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Dorchester schoolboy to feature in charity's Big First Aid Lesson

Sean Irwin, his mum and grandmother Credit: St John Ambulance

An eight-year-old St John Ambulance volunteer from Dorchester is taking a lead role in the charity’s Big First Aid Lesson later.

The story of how Sean Irwin looked after his mum, Caroline (29) when she fell six feet and knocked herself out cold is being featured in the live webcast.

Sean, who has been a St John Ambulance Badger in Dorchester for three years, feared his mum may have suffered a serious head, neck or spinal injury in the fall, so he checked her breathing and pulse, rather than putting her into the recovery position.

Caroline regained consciousness and was taken to hospital by her mum.

Almost 200,000 children in over 1,000 schools will watch the lesson during the webcast. For more information:


Fish genetically mutated by Cornish mining

Research at Exeter University has linked the evolution of fish to pollution from Cornwall's mining boom.

Scientists have found that pollution from historic mines in the South West has "severely affected" the genetic diversity of local populations of brown trout.

The report highlights the difference between so-called clean rivers like the Camel and the Fal, with more contaminated rivers such as the Hayle.

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.


Bishop says 'education is about valuing people'

The Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Rev Robert Atwell says the measure of an outstanding school is not just its SATS or Ofsted results but how everyone – children, teachers, and other staff including the cleaners and caretakers – are valued. The Diocese of Exeter educates 22,000 children in schools and academies across Devon.

The Bishop of Exeter, Rt Rev Robert Atwell Credit: ITV West Country

"What marks out a good school is not simply excellent SATs, but how it treats a sick cleaner or honours a playground supervisor when he or she retires after years of faithful service."

– Rt Rev Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter

He's called on people in churches to work more closely with schools helping to lead groups and clubs in schools during the week, rather than wait for children to turn up for Sunday services.

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
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