SAFC charity rewards children for courses

Some of the thousands of people who take part each year in courses run by the Foundation of Light attended an award ceremony at the stadium.

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Celebrating new schools

New schools
Esh Winning (l to r) Durham County Council Chairman Cllr John Robinson, Macy Cowell, Chair of Governors Eileen Grimes Baillie Watson, Joe Summerson, Headteacher Diane Kime, Aidan Kirkup, Cllr Ossie Johnson Credit: Durham County Council

Celebrations have been held to mark the end of building work on two new primary schools forCounty Durham.

The new builds have seen Brandon and Esh Winning replaced by modern constructions with state-of-the-art facilities.

Both schools have been open since April 2012 with Brandon costing £ 7.2m and Esh Winning £6.4m.

Esh Winning
Brandon (l to r) Durham County Council Chairman Cllr John Robinson, Cllr Ossie Johnson, former Chair of Governors Meshiel Brown, Cllr John Turnbull, Headteacher Judith Hodgson with pupils Oliver Sherratt, Elisha Dawson and Ryan Turnbull Credit: Durham County Council

“This demonstrates Durham County Council’s commitment to investing in the future of our young people by delivering a world class 21st century education for generations to come.”

– Cllr Ossie Johnson, Cabinet member for children and young people’s services

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Crime Commissioner awarded honorary degree

Northumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has been awarded an honorary doctorate from Northumbria University, forty years after graduating from its predecessor with her first law degree.

Vera Baird honorary degree
Vera Baird returned to her alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate in Civil Law Credit: Northumbria University

Vera Baird was Vice-President of the Student Union at Newcastle Polytechnic, before embarking on a career as a barrister.

She went on to become Labour MP for Redcar in 2001 before being elected as Northumbria's first Police Commissioner.

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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Anne Lakey will face a retrial

A headteacher accused of historic sex offences against a 13-year-old boy is to face a retrial. It is alleged that Anne Lakey, 54, had sex with the boy in the late 1980s while she was a teacher at a school in Sunderland. The complaint was over a pupil at a different school.

Anne Lakey, from Stanley, has already been on trial for the alleged offences. But the jury was discharged on their third day of deliberations at Durham Crown Court on July 4 after failing to reach a verdict on four counts of indecent assault and two of indecency with a child.

She denied the charges but the Crown Prosecution Service have now formally announced thatthey will seek a retrial.Lakey, who was present at the short hearing, was given bail and ordered to return to Durham Crown Court on January 19.

Government dismisses unions' "inflated claims"

"We want to thank the vast majority of public servants who turned up for work as usual today. Our official estimates are that fewer than half a million took part in this strike action - well short of the inflated claims of union leaders. Within the Civil Service, there has been the lowest recorded turnout for a national strike.

"Every Jobcentre opened, the majority of children went to school as normal and fire services continue to operate with robust contingency arrangements in place.

"As part of our long-term economic plan, this Government has had to take tough decisions, including to restrain public sector pay. The blame for today's disruption rests with those union leaders who pushed for unnecessary strike action with weak mandates."

– Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office
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