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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

Full list of South West free schools

  • 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 Great Western Academy in 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 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.

All three are planned for Devon, with one in Plymouth, one in Exeter and one in Newton Abbot.

Six 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

Millions in repair funds for West Country schools

A number of schools in our region will be refurbished. Credit: ITV News West Country

Twelve schools in the region are to benefit from a multi-billion-pound redevelopment programme announced by the Deputy Prime Minister.

Nick Clegg was at Helston College this morning to announce the project, which will see five schools in Devon, three in Cornwall and Somerset and one in Dorset repaired or rebuilt. We have the full list below.

DEVON: Whipton Barton Junior School, Exeter Road Community Primary School, Sidmouth College, Exmouth Community College and Ridgeway School, Plymouth.

CORNWALL: Helston Community College, Humphry Davy School and Newquay Tretherras. SOMERSET: Kingsmead Academy, Crispin School Academy and Haygrove School.

DORSET: The Woodroffe School.

In total £6 billion is being spent on 277 schools across the country.


South West schools to benefit from £140 million building programe

17 more schools in the South West will benefit from a £140 million school building programme, according to the government.

The fund will let schools rebuild or refurbish classrooms and other facilities. It should lead to better, brighter and warmer learning environments.

Helston Community College in Cornwall is one of those that will benefit.

Announcing the details of the investment, the Deputy Prime Minister said the improvements will help give every child a fair start in life.

Children can't learn and teachers can't teach in schools that are cold and have leaking roofs.

To create a stronger economy we have to invest in a fairer society so that our young people can be successful in the future.


Plymouth University is the greenest in the UK

The University of Plymouth has been revealed as the greenest in the UK Credit: ITV News

Plymouth University has been ranked the most sustainable in the country. It's the second time the university has topped the People and Planet Green League in five years.

Plymouth University understands the unique role a university plays in creating social justice, tackling climate change and equipping graduates with the understanding and skills we need to build the fairer low carbon future we all want.

– Hannah Smith, People & Planet

Plymouth has been on a journey to explore what sustainability means to us as a university, and it’s one that we’ve now placed at the very core of the way we do things.

It is threaded through the way we run our campus and manage our relationship with suppliers; through our teaching and curriculum; and it drives much of our research as we look to tackle some of the most urgent scientific and socio-economic issues of the day. It means a great deal, therefore to return to the top of the People and Planet University League.

– Prof David Coslett, Interim Chief Exec, Plymouth University

Sustainability is not just about switching off the lights and computers - Plymouth University has even started to commission independent monitoring of the factories that make the products that students use every day on campus as well as committing to purchase staff uniforms made from Fairtrade cotton.

Torquay school run by nuns to close after 90 years

Stoodley Knowle has educated girls in Devon for almost a century. Credit: Stoodley Knowle Independent School for Girls

A Devon girls' school will close this summer after 90 years due to falling pupil numbers.

Torquay's Stoodley Knowle Independent School for Girls has been run by a 400-year-old order of nuns in Ilsham Valley since 1924.

Founded in 1641 with the mission statement of providing girls with the same educational opportunities as boys, the Congregation of Les Filles de la Croix say this goal has been fulfilled, as seen in the decreasing number of students.

The school is working with staff, parents and pupils to discuss options for their future.

No decision has been taken about what will happen to the 65-acre site in Anstey's Cove after the school closes.

It had been on the cards for a little while. There are 120 students and in the senior school the classes are not big enough to provide the excellence of education the Sisters have provided over the years.

They have had some very successful pupils. At the same time the Sisters are not getting any younger. Over the years they did the cleaning, cooking and teaching and everything for nothing which kept the prices down, and when they retired they had to pay for outside teachers.

It is sad news, it was a beacon in the Bay as a school and it is such a beautiful site.

– Roy Pike, former Head of Torquay Boys’ Grammar School
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