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Why are children waiting so long for new school buildings?

The government has been accused of being 'immoral' for making children wait for so long for new school buildings - many pupils will have finished their education before they are built.

It's two years since it was announced £2 billion would be spent rebuilding and refurbishing the most dilapidated schools around the country.

Despite calling it the 'Priority School Building Programme', successful schools don't seem to have been given much priority at all.

Meridian has found out that work hasn't started on any of the South East projects.

Abigail Bracken reports

Kent school pupils to go phone-free for three days

A teenager and a mobile phone are not easily parted but one boarding school in Kent plans to do just that, for three days.

The 550 girls at Benenden School are bracing themselves for a phone-free three days.

The idea is not really to push up exam results but bring down addiction to social media, which new studies show has an effect on young people's mental health.

As Tony Green reports.

Tony spoke to headmistress Samantha Price, prefect Alyssa Cho and head girl Victoria Molloy.


Thousands missing out on 'game changing' MRI tests for prostate cancer, charity says

More than 7,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in the south east - and more than 1,500 will die from the disease.

Credit: ITV Meridian

Now a new pain-free test, pioneered in the south, is using MRI scanners to help detect the worse tumours.

But so far only around half of the UK's hospitals are offering it - with Medway and Southend among those missing out.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to Chris Kitcher, Dr Jonathan Richenberg of the Royal Sussex County Hospital, and Angela Culhane of Prostate Cancer UK.

Protests against plans to close secondary school

Save our School - that's the plea from parents as they protest tonight against plans to close a Basingstoke secondary.

Hampshire County Council which runs Fort Hill Community School in Winklebury wants to merge it with Cranbourne Business and Enterprise College more than 3 miles away.

It says a significant decline in student numbers has left the school in a critical situation and action needs to be taken.

But the news has left families feeling angry and frustrated - they say it will leave their community with no secondary school.

Mel Bloor has been with campaigners.

Mel spoke to parent Angie Freeman.


Brand new primary school opens in Reading

A brand new primary school has opened today in central Reading.

Pupils at The Civitas Academy in Great Knolly's Street have finally moved into their new home after more than a year in temporary accommodation.

The school is the tenth academy for the borough and is being run by a Trust which looks after over fifty schools in the UK.

Kate Bunkall reports.

Kate spoke to Sir Steve Lancashire, Chief Executive at the REAch2 Academy Trust and Headteacher Salima Ducker.

Decision due on future of West Berkshire libraries

Credit: ITV Meridian

A decision on the future of libraries in West Berkshire is due to be made at a council meeting later today.

Campaigners have been protesting about council budget cuts which could mean they face severe cutbacks and closure.

Discussions have already been held with Parish Councils and Community groups to collectively think of ways to raise £150,000 to keep services open.

More than 1200 people responded to the recent Library Service Review to help shape the future of our libraries in West Berkshire. It is resoundingly clear that local people want to be involved in saving this much valued service. Although we were faced with many challenges, it was hugely encouraging to see positive and innovative ideas coming through from Parish and Town Councils and communities who want to help deliver this much valued service."

– Councillor Dominic Boeck, Executive Member for Culture

Headteacher banned from teaching for bullying

Jane Porter Credit: ITV Meridian

A former Kent headteacher has been banned indefinitely from teaching in any school in England after being found guilty of a sustained campaign of bullying.

A professional misconduct panel said Jane Porter showed "a cavalier disregard for rules" whilst in charge of Kings Farm Primary School and Whitehill Primary in Gravesend.

They said she had also breached safeguarding and health and safety regulations and showed "no remorse for her actions and demonstrated a lack of compassion".

Residents invited to visit their local mosque this weekend

Credit: ITV News Meridian

Around 150 mosques across the country will open their doors to the public on Sunday. The event aims to dispel negative perceptions of Islam and educate more people about the religion.

Organised by the Muslim Council of Britain, six mosques in the ITV News Meridian region are welcoming in visitors this weekend.

Among them: the Medina Mosque in Southampton, Portsmouth Central Mosque, Camberley Mosque, the Aisha Masjid & Islamic Centre in Reading, Maidenhead Mosque and the Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking.

The Visit My Mosque initiative hopes to shine a light on how British Muslims are helping their local communities, from providing meals for the homeless to visiting the elderly and sick.

For more details go to the VisitMyMosque website.

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