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Cameron announces new free schools

Sunderland football club are supporting new free school

The Prime Minister said today that 49 new free schools announced by the Government today, including one due to open in Sunderland next year, will deliver "the best schools and skills for young people."

The Sunderland Centre for Opportunity will have 90 places and is due to open in September 2016 within a sports community facility.

It is being backed by Sunderland football club who hope to use sport to inspire 13- to 16-year-olds back into education.

David Cameron said: “Delivering the best schools and skills for young people is a crucial part of our long term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain. Free schools set up by teachers, parents and community groups are not only outperforming other schools, but they are raising the performance of those around them.”

Labour has criticised the free schools policy, claiming it can lead to money being channelled to areas where there is a surplus of school places instead of being targeted at areas where classes are overcrowded.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: "This proposal simply masks the deep cuts the Tories are planning for education. Their scorched-earth policy for public services would mean that funding for nurseries, schools and colleges could be slashed by a quarter by 2020.

"In government, the Liberal Democrats ensured free schools were only set up where there was a genuine need for places, we blocked Tory plans to introduce profit-making in schools, and we stopped Michael Gove's plans to cut the schools budget in 2010."

Sunderland to get new free school

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Sunderland football club is backing a new school for disadvantaged children.

The Sunderland Centre for Opportunity will be open to up to 90 children who have been excluded, or are at risk of exclusion, from mainstream school and is due to open in September 2016.

It is one of 49 free schools announced by the Government today and will be located within the Beacon of Light, a new education, skills and sports community facility located next to the Stadium of light.

The idea is to use sport to inspire 13- to 16-year-olds back into education, offering vocational options as well as GCSEs.

More than 140 local businesses have already signed up to provide aspirational learning experiences in support.

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Scarborough to get new university campus

Scarborough is to get a new university campus as part of a £45 million scheme announced today by Coventry University.

Artist's impression of new campus

The campus - an expansion of Coventry - will include a technical college, a sports village and student accommodation. It is due to open in September 2016 and is expected to generate £1 billion for the local economy over the next decade.

The scheme is being developed through a partnership with Scarborough Borough Council and local businesses and is aimed at addressing the employment and skill needs of the local community, as well as attracting students from all over the country and overseas to come and study there.

Coventry University are initially investing more than £12m into their education and learning facilities, with ambitions to expand the capacity of the universe campus to cater for in excess of 5,000 students over time.

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University of Coventry launches Scarborough campus

A new university campus will be unveiled in Scarborough as part of a £45 million scheme announced today by Coventry University.

Artist Impression

The campus - an expansion of Coventry - will include a technical college, a sports village and student accommodation.

The site is due to open in September 2016 and is expected to generate £1 billion for the local economy over the next decade.

School closure 'like breaking up a family'

A school pupil says the decision to close Durham Free School is 'like breaking up a family'.

A statement released on the school's Facebook page last night confirm that campaigners had decided not to pursue a Judicial Review and that the school will close at Easter.

Sophie Dinning and her dad John Dinning told ITV News the decision to close the school is a disgrace.

Campaigners 'legally advised' to withdraw school closure challenge

The Chair of Governors at The Durham Free School, John Denning, said they have withdrawn their legal challenge against the government's decision to withdraw funding from the school at Easter.

He told ITV News that their decision followed further legal advise regarding pursuing a judicial review.

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DfE: Durham Free School 'not delivering high standard of education'

The Department for Education has released a statement regarding the announcement that Durham Free School will close at Easter.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

After carefully considering all of the issues and representations I have received, I have taken the decision to proceed with the closure of Durham Free School. The Department for Education operates on the basis that the interests of children must come first and it is clear that the school is not delivering the high standard of education that parents and I expect. It is also clear that there is no imminent prospect of improvement and I am not prepared to let any child remain in a failing school. While I know this decision will mean some upheaval for those pupils still in attendance, I am confident that it is the right thing to do. We are already working with the local authority to ensure every child is found a suitable place at another local school.

– Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary

School closure is 'like breaking up a family'

Sophie Dinning (left) and dad John Dinning say the decision to close Durham Free School is a disgrace Credit: ITV

A school pupil says the decision to close Durham Free School is 'like breaking up a family'.

A statement released on the school's Facebook page last night confirm that campaigners had decided not to pursue a Judicial Review and that the school will close at Easter.

Sophie Dinning and her dad John Dinning told ITV News the decision to close the school is a disgrace.

Campaigners give up the fight to save Durham Free School

Durham Free School Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Durham Free School WILL close at Easter after campaigners decided not to pursue a Judicial Review.

A statement released on the school's Facebook page last night said even if a review of the Secretary of State's decision was successful, it would not guarantee the school stayed open in the future.

The statement went on to describe the decision by the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan as a 'miscarriage of justice' and said the priority now was finding alternative schools for the children.

The Department for Education said, following an OFSTED inspection, the school had failed to show enough evidence of improvement, and gave formal notice that its funding would be terminated and should close before Easter.

Last night the school said it would work hard to ensure the last weeks of the school term were as happy and fulfilling as possible for the children

It is with great sadness that I have to inform you that The Durham Free School will close at Easter. We have taken the difficult decision not to pursue a Judicial Review against the Secretary of State for Education. Even if successful, it would do little to assure the school stayed open. Our priority must be to focus on helping the children and their families who have been so badly affected by this terrible miscarriage of justice and to make their last days at the school, which has become like a second family to many, as happy and celebratory as possible.

– Durham Free School

Schoolchildren visit Hitachi train plant

Hitachi plant under construction Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Shepherd, the company building Hitachi's new train-making factory in County Durham is showing schoolchildren around on Friday.

The site, at Newton Aycliffe, is still under construction, and today's event is designed to inspire youngsters to consider a career in construction.

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