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St Alban's Primary School pupils to return after arson attack

40 firefighters were needed to put out the blaze at St Alban's Primary School Credit: Nathan Cleary

Pupils at St Alban's Primary School in Wolverhampton will return to lessons for the first time today since an arson attack damaged parts of the building earlier this month.

40 firefighters were needed to put out the blaze at the school in Wednesfield in the evening of 5 February.

The pupils, staff and Governors of St Alban’s would like to thank everyone for the astonishing support which has been shown since the fire took place.

It has been heartening to see the local, and wider, community rally around the school to ensure that there has been minimum disruption to the education of our children.

– Joanne Jones, head of school

Children to be taught in woodland in new initiative

A primary school in Loughborough is the first to take part in a project about using local woodland to teach children about the environment Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A primary school in Loughborough is the first to take part in a project using local woodland to teach children about the environment.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan will launch the Woodland Trust's 'Schools into Woods' project at Outwoods Edge Primary today.

Over the next two years, the Trust aims to help 40 primary schools across the UK make the most of their local woodland.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan will launch the Woodland Trust's 'Schools into Woods' project Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive/Press Association Images

"Teaching in woods is free, it fits in with the national curriculum, and no extra training is needed.

"It provides a really inspiring setting for learning, and not only will this encourage children to better understand and appreciate the natural environment, it will help them develop practical and social skills that will nurture self-esteem and confidence."

– Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust Chief Executive

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Tories 'to protect schools budget' if party wins election

The Conservatives will protect the schools budget if the party wins the next General Election, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has indicated.

Ms Morgan said she is "absolutely fighting for the schools budget to be protected", hinting that she had already won the battle.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan speaks to Andrew Marr. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

Asked on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show whether the schools budget will be protected, Morgan said: "We're going to have more to say on schools funding very shortly but what I can say is that I am absolutely fighting for the schools budget to be protected."

"It goes back to the point, the announcement that we're making today, which is actually about getting the basics right really early on and that's why the investment is in the schools budget."

  1. National

Education Secretary: Pupils must recite tables by 11

All schoolchildren in England will be forced to learn their times tables off by heart as well as carry out long division and complex multiplication by the age of 11, the Education Secretary has announced.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan wants primary school pupils to face tough tests on maths and English. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/PA

Pupils will be expected to pass tough tests before leaving primary school as part of a "war on illiteracy and innumeracy", Nicky Morgan said.

Headteachers who fail to ensure the standards are met face being sacked if the Conservatives are returned to power, she indicated.

As well as demonstrating mathematical skills, pupils will have to pass a writing test by showing they can use "accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar".

In an article for The Sunday Times (£), Ms Morgan outlined plans to make England top of the class in European league tables for English and maths by 2020, as well as in the top five internationally - a significant leap from the current ranking of 23rd.

She said: "We will expect every pupil by the age of 11 to know their times tables off by heart, to perform long division and complex multiplication and to be able to read a novel.

"They should be able to write a short story with accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar. The new tests for 11 year olds we are introducing next year will be strengthened to ensure that every young person is meeting the mark."

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