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Swimming safety initiative launches in Bude today

Credit: PA

A charity has teamed up with the RNLI to encourage people to be safe when swimming as children try to cool off.

The Amateur Swimming Association will be launching a water safety initiative in Bude today after it found that 17% of parents in the South West say their child has got into difficulties in water. This summer they'll be running courses to try to give children confidence when out in open water.


  1. West Country (E)

Parents protest at school's iPad plan

iPads are used widely in schools Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Parents at a Dorset school have started a protest campaign after being asked to pay £400 for iPads for their children.

A letter was sent out by Gryphon School in Sherborne recommending that pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 should buy iPads for use from September.

Following complaints the school has said that this is not a "requirement" but is "entirely optional."

Thousands of teachers expected to strike today

Thousands of teachers expected to strike today Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A day of disruption is expected across the South West as thousands of teachers and other public sector workers are going on strike over pay and pensions

Members of teaching union NUT and also UNITE say they have not had a pay rise in three years. This year the government offered them a 1% rise but the offer was refused.

Staff protest at Plymouth University

Staff at Plymouth University will be protesting later against job losses at the institution. They'll be demonstrating outside the university as part of an ongoing dispute over efforts to reduce staff costs.

Several staff have already taken voluntary redundancy Credit: ITV News West Country

Several university employees have already taken voluntary redundancy, others face compulsory redundancy.


Big rise in primary school class sizes in Devon

Class sizes in Devon have increased Credit: ITV News West Country

The number of primary school children being taught in oversized classes of more than 30 in Devon has increased by twenty eight per cent.

According to statistics from the Department of Education, in the South West more than 5,500 five to seven year olds are being taught in classes above the legal limit.

Universities boost South West economy

University of Exeter is a substantial contributor to the region's economy Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/Press Association Images

A new survey suggests that the University of Exeter contributes £600 million to the south west economy each year and that the region's universities generate 51,780 jobs.

The report by Universities UK (UUK) has, for the first time, quantified the economic benefit generated by the region’s 12 Universities. It says the total revenue of South West higher education institutions was £1.7 billion in 2011-12.

Geoff Pringle, Chief Operating Officer at the University of Exeter commented:

“Recent studies in the UK have highlighted the importance of higher education to the national economy but it has been difficult to quantify the impact regionally - until now.

“The University of Exeter contributes not only financially to the region but also by providing a graduate workforce that raises productivity and stimulates economic growth.

The opportunity is now to work collaboratively with both business and government, exploiting and supporting regional specialisations, to deliver even more regional success in the future for the South West.”

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