Live updates

Teenager with Down's Syndrome fights for her future

Sita Dommett wants to study cookery and eventually work in a restaurant Credit: ITV News

A teenager with Downs Syndrome will be joining other young people with disabilities in Westminster today to protest over their right to have further education.

Sita Dommett from North Nibley wants to go to a specialist college in Somerset but Gloucestershire County Council won't fund it.

Campaigners say thousands of young people are being affected by a change in legislation.

Wiltshire early years providers among the worst in the region

Too many early years settings inspected as part of a focused inspection in Wiltshire are not yet good Credit: PA: Dominic Lipinsk

Too many early years settings inspected as part of a focused inspection in Wiltshire are not yet good according the education watchdog.

Ofsted has published its findings after it found only half of eight early years settings it inspected in March were judged good or better.

As well as the visits to eight providers, inspectors conducted telephone surveys with a further 11 providers and held a focus group discussion with the local authority and its partners.

The inspection was prompted by the wide gap in learning and development outcomes for the poorest young children compared to their more affluent peers.

Only 36% of children eligible for free school meals achieved a good level of development in 2014, making Wiltshire the third worst local authority in the South West region. However, inspectors did find signs of improvement.

The local authority has provided some helpful training along with additional funding to enable early years settings to further develop their provision for funded two-years-olds. However, much still needs to improve.

It cannot be right that the poorest young children in Wiltshire are not able to master basic skills such as being able to hold a pencil, count to 20, listen to a story or express themselves.

Good learning and development is vital if children are to grasp the basics skills before they start primary school.

As a result we have provided a number of recommendations the local authority should consider, particularly to those childcare providers, on meeting the needs of the poorest children.

– Bradley Simmons, Ofsted Director for the South West

Ofsted recommends:

  • targeting high quality information, advice and training to weaker providers to ensure that young children in the most disadvantaged areas access the best provision
  • continuing to provide information, training and advice as required to help practitioners further their early years knowledge, skills and experience
  • using Ofsted’s inspection evidence, to encourage providers to strengthen their monitoring of teaching and progress made by groups of children so that settings have clear evidence of what they do well and what they need to improve

Ensuring all children in Wiltshire achieve their full potential regardless of their background is an absolute key priority for us.

We have been working closely with early years settings across the county to narrow the performance gap between children from poorer households and other children at the end of their first year in school.

Ofsted visited eight early years settings during the focused inspection event however Wiltshire has over 1,000 childminders, early years settings and out of school clubs registered to take young children.

Overall 84% of this provision, which includes providers operating in our more deprived areas, is judged by Ofsted to be good or better and we will continue to work with providers who are not yet judged to be good to increase this percentage.

Despite the relatively small sample for this inspection the recommendations are helpful as we continue to drive improvements in our early years provision. We will continue to work in partnership with providers to implement our plans in order to achieve our high aspirations for all children in Wiltshire.

– Wiltshire Council

Advertisement

Cheltenham's dinosaurs pulling in the crowd

Thousands of people are heading to the Cheltenham Science Festival, which has been using dinosaurs to pull in the crowds.

The story of how they became extinct is one of the most popular displays - although there is plenty more on offer - including speakers like Professors Brian Cox and Alice Roberts.

"We are putting the best people in front of our audiences, to highlight the best science. It's fun and informative, and people from all over the UK and the world are coming to the Science Festival".

– Ashley Kent, Cheltenham Science Festival

The festival runs until Sunday - see the full programme here.

New exam rules are unfair to students, warn teachers

New rules mean GCSE students who don't make the grade must re-sit Maths and English. Credit: ITV News

New exam rules forcing students to re-sit GCSE Maths and English if they don't make A-C grades are unfair and putting pupils under too much pressure, a teaching union has warned.

Some colleges are reporting double the usual amount of students sitting exams. In one Gloucestershire college there are 650 re-sits scheduled for June alone, and this is expected to double over the next year. This report from David Wood has more.

Primary school places - has your child got theirs?

It is a big day for thousands of children as they discover which primary school they'll be going to in September

A break down of the school figures from all our major councils.

We'll have more as we get them.

North Somerset Council:

  • 86% allocated a place at their first preference school, 6.7% their second and 2.8% their third.
  • 95.5% received one of their three preferences. (Compared to 94.9% last year.)
  • 111 students out of 2,463 applications have not been offered any of their preferences. (Compared to 118 last year.)

Bristol City Council:

  • 84% received their first school preference. (Compared to 82% last year.)
  • 95.6% received one of their three preferences. (Compared to 94% last year.)
  • On-time applications dropped slightly this year to 5,404 down from 5,461 last year.

Gloucester City Council:

  • 88% have been offered their first preference (Compared to almost 90% last year.)
  • 96% have received one of their three preferred places.

Swindon Borough Council:

  • 93% have been offered their first preference. (Compared to 92% last year.)
  • 98.1% received one of their three preferences. (Compared to 98% last year.)

Bath and North East Somerset:

  • 88% have been offered their first preference.

Advertisement

Anxious wait over as primary school places released

It is a big day for thousands of children as they discover which primary school they'll be going to in September

It is a big day for thousands of children as they discover which primary school they'll be going to in September.

Offers of places were sent out this morning, with many of our West Country councils reporting that the numbers of those offered one of their top three schools were up on last year.

But we want to hear from you - did you get one of your top choices? Let us know via email, or on Facebook.

Students predicted to turn out in huge numbers to vote

University students are expecting to turn out to vote in huge numbers, a new survey has revealed.

A huge 85 per cent of Britain's two million students will cast their ballot next month, rising to 91 per cent in Scotland.

University students are expecting to turn out to vote in huge numbers, a new survey has revealed Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

And as for who they'll vote for - David Cameron tops the poll as the most popular over Ed Miliband in both England and Scotland.

The survey - commissioned by Unite Students, the UK's leading provider of student accommodation - reveals turn out among the student population will be far higher than the total national turnout for the 2010 general election.

But despite the huge interest in voting, students are deeply pessimistic about the likelihood of the election making their lives better.

Two thirds think their lives will be worse - no matter what the outcome of May 7's vote.

Load more updates