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Childcare costs rise three times faster than wages in the East

Watch Emily Knight's report for ITV News Anglia

New research has found the cost of childcare in the East of England has risen nearly three times faster than wages in the last decade.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) says the amount parents are paying has gone up 35% since 2008.

They are now calling for subsidised, affordable childcare to start when maternity leave finishes.

But the government says it is already investing a record amount in childcare - which will reach £6 billion a year by 2020.

Milton Keynes based Open University asks government to help fund tuition fees

Open University Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Milton Keynes based Open University has called on the government to help fund tuition fees.

The organisation is aimed at people already working who want to get a degree mainly through distance learning. But because of the rising cost of studying part-time the numbers of students across England has more than halved.

Watch Dani Crawshaw's report below.

Half a million pound project to improve boys’ reading

Reading is a core skill that we all use everyday, but there's a big gap in achievement between boys and girls, especially in Essex.

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Serena Sandhu

Thousands of boys in the county in Key Stages one to three, when children are aged 5 to 14, are now set to benefit from a half a million pound fund that aims to reverse this trend.

At Lyons Hall Primary school in Braintree they're aiming to buck the trend by introducing so-called Project X books with stories that are specifically written to engage boys.

Some of the reasons are culturally that the boys are expected to do more sport based activities than girls and by the time they even come to school you can predict how their reading will be based on their language skills and attention and studies showed boys aren't as well equipped as girls.

– Rachel Pritchard, Deputy Headteacher, Lyons Hall Primary School

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Children in east want to play outside more says research

Children in the eastern region want to play outside more says new research Credit: ITV News Anglia

Children in the East of England want to spend more time outside according to new research by the RSPB.

The organisation says 85% of under 11's who took part in their survey said they wanted to turn off the TV and explore nature more.

"We know from past research that children aren't spending the same amount of time in nature as their parents and grandparent did, and this is something we want to change. It is more important than ever that we are helping young people to experience, learn and value the natural world."

– Clare Whitelegg, RSPB Schools Outreach Officer in the east
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