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What to watch - the curtain rises on the 50th Brighton Festival

Tomorrow morning the curtain rises on the 50th Brighton Festival.

Over the next three weeks more than a thousand shows, exhibits and performances will delight, inspire and possibly bemuse audiences from across the world - at both the Festival and Fringe.

The pair have become so big now they rival Edinburgh as one of the largest arts extravaganzas in the UK. Andy Dickenson's been finding out more.

He speaks to Mark Rees, director of Digging for Shakespeare, Andrew Comben from Brighton Festival, Laurie Anderson, guest director of Brighton Festival, Julian Caddy from Brighton Fringe and Charles Linehan.


Can you answer tough new tests for primary age pupils?

New tests for primary school children aged 11 will be taken in schools next week amid concern that they are too difficult and represent a narrow curriculum. Government ministers say they will raise standards and schools should ensure children aren't stressed. Our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford went to ask adults if they can answer some of the trickier types of question that will be in the new papers.

SATs tests in primary school - can you do answer new tougher questions? Credit: ITV Meridian

Parents protest at new SATS exams for young children

Thousands of parents took their children out of school today as a protest over new tougher tests in primary schools. Some parents say the SATS exams for pupils as young as six are too difficult and label children failures.

But the government says the more rigorous assessments - which will be taken next week - are vital to ensure children are learning to read, write and add up. Our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford reports.

Featured in Christine's report: Louise Agutter, organiser; Emma and Harrison Gray, mother and Year 6 pupil; Nick Gibb MP, Schools Minister; Polly Honeychurch, Headteacher.

Children kept off school as parents stage protest

Parents are keeping their children off school for the day in protest at controversial tests for six and seven-year-olds.

The action comes after more than 40,000 people signed a petition supporting a boycott of Year 2 Sats by teachers.

The Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign has organised the day of action in protest at children being "over-tested, over-worked and in a school system that places more importance on test results and league tables than children's happiness and joy of learning".


University praised for developing female scientists

The University of Sussex has been recognised for its work supporting female scientists.

The university's School of Life Sciences received a national "Athena Swan" award for its efforts to reduce inequality in teaching and research.

Professor Louise Serpell Credit: University of Sussex

Science is often regarded as a boys' subject - but we should all have the potential to choose our career path.

We know that 90 per cent of professors in the UK are men, and that women don't go for jobs unless they feel qualified. At the University of Sussex we are making a concerted effort to support women who want a career in science and we are delighted that our efforts have been recognised with this Athena SWAN Silver award."

– Professor Louise Serpell, University of Sussex

Schools Minister: no backing down on academies

There will be no backing down - that's the message from the government on plans to force every school in England to become an academy.

Pressure has been mounting for the government to offer concessions to appease backbenchers and Tory councils angry about the plans. Today, David Cameron again told the House of Commons he would not give ground.

As disquiet mounts, the Schools Minister Nick Gibb - who is also MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton - sat down with our Social Affairs Correspondent Christine Alsford to talk about the proposals - and explain why he believes that making every school opt out of local authority control will raise standards.

Head quits teaching and blames Government 'red tape'

A primary school head has quit teaching after more than 20 years - blaming Government red tape for leaving her feeling frustrated and unhappy.

Kit Messenger, Head of Manor Field Primary School at Burgess Hill in Sussex, has sent her resignation letter to parents. In the document, she says the pressure to turn schools into academies and the focus on some subjects is leaving children poorly prepared for the future.

The school's governors say they support her decision, and that she will leave this summer. Parents have said their children will miss her. In the video the headteacher explains her reasons.

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