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Free School opens in old Fire Station

The sixth form is in a converted fire station Credit: ITV

A Norwich Free School, the Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form, has moved into the city's Old Fire Station.

The sixth form, which specialises in maths and science, has been running in temporary classrooms for two terms while the listed building was converted into a school.

The station yard has become a canteen Credit: ITV News Anglia

The architects have retained many of the features of the old fire station, creating open spaces for students to gather.

The tender hall where the fire engines were kept is now a lecture theatre.

Dr Mark Evans, in the tender hall/lecture theatre Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Principal, Dr Mark Evans, says the building will add to the students' learning experience.

"It speaks of 70 years of fire engines parked in this very spot, of course the poles in the corner of the room are listed and the doors themselves have been kept, though we've put in a little extra glass."

"The whole space will always say fire station, important norwich heritage, as well as cutting edge science school."

The old doors with extra glass Credit: ITV News Anglia

Tomorrow evening at 7pm, the school will hold an open day, both for prospective parents and for visitors interested in the building's story.

'Supermum' squirrel produces 48th Kitten

A red squirrel at a conservation centre in Norfolk has stunned wardens by producing her 48th kitten.

Affectionately named Tortoiseshell, the seven-year-old squirrel has proved to be one of the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust's greatest success stories, producing her littlers since 2008.

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Tortoiseshell with one of her babies Credit: Pensthorpe Conservation Trust

Tortoiseshell and her former partner Tweedledum were considered one of the most successful breeding pairs in the Trust’s history, but when Tweedledum died in 2012 there was concern she might never breed again.

But Tortoiseshell’s latest match with new partner Bryn has produced three new kittens - two male and one female.

Wardens predict that the kittens were born between late February and early March They venture from the drey after 6 to 7 weeks and are fully weaned by 10 weeks old.

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Two of Tortoiseshell's latest litter Credit: Pensthorpe Conservation Trust

Chrissie Kelley, Head of Species Management for the Trust and Coordinator for the East Anglian Red Squirrel group said “Red squirrels only survive in a handful of locations in the UK, which is why we’re so fortunate to have successful breeding pairs here at Pensthorpe.

"By having her here we can highlight the beauty and character of this enigmatic species by capturing the imagination of our visitors and educating them on their plight.”

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Research institute will support veterans and their families

Lord General Richard Dannatt. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

The UK's first research institute supporting veterans and their families will officially open at Anglia Ruskin University's Chelmsford campus today.

Former head of the army Lord General Richard Dannatt will help launch the centre and has given it his backing, along with Falklands hero Simon Weston and veteran Phil Packer, who is an ambassador for the institute.

There are an estimated six million military veterans across all three armed forces in the UK.

A lesson in pre-school care for the childcare minister Liz Truss, but should nurseries really be more like schools?

The way our pre-school children learn has been in the spotlight since education watchdog Ofsted said nurseries needed to be more aligned with schools to better prepare youngsters for their education.

Today, the Childcare Minister Liz Truss visited a nursery in a deprived area of Ipswich and urged the country's pre-schools to follow its lead.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Serena Sandhu

Liz Truss urges UK's pre-schools to follow lead of Ipswich nursery

Liz Truss at the Buttons and Bows nursery this morning.
Liz Truss at the Buttons and Bows nursery this morning. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Childcare minister Elizabeth Truss visited a nursery in a deprived area of Ipswich today - and urged the country's pre-schools to follow its lead.

Last week the Norfolk MP sparked more controversy when she said nurseries needed to be more aligned with schools to better prepare youngsters for their education.

But as she visited the outstanding-rated Buttons and Bows nursery this morning, she insisted there was still a place for fun and play.

Ms Truss believes there's a big gap between children on the lowest incomes and the highest incomes.
Ms Truss believes there's a big gap between children on the lowest incomes and the highest incomes. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"Sometimes there's a false argument presented that we want two-year-olds sat in mortar boards doing trigonometry," Ms Truss said.

"That's not what this is about. It's all about children developing important, early language because at the moment when they get to school there's a big gap between children on the lowest incomes and the highest incomes."

Education Secretary promotes political engagement for teens

It was anything but an ordinary Friday for students at an academy in Northampton today.

The Education Secretary paid staff and students a visit.

Michael Gove told our Education Correspondent Elodie Harper that engagement in politics among our young people needs to be better encouraged.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper

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IES Breckland responds

IES Breckland were not available for interview regarding Mick Smith's criticism, but referred ITV News to a previous statement by the Principal Alison Tilbrook regarding Ofsted's decision to place the school in special measures.

"We are of course dissatisfied with our performance in the recent Ofsted inspection but accept the team’s conclusions and we are already taking steps to address many of the issues identified in the report.

"This inspection came in the middle of a process of change at IES Breckland, following our own assessment of the school at the start of the academic year, and we have already taken steps to strengthen the leadership and teaching staff. A new full-time Principal has taken up post and a number of new staff at all levels have either recently started or are due to do so shortly.

"While there is still a long way to go, the report recognises that 'IES has acted promptly to appoint a new Principal and other managers' and that 'school leaders have begun to tackle some of the weaknesses identified by inspectors'.

"The changes we have made are showing improvement and we know that the school is moving in the right direction. The teachers and staff at IES Breckland are committed to providing a higher quality of education to students and will continue to work to improve standards at IES Breckland.

"We look forward to future Ofsted monitoring visits and inspections showing the direction in which we are moving."

– Alison Tilbrook, IES Breckland Principal

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