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  1. Megan Boot

Changes to secondary school qualifications in 2015

Significant changes in secondary school education are due to come into force in Wales next September.

New GCSES are being introduced and the Welsh Baccalaureate is to be made more rigorous.

But there are concerns that Wales going its own way will isolate students wishing to work or study over the border once they have the qualifications - though the Education Minister says that's something that won't happen.

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New e-safety resources launched for Welsh schools

The resources hope to improve the safety of students on the internet Credit: PA / Arne Dedert

Schools in Wales are to receive two new resources aimed at encouraging safe and responsible internet use for pupils.

The resources, which have been created based on others in use across the UK and globally, will be formally launched later by the Minister for Education and Skills, Huw Lewis AM.

One is a self-assessment tool that allows schools to judge and improve their online safety, while the other is a resource pack for teachers, which aims to help them in teaching their pupils about the importance of responsible online use.

A screenshot of one of the resources - the 360 degree safe tool Credit: UK Safer Internet Centre

These two resources, uniquely produced for Wales, will be available to all schools across Wales to use and hope to help schools improve their e-safety, as well as developing digital literacy skills in their pupils.

There’s no doubt the internet and social technologies offer huge possibilities for learning and research, for communication and collaboration and for limitless creativity. That’s why we recently made a big investment in upgrading the broadband infrastructure for schools in every part of Wales.

Indeed, 86 per cent of schools are now receiving the desired connectivity at the agreed level or better.

However, we must also recognise that there are darker corners of the web which children and young people will encounter from time to time. _ _We’re committed to safeguarding all children and young people across Wales, and this is equally true in the online space.

– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister

Cardiff pupils recreate First World War military hospital

Pupils are dressing up as patient and hospital staff as part of the exhibition commemorating the school's part in the war effort. Credit: ITV News/James Crichton-Smith

Pupils at a Cardiff primary school are bringing history to life by recreating a First World War military hospital in their classrooms.

Between 1914 and 1920, Albany Primary School, in Roath, was closed to children and converted into a ward to care for wounded soldiers. The children are commemorating the part their school played in the war effort in a special exhibition today.

It's part of the Roath Remembers project, which aims to digitally capture and preserve First World War memories, stories and artefacts from the local community.

Credit: ITV News/James Crichton-Smith

The exhibition includes the original architect's drawing of the hospital plan and photographs of the school in use as a hospital and large crowds waiting to welcome patients.

New takeaway restaurants could be banned near Denbighshire schools

Denbighshire councillors are to discuss proposals on whether to ban new takeaway restaurants opening within 400 metres of schools and colleges.

New fish and chips shops will not be allowed to open near to schools if the plans get the go-ahead Credit: PA

The plans could affect fish and chip shops, pizza and Chinese takeaways.

Drive-throughs would also be affected if the proposals go-ahead.

The plans are being drawn up to help tackle child obesity and to encourage healthy eating.

Wrexham council was the first local authority to introduce rules on takeaways opening near schools in 2011.

Existing takeaway restaurants will not affected if the proposals are passed at the meeting later today.

Do you agree with these plans? Are you a business owner concerned it may affect your trade? Email: wales@itv.com with your views.

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Welsh Government under fire for school grants clawback

The Welsh Government has come under fire, after asking schools to return millions of pounds they have already committed to spending in this year's budgets, so it can be used on the NHS instead.

Money from three particular grants is due to be clawed back - unless councils can find other solutions to make £4.4m savings over the next two weeks.

Headteachers have told ITV News that there is very likely to be an impact on standards in the classroom, and staff redundancies may have to be made.

We asked the Education Minister for his response - and he reiterated that the Welsh Government has met its commitment to increase schools funding by 1 per cent above changes to the total Welsh budget.

Tom Sheldrick reports:

WLGA: £4.4m education cut will have significant impact

Councils have until October 24 to identify how they will implement the £4.4m cut in education budgets.

The Welsh Local Government Association says the reduction will have "a significant impact on budgets and services".

This is no small reduction, and it will take time to identify how these savings can be realised in a way that does not impact negatively on the services being provided to learners, or on the schools and teachers that have only recently been tasked with delivering considerable improvement of educational standards.

– WLGA spokesperson

Redundancies warning after Welsh Government asks councils to return money from education budget

Headteachers and unions are warning of possible staff redundancies in schools.

It comes after the Welsh Government sent letters to all councils asking them to return money from this year's education budget.

It's understood the £4.4m savings will be used to reduce financial pressure on the NHS.

"It will inevitably lead to consideration of redundancies in all schools" says Pamela McCleane, the headteacher at Flint High School.

"In a larger secondary school yes, but also in very small primary schools. I don't know how they're going to manage."

RCT Council cabinet votes to put nursery cuts proposals out to consultation

ITV News Correspondent Richard Morgan writes:

Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has voted to put controversial proposals to cut full-time nursery education out to consultation.

It comes ten months after the same proposals were defeated by protestors following a judicial review.

But today - with the authority saying it needed to make further savings with more funding cuts on the way - the council cabinet agreed to again look at the measures, which would see full-time nursery education replaced by part time provision.

The meeting, which was attended by parents and their children together with other opponents, was punctuated by shouts of 'shame' from the public gallery as the proposals were discussed.

One mother told me: "We will fight this tooth and nail. I have twins who will be directly affected, and I will be one of the people who'll be fighting this till the bitter end".

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