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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."

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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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Alarms could increase the risk of burglary, says study

Installing a house alarm could increase the chance of your home being burgled Credit: Alistair Wilson 50/50/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Installing an alarm could increase the chances of a home being burgled, according to researchers at Loughborough University.

Criminologists conducted an 18-month project that measured the effectiveness of home security measures. They found alarms to be among the least effective measures against burglary.

Statistics from the British Crime Survey showed that when alarms were used in combination with other anti-intruder devices such as deadlocks and window locks, there was either no change or an increase in the risk of burglary.

External security lights and inside lights on a timer were found to be the most effective method of keeping intruders out.

"Whilst domestic burglary has reduced substantially in recent years it is still a high volume crime.

"At the start of this research we knew that the risk of becoming a victim was not equally spread across households. We now know what security devices work in what contexts."

– Andromachi Tseloni, Professor of Quantitative Criminology from the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University

Funeral of student killed on flight MH17 takes place

The funeral of a Loughborough student who was killed on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has taken place, nearly five months after the aircraft was exploded over Ukraine.

Ben Pocock was travelling on Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 Credit: Facebook

Ben Pocock - who was in his second-year studying international business - was travelling to Australia to start a six-month study placement in Perth.

Investigators are trying to find out if the Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down by Pro-Russian forces.

Ben was a delightful young man. He was bright, very talented, good at sport, very conscientious and somebody who has left a wonderful, lasting memory with all of us who knew him.

– Andrea Arlidge, Head teacher

His funeral was held in his home town of Keynsham in Somerset - Robert Murphy sent this report.

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