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Planned protest by parents against SATS - are you taking part?

Credit: PA (library image)

Thousands of parents across the North East are preparing to pull their children out of school next Tuesday - in protest against changes to SATs taken by Year 2 pupils.

They say the tests have become too hard, and are causing six and seven-year-olds to become stressed and upset.

The director of SCHOOLS NorthEast says there are real problems with the tests - but he's concerned about the boycott - as "the best place for children is in school."

What do you think?

Will you be taking part in the boycott?

Do you agree with parents' approach?

Tributes paid to 14-year-old Tyler Garwood

Tyler Garwood died from suspected meningitis Credit: Garwood Family

Tributes have been paid to a 14-year-old boy from Newcastle who died from suspected meningitis.

Tyler Garwood died suddenly on Monday morning.

Kenton School where Tyler was a Year 9 pupil released a statement saying:

"It is with deep sadness we have to announce the sudden death of a Year 9 pupil"

The schoolboy was a keen footballer too - and several clubs have been paying tribute to him.

He played for Gosforth FC and Ponteland United

Team Gosforth FC release a tribute on their Facebook page Credit: Team Gosforth FC


The signs and symptoms of meningitis

Following the sudden death of a school pupil in Newcastle from suspected meningitis, here is a list of some of the possible signs and symptoms of the infection.

The following information is taken from the NHS Choices website.

Meningitis rash

The classic rash associated with meningitis usually looks like small, red pinpricks at first.

It then spreads over the body quickly and turns into red or purple blotches.

If you press the side of a clear glass firmly against the skin and the rash doesn't fade, it's a sign of blood poisoning (septicaemia) caused by meningitis and you should get medical advice right away.

The rash can be harder to see on dark skin.

Check for spots on paler areas like the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, the tummy, inside the eyelids, and the roof of the mouth.

Other possible signs of meningitis

  • a high temperature (fever) over 37.5C (99.5F)
  • feeling and being sick
  • irritability and a lack of energy
  • a headache
  • aching muscles and joints
  • breathing quickly
  • cold hands and feet
  • pale, mottled skin
  • a stiff neck
  • confusion
  • a dislike of bright lights
  • drowsiness
  • fits (seizures)
  • Babies may also:
  • refuse feeds
  • be agitated and not want to be picked up
  • have a bulging soft spot on their head (fontanelle)
  • be floppy or unresponsive
  • have an unusual high-pitched cry
  • have a stiff body

Suspected meningitis death in Newcastle

Health protection experts from Public Health England (PHE) are advising staff and parents of children who attend Kenton School in Newcastle following the death of a pupil from suspected meningitis.

A statement from Kenton School Credit: School website

This is a sad reminder of how devastating this illness can be and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the child who has died.

It is crucial to be able to recognise the signs and symptoms of meningococcal disease and to get treatment as soon as possible. But sadly, even with early recognition, it is not always possible to stop the rapid progress of this disease.

Meningococcal disease is a rare but life-threatening infection that occurs mainly in children and young adults.

Meningococcal bacteria do not spread easily. Only people who have had prolonged, close contact with the ill person are at a slightly increased risk of becoming unwell and would be offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

We have been working closely with the school and the child’s family. Close contacts have already been identified and are being offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure. It is not necessary for any other people to receive antibiotics.

  1. Tom Sheldrick

Northumberland school gets 'protections' against closure

The headteacher of Ponteland Community Middle School says gaining approval to convert to an Academy gives it "protections" if the council decides to push ahead with plans to close it.

Whilst we savour this moment, we also realise there is still much work to do. This Academy Order now gives us a solid platform to commence healing conversations between our schools - and to investigate new ways of working together to provide the three tier structure, within a 3 to 18 school system, that the community have made so clear they would prefer.

The obvious question you will no doubt be asking is what happens if following the consultation, NCC [Northumberland County Council] decide to ignore public opinion and enforce the 2 tier agenda on Ponteland anyway? That would be most regrettable, but under the protections afforded to us by Academy status, our first resolve is to return to the Multi Academy Trust conversation to pick up where we left off.

Potentially as a community of MAT schools, there would be a range of options available to us, but our firm hope is to play a full part in building on the superb education provision our flagship community of schools already have in place.

– Letter to parents from Caroline Pryer - Headteacher, Ponteland Community Middle School
  1. Tom Sheldrick

Middle school fights closure with Academy approval

One of Northumberland's top-performing schools, which has threatened with closure under council reorganisation plans, has gained approval from the government to convert to an Academy.

The headteacher at Ponteland Community Middle School said the move meant they could celebrate "securing the long term future" of the school.

Ponteland Community Middle School has 600 pupils, aged between 9 and 13.

The school, which was judged 'outstanding' by Ofsted inspectors in 2008 and 2013, has been under threat after Northumberland County Council last month decided to hold a consultation on proposals to move to a system of primary and secondary schools in Ponteland, rather than the current three-tier model.


Will 'space rocket seeds' take off in Washington?

Tim Peake Credit: PA
Credit: ITV

Children at St Joseph's RC Primary School in Washington are planting one hundred rocket seeds that have been on the space station with astronaut Tim Peake.

They will also be planting one hundred seeds that haven't been in space to compare whether the presence of zero gravity makes a difference in the quality of seeds.

It is hoped that the research being carried out by the Royal Horticultural Society will give an indication as to whether we would potentially be able to grow produce on Mars.

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