Any would be students in the region hoping to apply for university have until six o'clock this evening to submit their forms on the UCAS website.
Several sixth form colleges in the region are reporting an increase in applications, in some cases entries are up by as much as six per cent. Applications fell two years ago following the trebling of tuition fees. Final figures will be released at the end of this month.
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Russia has announced that it will expel 23 UK diplomats in a deepening rift over the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter.
Sergei Skripal, the ex-Russian spy who was the target of the attack, and his daughter Yulia, remain in a critical but stable condition.