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Work starts on Newcastle's new-look Life Science Centre

Life Science Centre logo Credit: Life Science Centre

Newcastle’s Life Science Centre will close to the public from Monday 5 January for five days, to undertake essential work which signals the start of a £1m development of its exhibition space.

The Science Centre will re-open to the public on Saturday 10 January.

Life’s outdoor ice rink will remain open for skating throughout the course of the week.

Life’s Trading and Operations Director, Liz Dean, said:

The new development, Experimental Zone, will be completed in time for Easter and will allow visitors to step into the shoes of scientists and carry out a range of experiments using laboratory-grade equipment.

“This is an exciting time as we begin major works on a new exhibition area. During the five days we are closed, a lot of work will be going on to remodel parts of the area and undertake essential maintenance on other parts of the Centre.”

– Liz Dean, Life Science Centre
Part of Dr. Gunther von Hagens' exhibition at the Centre for Life Credit: ITV News

Today's announcement comes as the most popular exhibition held at the Centre draws to a close.

Body Worlds Vital is an exhibitions from anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens which uses donated bodies to explores human anatomy, how the body functions and what happens when disease strikes.

Part of Dr. Gunther von Hagens' exhibition at the Centre for Life Credit: ITV News

After breaking records as a visitor attraction, the exhibition's last day in Newcastle will be tomorrow, Sunday.

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Three NE areas on Ofsted's 'worst in country' list

Children have less than a 50% chance of going to a good or outstanding school in Hartlepool, Stockton and Middlesbrough, according to a critical report out today.

Ofsted listed the three North East local authorities as some of the worst in the country, when it comes to children's secondary school prospects.

It also found that 70,000 more children in England are studying in a school rated 'inadequate', than was the case two years ago.

Sure Start petition handed to Number 10

Cllr Nick Forbes hands the petition to Number 10 Downing Street Credit: ITV News

Parents and politicians were among a delegation which has delivered a petition to Downing Street over the future of Sure Start in Newcastle.

Sure Start programmes offer support to parents and children in less privileges communities.

Fifteen centres are under review, as part of wider spending cuts. The city council is looking to save more than £4million on family services, blaming the Government's spending squeeze.

The petition was organised by the trade union Unison, which says it collected three and a half thousand names.

"It's taking away a basic amenity and if you take away the basic amenities that children need to grow up, you have taken away everything. "

– Mary Jane Opalah, mother

"No one should ever have to live the way the North East people are living and that's why we've come down today to show David Cameron that we're willing to fight for it."

– Lynne Milburn, mother

"We held off cuts to Sure Start for as long as possible. This is the third year of a three year budget and we've looked at everything else before we've got to this desperate stage and unless the Government changes track we'll be forced to go ahead with these cuts."

– Cllr Nick Forbes, Newcastle City Council leader

In response, the Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins said that every part of the public sector needs to contribute to paying off the deficit left by the last administration.

“Since 2010 this Government has delivered a fair settlement to every part of the country while giving them greater financial independence so they can deliver sensible savings while protecting front-line services.

Leaving aside schools due to the move to academies, Newcastle’s spending has actually increased under this Government. And the new financial powers granted to Newcastle through their City Deal are set to bring £1bn investment into the area in the coming years.

The majority of local authorities have continued to balance their budgets whilst reducing council tax in real-terms and increased or maintained public satisfaction with services. "

– Kris Hopkins MP, Local Government Minister

Final decisions have yet to be made by Newcastle city council over the future of its Sure Start programmes.

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