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A-level joy for North East students

It has been a morning of celebration for thousands of North East students, as they discovered their A-level results.

These were the scenes at Newcastle Sixth Form College, where pupils achieved the highest number of A* and A grades yet.

Across the country, the number of top grades has fallen slightly, though the North East has maintained the level of A grades achieved by students.

It was a nerve-wracking morning for students receiving their exam results Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees
This was the scene at Newcastle Sixth Form College first thing this morning Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Celebrating 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.

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


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 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 suspend school transport charges defeated

The decision for 16 to 18 year olds in Northumberland to pay for school transport will stand, despite a bid to suspend the move.

A motion to reconsider the policy was defeated at a special council meeting at County Hall in Morpeth.

Parents and students held a protest before the four hour debate.

Helen Ford was there:

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."


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.

Protest over scrapping of free student transport

The row over the scrapping of free school transport for 16-18 year olds in Northumberland reaches a climax today as parents and teenagers protest outside an extraordinary meeting of the council called to discuss the policy.

The council has taken away free school buses for post-16 students because of central funding cuts.

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