Protestors outside the Beccles Free School which opened today

Free Schools fight on

Controversial Free Schools have defied their critics and opened today in Bedford and Beccles.

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Nearly 1 in 3 in poverty

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New figures have been released by the Campaign to End Child poverty Credit: PA

Nearly 1 in 3 children in Norwich are living in poverty.

Figures released by the Campaign to End Child poverty found that the Tendring district of Essex and Luton also have a high proportion of children living without the essentials.

South Cambirdgeshire and Uttelsford district of Essex have some of the lowest levels in our region.

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Prison places affected

The Ministry of Justice is to close 7 of the country's prisons, including some in our region. 2,600 places will be lost from "old and uneconomic" prisons, with the hope it will save £63m in running costs. The Ministry of Justice says it also plans to build a new super prison with 2,000 places.

  • HMP Bulwood Hall in South Essex is to close, with the loss of 241 places

  • Also in Essex, HMP Chelmsford will lose 132 places

  • Meanwhile, HMP Peterborough looks set to get extra prison blocks

Ash Dieback - the effects

We've been hearing a lot about Ash dieback recently - the disease that's spread from the continent and could wipe out most of the ash trees in the East Anglian countryside.

More than a hundred thousand trees have already been destroyed - and it's a wood that's used in everything from specialist sports cars to holding up church bells. So what effect is this disease having? Kate Prout has been investigating. Watch her report.

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Bedford Free School 'will open'

by Elodie Harper, Education Correspondent
Principal Mark Lehain showing pupils around prospective school site earlier this year Credit: ITV Anglia

Bedford Free School says it will open on the 6th September; even though it was denied planning permission by Bedford Borough Council for the second time on Monday night.

The application had been recommended for approval by council officers, but the planning committee voted against it after raising concerns about child safety, congestion and parents picking up and dropping off pupils on Cauldwell Street.

In response the Governors of Bedford Free School have issued the following statement:

"We will be opening in September as planned and I take this opportunity to thank our parents for their magnificent and loyal support."

“We have legal advice which says that the building already has the required planning permission, as granted to leasees Bedford College earlier in the year. We have the approval of the Government department which is funding the school, plus Ofsted approval and the support of parents and pupils.

"We have an appeal against the planning decision scheduled for 25th September and we will win. In the meantime we have the important business of a school to open and pupils to welcome."

What to do after A Levels

by Elodie Harper

With the scramble for university places through clearing well underway, it can be hard for A-level students to take the time to consider whether a degree really is for them.

Three young graduates and school leavers from the East have been talking about the merits of going to university or not, and have their own advice for those getting their results today.

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