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Councillor is 'horrified' at plans to take schools out of council control

The Executive Member for Education at Hampshire County Council says he is horrified at plans to take schools out of council control, and turn them into academies.

Councillor Edgar says he is horrified Credit: Peter Edgar

As a former teacher with 34 years experience and now Executive Member for Education at Hampshire County Council, I am horrified to think that the HCC role in education is going to be destroyed by George Osborne in his budget. We have worked with HMG to deliver the reforms and have been congratulated by Ofsted as being one of two authorities in the country who have interpreted the reforms in the right way by giving the support, intervention, and challenge to our family of schools. In Hampshire of our 534 schools we have only three designated as inadequate and have 84% good or outstanding schools. So what on earth are we doing so wrong that we need to be abolished?

We have even been congratulated by the Prime Minister for our work with the Isle of Wight neighbouring authority for our work there instigated by HMG. I am a lifelong Conservative but this statement of policy could lead to the country's education system imploding. I do not understand it, particularly as there is no evidence whatsoever that the academy conversion of schools is improving standards. Now with academy chains paying salaries to their chief executives more than the Prime Minister, the whole thing needs to be put on hold.

– Councillor Peter Edgar


Great-grandmother's life savings stolen

A great-grandmother from Romsey has had her life savings stolen - after being targeted outside her own home.

Hazel Ainsworth was followed from the town centre and stopped by a man and a woman. They asked her for directions - before distracting her - and taking her bank card. She's now warning others. Sam Holder reports.

Renters pay landlord equivalent of mortgage deposit

Housing charity calling for more affordable housing Credit: Rui Vieira / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The government need to invest in homes which people can afford, according to the housing charity, Shelter.

Shelter say renters in our region have paid an average of £47,000 to their landlord in the last five years. That's the equivalent of paying a 18% deposit on the average first time buyer home.

And in Guilford, renting a two bedroom property would have set you back more than £64,000.

When just five years of rent could get you the deposit on a house, it's no wonder the South East's renters feel like they're getting a raw deal, paying through the nose for something they can never call their own.

Our drastic shortage of affordable homes is leaving millions of people stuck in their childhood bedrooms in a bid to save money, or in expensive and unstable private renting with little hope of ever saving for a home to put down roots in.

It doesn't have to be this way - the government can turn things around by investing in homes that people on ordinary wages can actually afford to buy, or rent for the long-term."

– Campbell Robb, Chief Executive, Shelter


Drugs worth £2.3 million seized at Dover

The liquid cocaine was contained in jerry cans Credit: Border Force

Border Force officers at the inward tourist controls at Dover’s Eastern Docks have seized approximately 50 litres of liquid cocaine.

The drugs, with an estimated potential street value of £2.3 million, were discovered on the afternoon of Friday, 26 February when officers stopped a Dutch-registered van.

After questioning the driver, officers searched the vehicle and discovered the drugs in four jerry cans within the vehicle’s bodywork. A field test on the liquid in the cans gave a positive result to cocaine.

Further searches also found eight MDMA (ecstasy) tablets in the vehicle.

Robert William Albert Schutte, a 45 year-old Dutch national, was arrested and the investigation passed to the National Crime Agency.

He was later charged with the attempted importation and appeared before Margate Magistrates Court yesterday, 29 February, where he withheld his plea. Schutte was remanded in custody and will next appear at Canterbury Crown Court on 29 March.

Call for pharmacists to expand care home scheme

Should pharmacists help doctors look after residents in our care homes?

With GPs under increasing pressure, a new scheme piloted in Brighton has seen pharmacists working directly with the elderly - helping them come off unnecessary and sometimes harmful medication.

Andy Dickenson reports and speaks to care home resident Jean Bishop, pharmacist Katy Jackson and care home manager Dawn Webb.

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