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Special school sets up online appeal for new facilities

Ash Lea School Credit: ITV News Central

Our Education Correspondent has spent the day with staff and pupils at Ash Lea School in Nottinghamshire.

Here is his report:

A rundown special school in Nottinghamshire is so desperate for new facilities it's set up an online appeal to raise a million pounds.

Ash Lea School in Cotgrave has 78 pupils aged from three to 19 with a range of physical and learning disabilities. Many are taught in three portable classrooms which staff say should have been scrapped several years ago. Nottinghamshire County Council plans to replace these in the near future.

The school is also struggling with a lack of space - the doorways and corridors are narrow for wheelchairs, and it's difficult to fit all the pupils into the hall. In addition, there are no fixed hoists for lifting children and the school has no sensory room or hydrotherapy pool.

Earlier this year, Ash Lea failed in a bid for a new build as part of the Government's Priority School Building Programme. The school was judged to be in a "reasonable" state of repair. Deputy headteacher Jane Moore says the web appeal is a last resort as they have to do something for the sake of the children.

The Department for Education says funding for the Priority School Building Programme is targeted where it is needed the most and according to the size and condition of individual school blocks.

Ash Lea School Credit: ITV News Central


SATs week for children across the Midlands

Pupils taking their exams Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

Children across the Midlands will begin their SATs this week.

In the Midlands 12% of children are too nervous before an exam to eat, according to a study. A fifth of parents also said that their child's behaviour gets worse during SATs week.

The study by Kellogg's also found 59% of children said they feared that not getting a level 4 or higher would impact their future.

Speeders Shamed by Schoolchildren

School children taking part in a previous campaign Credit: West Midlands Police

School pupils in Birmingham and Coventry will be shaming speeders into slowing down when they join police teams for a week of road safety initiatives.

Youngsters from Stivichall Primary Eastern Green Primary in Coventry will team up with local officers on today and Friday, respectively, on Speed Watch operations in streets surrounding their schools.

And pupils from Chilcote Primary and Hall Green Primary schools in Birmingham will also be out with their neighbourhood police teams today and tomorrow to try to persuade drivers that “20 is plenty" near school gates.

It's part of UN Road Safety Week which, as well as tackling speeding, will address inconsiderate parking around schools, clamp down on mobile phone use at the wheel, and stress the importance of ensuring child passengers are buckled up.

PC Julie Lyman from the Central Motorway Police Group said that the number of children killed or seriously hurt in road crashes has risen for the first time in two decades - and is attributed to child passengers not travelling safely.

"There is a growing problem of child car seats being bought online, from other countries or second-hand, which do not meet UK safety standards and could put a child’s life at risk.

“We’ll be highlighting this issue during UN Road Safety Week…and also getting pupils on board to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding near schools.

“We’ve found in the past that when children speak to speeding drivers, explaining how they cross the road they’ve been caught speeding on, it really has an impact - much more so than simply being spoken to by an officer or handed a fine."

– PC Julie Lyeman, West Midlands Police


Leicester to welcome music industry giants

Big names from Hollywood and the wider international music market are hosting a number of sessions in Leicester aimed at inspiring the next generation of musicians.

The British Centre for Music and Enterprise (BCME) is hosting six sessions in the city, in a bid to discover the next music stars and industry professionals.

Aspiring music industry teams being tutored Credit: Media TwentyFour

The big names involved in the Leicester sessions include Greg Castell (Managing Director of Mercury Records and Emile Sande’s manager), Tim Bulleyment (A&R Director, MCA and Hollywood Records), Ste Allen (Dealmaker Label), DJ SS (top DJ and co-founder at Formation Records), and Brad Kavanagh (signed to Warner Music and Nickelodeon television star).

The hunt is on to find the next generation of music stars Credit: Media TwentyFour

Q&A sessions will be held along with four specific sessions run by BCME tutors, giving students an inside scoop of working within the ever-changing music industry. The sessions begin on May the 6th.

“These sessions are a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wishes to progress their career in the global music industry. Enrolled students will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ask accomplished professionals how to get ahead in the industry through interactive Q&A events.

While we hope to bring more such courses to the city as part of our annual calendar, it will truly be a first-of-its-kind for Leicester”.

– Ajay Naik,Chief Executive Officer of BCME
Students look to get into the music industry Credit: Media TwentyFour

Cox to open new manufacturing and engineering centre

Television star and physicist Professor Brian Cox will be visiting Dudley College today to officially open their new centre for manufacturing and engineering.

Professor Brian Cox will be in Dudley today Credit: PA

He will be on hand to engage in some hands on science with year 10 students to test out the new facilities. The professor will also deliver a lecture on 'Exploring the universe through engineering and science' to the young people attending.

Joining in the Dudley Advance launch celebrations is a great opportunity for me to meet so many young people enjoying science related activities in this fantastic new training centre.

Science is so exciting, so fun events like this are a great way to get everybody involved and thinking about the career options science, technology, engineering and maths subjects can offer.

The launch has provided an excellent opportunity for these young minds to get involved and be inspired to become the next generation of scientists, star-gazers and skilled engineers of the future.

– Professor Brian Cox

NHS tops poll as most important issue to students

An election debate featuring MPs from all five English parties has been held at Birmingham City University this evening as a poll conducted by the university finds that the NHS is the most important issue to students.

A debate featuring all five English parties took place at Birmingham City University this evening Credit: Joseph Devo

The results mirror the latest Ipsos Mori monthly issues index, which polls the wider population and frequently shows the NHS as the number one priority for voters.

Nearly 20 per cent of student respondents said the NHS was the most important issue to them, closely followed by immigration at 17.6 per cent. The same percentage was returned for tuition fees, closely followed by unemployment at 12.8 per cent and low wages at 11.7 per cent.

Our poll shows that students place the same amount of importance on the future of the NHS as the wider population.

We are the region’s largest provider of qualified health and social care professionals to the NHS, and many of our students feel passionately about it as an election issue.

– Louise Toner, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences, Birmingham City University

A new poll asking students 'Which party are you planning on voting for?' goes out today.

Work starts on new school in Nottinghamshire

The new project will include a three story building and a new sports hall. Credit: Arnold Hill Academy

Work on a new £14 million pounds school building gets underway in Nottinghamshire today.

1,700 pupils will benefit from the state-of-the-art three storey building at Arnold Hill Academy.

The new three storey square building will have a 4-court indoor sports hall and theatre with moving walls will form the centre of the block with classrooms, including a dance studio, ICT rooms, food rooms and art rooms, wrapped around them.

New outdoor sports facilities will also be created including 2 football pitches, 2 rugby pitches and a 300m grass running track.

The lower school building and sixth from centre will remain but all three buildings will be closer together, which staff say will reduce the walk from one site to another.

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