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Durham Council 'very disappointed' after teaching assistants' reject their offer

Durham County Council say they are 'very disappointed' that teaching assistants have voted to reject their revised pay offer.

Earlier today Unison announced its teaching assistant members in County Durham had 'overwhelmingly rejected' the new offer in a long running dispute over pay cuts. They have been protesting over plans to pay teaching assistants for term-time only.

Unison represents the majority of the 2700 teaching assistants involved. The GMB Union represents around 500 teaching assistants. Their members have voted to accept the revised offer

Durham County Council’s director of children’s services, Margaret Whellans, said:

“We are really disappointed that UNISON members have voted not to accept our revised compensation offer which their unions and mediation service ACAS all recognised was the best deal possible.

However, we now face a very complex set of circumstances, with GMB members voting to accept the deal and GMB requesting urgent discussions with the council about that. We also have several hundred teaching assistants who are not members of any union and therefore were unable to take part in the ballot.

This has been a really long and difficult process and it should be recognised that all but one other council in the North East and many nationally have already addressed this issue. We also have a legal and moral duty to deal with it.

We value the work teaching assistants do with our county’s children and young people, and that is why we have tried to resolve the current inequality in a way that minimises the impact on affected staff and the education of young people in County Durham.

We will issue a further statement when we have absolute clarity on the implications of today’s results.”

– Durham County Council’s director of children’s services, Margaret Whellans

Northern Lights: Possible sightings tonight

Duddo in Northumberland last night Credit: Ross Collins

Now we are in autumn and the nights are getting longer the chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis, particularly in the northern parts of the UK, is once again on the increase.

Derwent reservoir last night Credit: Craig Wallace

Craig Wallace caught a faint glow of the Northern Lights last night - and there is a chance they could be visible again tonight:

Solar winds are highly elevated due to coronal hole activity.

Minor to moderate geomagnetic storming seem likely at times meaning aurora might be visible from the far north of the UK.

– Met Office

Tonight will be windy with some spells of rain but a lot of the cloud should clear by around midnight.

If you are lucky enough to see the Northern Lights remember to send your pictures to


14-year-old missing in Gateshead

Police are appealing for information about a 14-year-old missing in Gateshead.

Van Nang Nguyan is originally from Vietnam has not been seen since September 7.

He is around 5ft 4ins tall, of slim build and has short dark hair. Police say he has links to the Gateshead area and officers are concerned for his welfare.

17-year-old boy punched in Newcastle

Police are appealing for witnesses after an assault on a 17-year-old boy in Newcastle.

Between 12:30pm and 12:40pm on Friday, September 23, a 17-year-old boy was assaulted in New Bridge Street outside of the St Vincent De Pauls premises.

The boy was on New Bridge Street outside of the St Vincent De Pauls premises when he was approached by two males. One of them punched him and knocked his cap from his head. They then stole his cap and made off.

Police believe a number of people were stood at the bus stop in New Bridge Street at the time of the incident and may have witnessed the attack.


MH17 Newcastle fan father: "Russians must admit something's happened"

The father of a Newcastle fan who died when a passenger jet was downed by a missile says Russian authorities should take responsibility after the findings of an international investigation.

John Alder and Liam Sweeney were travelling to New Zealand to watch the team in a pre season friendly in 2014.

The plane was brought down over Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Today, international prosecutors said the missile that hit the plane was fired from territory controlled by Russian-backed rebels.

John Alder and Liam Sweeney were travelling to New-Zealand to watch Newcastle United in a pre-season friendly
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