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University of Bedfordshire hosts UCAS convention

University of Bedfordshire Credit: ITV News Anglia

More than 10,000 students are expected to head to the University of Bedfordshire today for a further education convention, hosted at the Bedford campus.

The two day UCAS event is the largest of its kind in the region and will give sixth formers a chance to find about information about courses, entry requirements, finances and student life.

There will also be presentations on different study subjects going on throughout the convention.

"UCAS conventions are the only opportunity students have to explore a variety of post-18 options in one setting. They're a chance to get some face time with admissions staff and subject specialists, find out what life's like on and off campus, and discover what else is on offer when your exams are done and dusted - volunteer work, gap year adventures, and the big wide world of work."

– David Seaton, Head of Student Recruitment at the University

Demolition begins to make way for new school in Northampton

Artist impression of the new school Credit: Northamptonshire County Council

Demolition starts today on the former Royal Mail sorting office in Northampton.

It'll make way for a new school for more than two thousand pupils 2,200 pupils and is the country's largest ever school conversion project

The Northampton International Academy will open in September 2017.

The £25 million building project is being largely funded by the Government's Education Funding Agency and will help to meet the forecast need for 580 new secondary school places in Northampton by 2021.

Demolition of the site in Barrack Road is expected to last 12 weeks.

"This is an exciting milestone in the project to transform this derelict building from an eyesore in the local community to a modern, 21st century school. It is an important regeneration scheme for a deprived area of Northampton and the country's largest ever school conversion project. Even more importantly, it will create much-needed additional school places at a time when demand for places is growing significantly."

– Cllr Matthew Golby, county council cabinet member for learning, skills and education
An artist impression of the interior of the new school Credit: Northamptonshire County Council

There will be highways improvements to Barrack Road as well, including enhanced pedestrian crossings and safety railings with a school pick up and drop off point to the rear of the new building with a new junction.


Schools struggling to fill places

More than 30 secondary schools across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex are struggling to fill their places for September's intake of year seven children.

Empty classroom Credit: PA Images

According to Council figures, some schools are more than half empty. The numbers are, in part, being put down to the introduction of free schools.

Children get hands on in their campaign to save part of their school playing field

Parents and children at Oundle Primary near Peterborough have made a video to campaign against proposals which could mean the school loses use of the land.

Northamptonshire County Council is replacing the middle school with one primary to create a two tier system and says it'll leave too much land for the number of pupils and is looking at other uses for it.

The idea of disposing of school land is controversial but not unusual.

Between 2001 and 2010 the Government gave approval to change the use of 242 playing fields across the UK.

In the last five years there have been 103 earmarked, with the largest numbers seen in 2013 and 2014...where 61 were given approval to be disposed of.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper

Pressure on places forces children to another school

Over a hundred children moved Credit: PA

Histon and Impington Parish Council have expressed concern over children at the local infant school being moved to a different site because of pressure on places.

They say many parents are unhappy that more than 100 children aged 7 and 8 at Histon and Impington Infant School will be taught in temporary classrooms half a mile away at the villages' junior school.


Norfolk school vandalised for the second time

Windows were smashed at the school Credit: ITV News Anglia

Parents and pupils at a primary school in Norfolk have taken matters into their own hands after the playground was vandalised for a second time.

The head teacher of North Walsham Junior School discovered vandals had broken windows and kicked in doors at the weekend.

The doors on the school's metal play shed were ripped off and all the toys thrown over the field.

Fence work was kicked in where the children can eat and have lunch outside and seating had been smashed, while there was glass allover the place.

Clare Fletcher looks over the area that was damaged by vandals. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"It was a lot of mess and the worst thing was the broken glass and I was really quite worried. We have spent a lot of money and time and energy to put together a really good play area for the children, so for it to be abused in this way it was soul destroying again."

– Clare Fletcher, Executive Head teacher of North Walsham Infant and Junior schools

Following an appeal on social media dozens of parents arrived to repair the damage in time for Monday morning.

Not enough is being done to improve school standards in Suffolk

Suffolk County Council has been criticised by Ofsted for being slow in helping schools improve standards.

A recent inspection found that while the council has made progress, it has no acted quickly enough to make significant improvements.

ITV News Anglia's Education Correspondent Elodie Harper spoke to Andrew Cook the East of England Director for Ofsted.

Click below to watch the interview in full.

Suffolk County Council 'fully committed' to improving standards

Suffolk County Council says it is 'fully committed' to making sure every child has the opportunity to attend a good or outstanding school in Suffolk.

In responding to a report by Ofsted - which looked at its arrangements for supporting school improvements - the council says 75 % of its schools are classed as good or outstanding.

Ofsted's report was critical of the council's progress, saying it has been 'too slow' to make improvements to school standards.

"I remain fully committed to ensuring we deliver the opportunity for every child to attend a good or outstanding school in Suffolk. Ofsted acknowledges that our vision and strategy are moving us in the right direction and there are some very positive points to take from their letter. Seventy five per cent of our schools in Suffolk are classed as good or outstanding and I am determined to continue with our good work so far in raising standards so we can achieve 100 %.”

– Cllr Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council's Cabinet member for education and schools

Visiting the authority in January, Ofsted acknowledged strengths and set out areas for improvements, including increasing school to school support and improve achievements for disadvantaged pupils.

“We have already implemented significant changes since the last Ofsted visit. Suffolk is an improving picture and Ofsted recognises this. We have closed the gap at key stage 1 and key stage 4 to within 1 per cent of national figures, an improvement of some 7 per cent. Educational standards are on the rise and we will ensure this sustainable progress and improvement continues.”

– Cllr Lisa Chambers

Report critical of Suffolk's schools - 'not enough being done to improve standards'

A damning report into education standards in Suffolk has found not enough is being done to turn around the county's struggling schools.

It's the latest in a series of reports from Ofsted criticising education in Suffolk.

Inspectors said the progress being made by Suffolk County Council was "too slow" and pupils' results were falling behind the national average.

There are now around 25 thousand children in the country who do not attend a good or outstanding school, particularly in Lowestoft and Ipswich.

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

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