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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.

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Teachers at Wellsway School strike

Wellsway School in Keynsham Credit: ITV News

Teachers at Wellsway School in Keynsham are striking today.

Members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, NASUWT, are protesting about workload. The strikes are the first of six days of planned action by the union.

The school has been in negotiation with both unions, but despite reaching an agreement with the National Union of Teachers didn't do so with the NASUWT.

In that letter, Andrea Arlidge, headteacher of the school, and head of school Simon White said the dispute was over "measures that we had taken to help improve the quality of teaching that your children receive".

Ms Arlidge and Mr White said the NASUWT was especially concerned over the "additional work" it felt these steps would involve.

I regret that the NASUWT has decided to take industrial action on Wednesday 11th March, but welcome the decision of the NUT not to do so. We have worked hard to meet staff concerns about workload whilst ensuring we continue to work towards the improvements we believe are vital to Wellsway's continuing success.

– Andrea Arlidge, Headteacher

The strike action is completely avoidable. The NASUWT has made every effort to secure an agreed way forward through genuine negotiation, but the employer has failed to effectively address the serious concerns of members.

The teachers at Wellsway are all dedicated and committed members of staff, who have no wish to cause disruption to pupils or to parents, but in the face of the employer’s intransigence have been left with no choice but to protest in this way.

– Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT

The NUT responds to Cameron's free schools

The NUT maintains that the free school policy has diverted funds into a small number of schools and prevented Local Authorities opening schools where most needed. Free Schools do not raise standards. What does is teaching.

Supporting teachers in developing their classroom practice through high quality CPD and more time to teach, rather than meet arbitrary Government targets, should be the aim of any Government, not introducing market forces into education.

– Lisa Middle, Secretary of Bristol Division NUT

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Labour slams Government's decision to open more free schools

Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt has slammed David Cameron's decision to open more free schools across the country.

The Labour minister says it was the "wrong policy, at the wrong time, in the wrong place", and was putting money into areas it was not needed. He claims the money could have been spent better in reducing class sizes and raising teaching standards.

Full list of South West free schools

  • The Great Western Academy, Swindon - will have a business and enterprise curriculum model.
  • The Swindon Church of England Secondary School - the city's first Church of England school, being provided by the Diocese of Bristol.
  • Bristol Autism Free School - Bristol’s first all-through provision for students with autistic spectrum conditions. It will replace and expand on a small autism unit at the successful Merchants Academy.
  • The Digital Primary Academy in Exeter - will be opened by the same trust that runs the Broadclyst Primary Academy. It is the only UK primary school recognised as a Microsoft Mentor School and part of the Microsoft Global Challenge.
  • Kingsteignton School in Devon - will be run by the federation that runs nearby St Michael’s Church of England Primary School.
  • Stoke Damerel Healthcare Professional Studio School in Plymouth - will specialise in healthcare, and is sponsored by Stoke Damerel Community College, with partners including Plymouth NHS Trust, Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry and Plymouth University.
The schools are all expected to open in 2016 Credit: ITV News

Six new free schools announced for the South West

The Government has today said six new free schools will open in the South West - part of 49 being announced nationwide.

Two will open in Swindon, while one is also planned for Bristol.

Nick Gibb, the Schools Reform Minister, will be in the Swindon this morning to outline plans for the Great Western Academy and the Swindon Church of England Secondary School.

Three new free schools have been announced for Swindon Credit: PA

Today's announcement, the final wave of free schools to be approved before the election, brings the total number of open and approved free schools to more than 400. It has created around 230,000 new school places.

The Government claims 72 per cent of free school heads say they are having a positive impact on schools in their local area – driving up standards and ensuring more parents have a great school in their neighbourhood.

Over 40,000 pupils are already attending free schools, with more than two-thirds rated good or outstanding. 72 per cent are located in areas with a shortage of places.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan Credit: PA

Today’s announcement sends a clear sign that children for generations to come will be able to benefit from a place in a free school. With already more than two-thirds being rated good or outstanding, today’s news will reassure parents that standards will continue to rise.

– Nicky Morgan
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