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McDonald's plans to build near Kenton School rejected

McDonald's plans to build a restaurant next to Newcastle's biggest school have been rejected.

The fast-food chain wanted to open a two-storey 'drive-thru' at the junction with Kenton Lane and Ponteland Road.

Kenton School, which has 2,000 pupils, is just a few minutes' walk away.

McDonald's promised the move would create 75 jobs, but the global company has been refused planning by Newcastle City Council on three different grounds:

  • Pedestrian safety
  • Impact on healthy eating due to the proximity of a school
  • Poor, bland and uninteresting design on gateway to the city

North Yorks 'horse whisperers' help Japanese families

A mother and daughter team from North Yorkshire are building an international reputation for helping children with autism better their communication skills, by using horses.

Autism affects the way a person relates to, and communicates with others. By pairing the young people with a horse, the aim is to break down those barriers.

Thanks to the success of the programme, the centre is attracting families from as far away as Japan.

Claire Montgomery reports:


Working with horses 'helps build communication skills'

Sarah Shearman is a renowned horse whisperer who runs a residential centre specialising in using horses to help young people with autism.

The school in North Yorkshire is helping Japanese students to better their communication skills through working with animals.

The centre is run by mother and daughter, Sandra Kreutzer-Brett and Sarah Shearman, who are experts in reading the body language of horses and their riders.

Sarah says working with the animals can help build their confidence and self-esteem.

North Yorks 'horse whisperers' help Japanese students

Students from Japan are among those travelling to a training centre in rural North Yorkshire to help better their communication skills.

The residential centre specialises in using horses as therapy to help young people with autism.

The visit a joint venture between a mother and daughter, who're experts in reading the body language of the animals and their riders to help students achieve their full potential.

During their visit, families will learn to work together to tack up a horse and use leadership skills to guide the animal.

Over the years, Sandra and Sarah have helped many families. They believe the animals can help break down barriers.

Free school to address skills gap in the North East

It's one of the biggest economic challenges facing the North East: the skills gap in manufacturing and engineering.

But now, a multi-million pound school has opened its doors on Tyneside and claimed it will address the problem.

Pupils who go to the Discovery School can expect to operate high-tech machinery, work office hours and swap the school desk for industry-style bays.

It's all possible because it's a free school - which can deviate from the curriculum.

Education Correspondent Dan Ashby reports:


Free school students will 're-energise the region'

A multi-million pound free school has opened on Tyneside, claiming it will help address the skills gap in engineering in the North East.

Pupils in the Discovery School will work to office hours in manufacturing units similar to industry.

A free school is a state school that is allowed to deviate from the curriculum to fulfil a specialist need.

Critics argue that they cost too much but the Discovery School's Principal, Wendy Allen, says that is not the case:

Students left 'stranded' by new school transport plans

Plans to make students in Northumberland over the age of 16 pay for their travel to school has led to claims that some will be "stranded", unable to make the journey.

If there is a public bus service which can get them to school they'll be expected to use it. But some parents say the timetables don't fit the academic day and their children will always be late.

If there is no public transport they can pay £600 a year to use the school bus but passes might not be ready until four weeks after term starts.

Keith Akehurst reports:

Post 16 school transport charges in Northumberland

Earlier this summer, dozens of parents protested outside County Hall in Morpeth over plans to charge over-16s for school transport in Northumberland. (Read More: Protest over scrapping of free student transport)

Under the plans, pupils were placed into one of two categories by the council:

1) If there is public bus services which can get the student to school they should use that, not school buses.

2) If there is no public transport they can use school buses, but must pay £600 per year.

Now, parents have received a letter from Northumberland County Council explaining that there is a delay in processing passes for those entitled to use school buses and many will have to wait until the end of September before they receive them. Therefore parents are being advised to make alternative transport arrangements for the first month of the school year.

Northumberland County Council have assured parents that they are doing all they can to ensure that no eligible post 16 student who has applied for transport in good time is left without travel arrangements at the start of term:

For many years the council has operated a concessionary scheme for students of any age who are not entitled to home to school travel. They can request spare seats on school buses at a charge. This scheme is completely separate to the post 16 transport arrangements.

Every year priority is given to providing places on school buses for children who are eligible and therefore spare seats under the concessionary scheme cannot be confirmed until late September. Where possible we will confirm at an earlier date. Parents who purchase a seat under the concessionary scheme do so in the full understanding that the availability of that seat cannot be guaranteed. We always advise these parents to have contingency plans in place until they receive confirmation.

Under the new post 16 scheme for those families who do not qualify for any financial assistance and there is no suitable public transport, students will have to pay £600 for a place on a school bus. The Council will now provide more time for parents to pay the initial instalment of £200 and return their completed direct debit mandate to secure their child’s place on a school bus.

– Northumberland County Council
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