that PM Modi is not re-elected to the Lok Sabha from Varanasi. “I will challenge Narendra Modi in Varanasi… to protect the Constitution and the rights of Dalits. I do not want to become an MP or MLA. Had that been the case, I would have chosen a reserved seat,” he said. “After the prime minister came to know that we are going to challenge him in Varanasi, he started washing the feet of sanitation workers in Allahabad,” the Bhim Army chief said. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedThe BJP is yet to announce the constituency from where Modi will contest the upcoming election. Chandrashekhar alleged that the Narendra Modi government’s decision to give 10 per cent quota to the general category poor is an attack on the Constitution and is aimed at serving the BJP’s interests. Recalling that Samajwadi Party founder Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comment in Parliament that Modi should become prime minister again, he asked Akhilesh Yadav to answer if his party will protect the rights of Dalits if they voted for it. The Dalit leader also said the SP-BSP alliance should “send (Kanshi Ram’s sister) Swarn Kaur to Parliament”. Bhim Army Vice President Manjeet Nautiyal told PTI that they will field a candidate against Irani and “also on the seats where the SP-BSP alliance is not strong enough to defeat the BJP”. Asked if the Dalit group will support the Congress, he said the Rahul Gandhi-led party did not fight for Dalits for the last 70 years.last_img read more

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