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Bid to reconsider school transport charges defeated

Parents protested outside County Hall in Morpeth Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Dozens of parents protested outside County Hall in Morpeth, over plans to charge over-16s for school transport in Northumberland.

From September, most students between 16 and 18 years old will be charged £600 to use school buses, and will fund their own public transport costs.

The demonstration took place before an extraordinary meeting of the council. It debated a motion put forward by the Conservative group leader, Cllr Peter Jackson.

It called for the change to be suspended and for more consultations with parents.

The motion was narrowly defeated by 34 votes to 30.

Feelings ran high outside County Hall Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

The Labour controlled authority says the council must reduce a £3.3m bill for post-16 transport.

Council leader, Cllr Grant Davey said:

"In difficult times, we need to be focusing our resources on those who are in greatest need.

We've listened carefully to what the public have had to say, not just today but throughout the consultation period, but the bottom line is we have to balance our budget."

The Labour group said the cost of arranging today's extraordinary meeting came to £80,000; a figure disputed by others.

The Conservative group leader, Cllr Peter Jackson said:

"I think people had to have their say. People have got a democratic right and right across Northumberland, families and young people are struggling with this new six hundred pound, effectively, tax to go to school.

They had to be heard and their concerns had to be heard and addressed and I think it was the right thing to do."

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It all adds up: meet the 11 year old maths masters

And from student engineers to 11-year-old mathematicians - and a national maths challenge.

Hundreds of teams from Primary schools across the country enter the 'Maths in Motion' competition every year.

This year, pupils from St Joseph's Primary in Billingham came out top. But that is not for the first time - this is the third year in a row.

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Lib Dem President sad to see "good friend" Swales go

The President of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron, has posted on Twitter that he is sad to see his "good friend" Ian Swales, MP for Redcar, is standing down at the next General Election.

Swales announced he is standing down in 2015 after just one term in office.

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Sad to hear that my good friend @iswales is standing down in 2015. He should be proud of his record & his key role in saving the steel works

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