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£3 million to help disadvantaged students

More than £3 million has been allocated to students in the North East to allow those from under-represented groups to do a master’s degree.

The Postgraduate Support Scheme was launched last year, aimed at supporting those unable to pursue further study through issues such as financial barriers or family responsibilities.

Eligible students in the region will be able to receive a £10,000 postgraduate scholarship award.

Northumbria University will give the highest number of postgraduate scholarship awards, allocating £775,000 to 155 students.

“At Northumbria we are making a significant investment to help grow and diversify our postgraduate community with the availability of 155 bursaries.

“We know that funding remains one of the biggest concerns for students; however, studies show that a master’s degree can boost earning potential by over £200,000.

“These bursaries, along with Northumbria’s new postgraduate loan scheme, mean that even more students will have the opportunity to take their career to the next level.”

– Adam Dunlop, Marketing Director at Northumbria University

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Children in tears as Durham Free School closes

Durham Free School Credit: ITV News

Durham Free School has closed today, after a campaign to keep it open ended in failure.

Less than two years after opening, Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan ordered that the school be shut despite a passionate campaign by parents to keep it open with many saying it had transformed their children's lives.

In January, the government said it was terminating Durham Free School's funding agreement after inspectors rated the school inadequate.

Students, staff and parents of The Durham Free School have today marked the school’s closure with a service of thanksgiving.

The school has told ITV Tyne Tees that many of the children were in tears during the service which included readings, prayers written by students, a choir performance and the presentation of awards.

Our time at The Durham Free School ended with a sense of celebration for all that the children have achieved and thankfulness for the undying commitment of staff to care for the children and the continued support of parents and other supporters. It has been an incredibly traumatic time for our staff who have suffered personal abuse from a local MP and had their livelihoods threatened. They have been the consummate professionals throughout, behaving in an exemplary manner and always in the best interests of the children. It is a sad day."

– Acting headteacher Julian Eisner

We put up a fantastic fight and we can all walk out with our heads held very high. We all did our best and we can all be proud of what The Durham Free School has taught us."

– Dave Lewin, parent

Full steam ahead for Rail Academy

Inside the new Rail Academy. Credit: Newcastle College

A £5m Rail Academy officially opens in Gateshead today, as part of Newcastle College.

The Rail Academy is the first of its kind in the country and it is hoped that it will help to secure the future of rail engineering in the North East.

The industry has a rapidly ageing workforce and it's hoped the Academy will train the railway engineers of the future.

The Academy was designed to respond to the Government's ambitious plans to create a 'truly world-class rail network' by pledging to make what it describes as 'the biggest investment in rail infrastructure for the last 150 years.

The purpose built facility contains a number of real working environments which can train technicians and engineers in a variety of situations and enable students to work in realistic operational scenarios.

The Academy has been developed in conjunction with the National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering (NSARE) and key rail employers such as Network Rail.

Network Rail fully supports Newcastle College’s vision to develop the next generation of railway engineers and welcomes the College’s investment. We believe this facility will contribute to the capacity of skilled workers required to deliver the significant investment which we are carrying out to meet continued increasing demand for rail services''.

– Jackie Judge, Workforce Development Manager, Network Rail

Doctor 'Doc' Spencer misses out on global teaching title

A teacher from Teesside has narrowly missed out winning the coveted title of "Best Teacher in the world" - and a $1 million dollar cash prize.

Dr Richard Spencer got through to the last 10 of the Global Teacher Prize because of the way he uses music and dancing to teach A level biology at Middlesbrough College.

But, at a ceremony in Dubai this afternoon, the top prize went to Nancie Atwell from America.

The prize was handed out by Bill Clinton and the ruler of Dubai.

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Teesside Teacher to learn if he's won 'best in world' title

Dr 'Doc' Richard Spencer will attend the ceremony in Dubai this afternoon Credit: PA

There are just hours to go until Teesside biology teacher Dr 'Doc' Spencer will find out if he is truly top of the class - and is named the best teacher in the world.

The Global Teacher Prize is being awarded in Dubai this afternoon and recognises outstanding contribution in the profession.

The winner will receive a $1 million dollar prize as well as the coveted title which is considered to be the 'Nobel Prize for teaching'.

Dr Richard Spencer was nominated for his innovative teaching methods which include lively songs to educate A level biology students about chromosomes and DNA during their biology classes at Middlesbrough College.

He already has an MBE for his services and has even met the Pope during his career.

Dr Spencer receiving his MBE from Prince Charles. Credit: PA

Will Teesside Teacher be top of the class in 'World's Best' final?

Dr Richard Spencer has already been awarded an MBE Credit: PA Images

A teacher from Middlesbrough has arrived in Dubai ahead of the final of a competition to name the best teacher in the world. Dr Richard Spencer, who teaches biology at Middlesborough College, is the only British teacher who's made it through to the final of the Global Teacher Prize. The competition recognises an outstanding contribution to teaching. The winner will be announced in Dubai tomorrow afternoon. Watch the video below to see his innovative teaching methods:

The students at the college call him Doc and, if he wins tomorrow, then Dr Spencer would receive a $1 million dollar prize and the title of best int he world. Dr Spencer already has an MBE and he's even met the Pope.

Dr Spencer meets the Pope in Rome Credit: PA Images

The winner of the final is expected to be announced early tomorrow afternoon. Good luck Dr Spencer!

Campaign to stop McDonald's opening near school

Teachers and parents will attend a public meeting this evening to discuss controversial proposals to build a McDonald's restaurant near Kenton school on Tyneisde.

A campaign's underway to block the plans, with the school's principal saying they are deeply concerned for the health and safety of their students if the restaurant goes ahead.

McDonald's says it believes opening a restaurant in Kenton will bring investment to the area.

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