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Primary schools in Medway must improve

Failing Medway Schools are improving too slowly, according to a new report by the schools inspectorate, Ofsted. Last year almost half of all pupils were at schools rated as needing some kind of improvement. Now a follow-up inspection has found nine and a half thousand children remain in schools that are either inadequate or need improvement. Tom Savvides talks to headteacher Christine Easton, students and councillor Mike O'Brien.

School praised for improving performance

Children at Herne Bay Juniors enjoying the library's new books Credit: ITV Meridian

A school that was told it needed to improve by Ofsted just over a year ago has now been praised by inspectors for its work to improve performance.

Herne Bay Juniors is among 103 primary schools in Kent and Medway that are rated as needing improvement. But in East Sussex, which has less than one third of the number of Kent's schools, there are just 6 requiring improvement. And in Brighton and Hove, there's one.

Abigail Bracken's been to Herne Bay to see how one school is managing to turn itself around...


Lawyers go head to head to argue the case for the Magna Carta

Legal eagles gather for the Magna Carta "moot" in Sutton Valence Credit: Thelma Pitt

Kent Law Society has been celebrating the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, widely regarded as one of the most important documents in the world. The law society held a debating competition at Sutton Valence School, to decide if the Magna Carta is still relevant today. Attending the event were His Honour Judge Jeremy Carey, High Sheriff William Alexander and Mayor of Maidstone Daniel Moriarty. Lawyers had to use their most persuasive skills to argue their case. In the end, Judge Carey concluded that the Magna Carta should be upheld.

Royal seal of approval for Eton College's new complex

The Prince of Wales talks to students at Eton College

The Prince of Wales has been visiting the Thames Valley today. Prince Charles was at Eton College in Windsor to open the new Bekynton Field development.

As the father of two former pupils - both Prince William and Prince Harry were educated at the private school - it was perhaps even more fitting that the heir to the throne was invited to perform the honour.

The £18 million pound project is the school's largest development since its foundation in 1440. Divya Kohli reports.

The interviewees are Tony Little, the Headmaster; and Michael Johnson from The Copper Works Newlyn.

Prince Charles to open new building at Eton College

Prince Charles has arrived at Eton College to officially open the institution's new Bekynton Field Development. The development includes forty new classrooms and common rooms.

Father's epic Skye challenge from Oxfordshire

A father is looking for people to join him on all or part of his journey as he takes on an epic fundraising challenge this summer in memory of his son.

Skye Hall died last August, aged five, after being diagnosed with medulloblastoma, an aggressive and cancerous brain tumour.

His father, Andrew Hall, 43, from Oxford, has organised 2Skye4Skye, a challenge which will see people travel from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire to the highest point on the Isle of Skye in Scotland to raise money for the charity that he and his wife, Sally, established in Skye's name - Blue Skye Thinking.

Skye Hall Credit: PA

The 636-mile journey, taking in the Peak District, the Lake District, Loch Lomond, and Scotland's west coast, will include a combination of cycling, kayaking and hill walking.

Andrew said: "I wanted to do something special to celebrate Skye's life and have spent a long time thinking about what that should be.

"Then a very dear friend, Ed Blagrove, announced that he would like to do events in 2015 totalling the distance from Oxfordshire to the Isle of Skye.

Having done a few crazy things in the past myself, it seemed logical to take up the challenge and travel to the Isle of Skye itself.

"We will be departing from Blenheim Palace at 10am on Saturday 25 July and are looking to complete the journey in 10 days.

"This will not only be a physical challenge, but one filled with emotion for me, but I am sure Skye would have loved to have been part of this, as he loved the outdoors. We are looking for people to join us for some or all of the adventure and hope to get a good group together to take part."

The first day will see cyclists ride north through Oxfordshire and into Warwickshire passing through Nuneaton and on to the spa town of Buxton.

The journey continues through to Manchester, and on to Lancaster and the Lakes, where the cyclists will swap their bikes for a paddle, and kayak the length of Lake Windermere to Ambleside, where they will once again hop into the saddle and continue through to Carlisle and cross the border into Scotland.

The journey continues through Kilmarnock and Glasgow and follows the bank of Loch Lomond to its northernmost tip and then winds in the Scottish hills towards Fort William, where it is envisaged that Ben Nevis will be conquered en route to Skye.

Once reaching Skye, the final challenge will be to summit Sgurr Alasdair, the highest point on the Isle of Skye.

All the money raised will go into research into new treatments for childhood cancer. The charity's next goal is to reach £200,000 to put into place a post-doctoral researcher for three years.


New school building on target for new term

New sixth form centre should be complete for next term in September

A brand new state-of-the-art sixth form centre is on schedule to open in Berkshire for the start of the new school year in September. T

The project to construct the building at Garth Hill College in Bracknell has cost more than £6 million. It will have capacity for 400 students. Education officials are hoping it will help to ease the pressure on school places in the local area.

More academies - change for the better?

Every failing school across the South East will be forced to become an academy under new rules proposed by the government today. At the moment there has to be local consultation before conversion but that will be scrapped.

It means 16 schools in Kent graded as "inadequate" by Ofsted will be targeted - plus another four in Medway and seven across Sussex. Another seven on the Isle of Wight will be handed over to sponsors to improve their performance - plus a further five in Reading and three in Oxfordshire. So-called "coasting schools" where pupils may do well - but don't make as much progress as they should will also be targeted.

Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports

South's failing schools to be turned into academies

Failing schools across the South will be forced to turn into academies under new rules announced by the government.

Up to a thousand primary and secondary schools nationwide could be taken out of local government control if the new bill goes ahead. Critics say the proposals are undemocratic. Eastbrook Primary at Southwick in Sussex became an academy two years ago. Since then, results have improved dramatically. Here's what the headteacher Julia Sherlock had to say.

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