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Oxford University to receive £200m loan for expansion plans

The university will receive the largest ever loan of its type Credit: ITV

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to provide £200m for Oxford University’s programme of improvement and expansion of research and teaching facilities.

This represents the largest ever single loan for university investment by Europe’s long-term lending institution. The 30-year loan from the world’s largest internationally owned public bank will be used alongside other sources of financing, including grants and philanthropic donations.

The University plans to replace and upgrade existing buildings including the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter and the Old Road Campus on the former Park Hospital site.


Public to be consulted on future of children's centres

A protest by parents last week Credit: ITV

After angry protests last week, public consultations will take place on three options for the future of children's centres in Oxfordshire.

Cabinet members of the county council will meet today to discuss new proposals.

The council needs to cut £290m from its budget by 2018. It says it will replace more than 40 children's centres with eight family sites.

School principal explains why mobile phones have been banned

The debate's been running for years: are mobile phones bad for children ?

Now, at least, in one part of the South East, and for one age group, that question has been answered.

Ebbsfleet Academy in North West Kent has banned mobile phones - with impressive results.

Alison Colwell is in charge of the school. She told Sangeeta why the ban had been introduced

Huge improvement in GCSE results after banning of mobile phones

The phones are banned at Ebbsfleet Academy Credit: ITV

GCSE results at the Ebbsfleet Academy in Kent are almost twice as good since the school banned smartphones in 2013.

Jon Coles, the head of United Learning, which oversees around 50 schools, says the costs of allowing the use of mobile phones in school are much greater than the opportunities.

The White Horse Federation of seven primary schools in Swindon also bans mobile phones during the school day in order to improve pupil behaviour.

Technology is transforming society and even classrooms - but all too often we hear of lessons being disrupted by the temptation of the smartphone.

Learning is hard work and children are all too aware of this. So when they have a smartphone in their pocket that offers instant entertainment and reward, they can be easily distracted from their work.

This is a 21st Century problem and the majority of schools are dealing with it effectively. But I will now probe deeper into this issue, and behaviour challenges more broadly, to uncover the real extent of the problem and see what we can do to ensure all children focus on their learning.

– Tom Bennett, school behaviour expert

Parents encouraged to read books with their children

If you have young children, do you read books together? A charity is warning that some parents don't feel confident enough. Book Trust is urging parents to read with their children as often as possible, and not to give up once they've started school.

The charity says it makes a huge difference to a child's development. This term, more than 100,000 children here in the South will be given a reading pack, to encourage more families to read together. Lauren Hall reports.


Heston plans to cook up success in the classroom

Now, how about this for a recipe: take a celebrity chef, add a squirt of liquid nitrogen and a sprinkle of schoolchildren.

What does that make? Well, the Government hopes it will be the recipe for success when it comes to getting more boys to take up its new Food Preparation GCSE.

Heston Blumenthal has stepped back into a classroom as part of the initiative. David Wood went to meet him.

Hampshire school offers help to Syrian refugees

Credit: ITV news

A school in Hampshire is offering help to refugee families. Boundary Oak School near Fareham is offering offers two free places to Syrian refugees. It comes after the Government announced yesterday that the UK would accept 20,000 refugees from camps surrounding the war torn country.

Headmistress Hazel Kellett, said “If the UK is going accept 20,000 Syrian refugees then we are putting our hands up to help. The boarding school is offering free full boarder places for two children, between the ages of 7 and 13. We are perfectly set to provide a safe haven, food and clothing, in a place where the Syrian children will be well cared for and supported emotionally. Most will have had a devastating journey, many will have been orphaned and we will give them a place to call home. Boundary Oak School is a family community, and given the scale of the Syrian crisis these vulnerable girls and boys need everyone’s support.

Warning over plans to double 'free' childcare hours

Nurseries in the South are warning of a funding shortfall in government plans to double 'free' childcare provision. From 2016, three and four year olds will receive funding for up to 30 hours of pre-school education paid for by the government - twice as much as now.

The Department for Education says it is carrying out a major review into childcare costs and has already agreed to an increase in the hourly rate paid to providers. Christine Alsford spoke to parents, Rachael Lukacs, manager of Tops Days Nursery in Winchester and Angela Vulliamy from Woodlands Early Roots Nursery in Sarisbury Green.

Parents hold protest over cuts to children's centres

Today's protests over the budget cuts Credit: Mel Bloor

More than 40 children's centres in Oxfordshire are threatened with closure - prompting a demonstration by parents today. The centres offer a range of services to children under five and their families. The facilities could be replaced by eight 'family and resources' centres, saving several million pounds.

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