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This is East Midlands Today with Anne Davies and me, Dominic Heale.
Tonight ` anger over an Ofsted blitz on schools in Nottingham. The
coordinated wave of classroom inspections prompt applet `` prompts
a political row. I feel it is probably overdue because Nottingham
has been so far down the league tables for quite a while.
Also tonight, the council control orders that mean life is no walk in
the park for this man and his dog. Plus our bank is accused of pushing
this family run firm to the brink of collapse. You wake at 2am in the
morning worrying about it. And Townhall tweeting. A council
warns its staff about the perils of social media.
`` town Hall. Good evening. First tonight,
teachers' leaders in Nottingham are warning of a slump in staff morale,
after a coordinated 0 warning of a slump in staff morale,
after a coordinated wave of inspections at several city schools.
One Labour politician has described the Ofsted checks as "destructive,
crude and crass". Meanwhile the Education Secretary
Michael Gove has accused Labour local authorities, like Nottingham,
of turning a blind eye to failing schools. Let's get more from
Westminster and our Political Editor John Hess. John, this is developing
into quite a political row, isn't it? It certainly is, because of
state has considerable cloud these days, it can make or break the
career of a headteacher. `` Ofsted. That is why the swoop by Liz on a
secondary schools has caused such concern. The same has happened in
Lambeth in south London, Norfolk Suffolk, other education 0
Lambeth in south London, Norfolk Suffolk, other education areas where
Ofsted for the education performance was under par. My understanding is
that these are the Nottingham schools that Ofsted inspected us on
a school that is yet to be identified. They include City
Council run schools plus academies. One senior Labour source has already
described Ofsted's inspections as a One senior Labour source has already
described Ofsted's inspections sort of bullying, but a city conservative
says the Ofsted inspections are long overdue.
In recent years the number of Nottingham schools have been under
the spotlight. In the recent GCSE league table, six out of the city's
14 state secondaries were in the bottom 6% of the country's schools.
With eight schools targeted in the latest inspections, the focus was on
the education of thousands of pupils who according to can `` Conservative
Councillor Eileen Morley are the real victims of the city's
struggling schools. The important people are the young children. If we
are not helping them to realise their full potential, we are failing
them. Some of the schools had already been
warned they need to improve. This school was worried `` told by
Department of Education officials last November but the `` that the
standard of pupils `` formance was unacceptably low on the school was
told it requires improvement. But tonight the education watchdog
has been criticised by unions in Nottingham.
Ofsted is supposed to be open and transparent, but we feel it is being
used more and more as a political tool. A lot of schools in Nottingham
have decided they want to remain with the local authority, which is
fine, but it does not suit the Government's policy that every
school should become an academy. Ofsted will not comment until the
results are published. But this councillor is under no illusion as
to what may be needed to finally drive up standards. If it takes
special measures to get the best education for our children, and I
think that actually has to happen. Sadly, but yes.
Councillor Eileen Morley. With me is the Nottingham East MP Chris Leslie.
Surely she's right ` given Nottingham's historic poor education
performance, you would expect Ofsted to spring on those schools to find
out 0 0 0 0 to spring on those schools to find
out why? Ofsted have a programme of visits
and they have to focus on schools standards, and parents and teachers
want the best for their children, we all want to focus on school
standards. But none of us have seen the Ofsted report, it is unfortunate
that it is leaking out, so we have to look at what they are saying and
look at the evidence. The Education Secretary is hardly going to be
sympathetic, because the other week he was accusing Labour local
authorities of turning a blind eye to underperforming schools. I hope
this will not become a party political football. The most
important thing is that we are all working together to focus on what is
`` it is that makes the difference to good quality teaching, is it a
resources issue... And leadership and what can be done. There in mind
though that some of those schools as Mac there in mind that some of these
schools are in the control of local authority, some are academies. But
if some of those city schools go into special measures, will that be
a short painfully `` short term pain for a long`term gain. I hope that we
can work with Ofsted to work `` get to the bottom of this, but some of
the Education Secretary's reforms, more unqualified teachers, I am not
sure that if the answer. We should get that Ofsted report
next month. Investigators believe a house fire
in Derbyshire which killed two women and two young brothers was caused by
faulty wiring. It happened on Williamthorpe Road in
North Wingfield a week ago today. Josie Leighton and her sons Tyler
Green, who 0 Josie Leighton and her sons Tyler
Green, who was nine, and older brother Jordan were killed in the
fire. Josie's friend Claire James also died. A seven`year`old girl who
escaped from the fire has now been discharged from hospital and is
being cared for by relatives. Fire officers are trying to
establish the cause of a large fire at a barn in Derbyshire which closed
a major road. Firefighters say the blaze in
Spondon involved 750 tonnes of hay. They were called to Dale Road
between Spondon and Ilkeston late last night. The road was closed for
a time, and firefighters didn't leave until this afternoon. Traffic
on the nearby A52 was also affected by drifting smoke.
Still to come ` is solar energy all it's cracked up to be?
Some householders, like Claire Marsh, believe salesmen are making
misleading claims about the financial benefits of solar panels.
Another complaint now about the Royal Bank of Scotland. A couple
have accused RBS of driving their family business to the brink of
collapse. At one point they had to borrow
?5,000 from relatives and friends to pay staff wages because the bank had
frozen their account. The bank's now holding its own inquiry into its
business methods. Mike O'Sullivan reports.
This fencing manufacturer employed 19 people two years ago, now just
two. The near collapse of the company is being blamed on their
treatment by the RBS bank. One low point, being as to `` being forced
to ask family and friends 0 point, being as to `` being forced
to ask family and friends to chip in to pay the wages. None of these men
are on high money, they have families to support and food bills,
and knowing you cannot pay the bills is so distressing.
Last night we reported claims that the RBS had seized a ?27 million
luxury flats complex from a Nottingham businessman after forcing
his company into administration. The Leicestershire company says the bank
suddenly froze its bank account after withdrawing from a financial
arrangement it had set up for them. Charging ?20,000 in fees.
The company is referring its allegations on to Lawrence
Tomlinson, the Government adviser who has claimed in a report that the
RBS put it and viable companies into default so that it could make more
profit. That whole issue is being referred to city investigators. We
just virtually collapsed overnight, we could not pay suppliers,
customers could not pay us could `` because we could not finish
contracts. It causes arguments, it has split the family, you wake up at
2am in the morning worrying about it. It is just with you 24 hours a
day. The RBS will not comment on
individual cases. It is holding its own inquiry as to how it has treated
its business customers. My, how is the story developing?
Well, this evening I've spoken to Kevin Riley who's the businessman
from Nottingham whose luxury apartments were seized by the RBS.
He's now saying he was a victim of the so`called GRG, part of the RBS
that's at the centre of the allegations unearthed in the
Tomlinson report, saying they destroyed good businesses. Mr
Riley's had a reply back from Mr Tomlinson, who he knows personally.
He's told Mr Riley this affair is getting bigger and bigger, and he's
due to see the boss of RBS next week. Now, I've also spoken to Mr
Tomlinson's people. They say he feels that a lot of business people
feel more comfortable going to him with their concerns because he
understands the issues. Certainly the family I spoke to tonight felt
their complaints about RBS have previously been ignored including by
the Financial Ombudsman, who wouldn't take a look at it because
of the size of the company. In the end, they gave up.
A man who's blind is facing a fine for exercising his guide dog, even
though they're usually exempt from most rules concerning our
four`legged friends. Rules ` yes. But not so`called
"control orders" which are being increasingly used by our councils.
From Newark in Nottinghamshire, Simon Hare reports. Gemma is a
working guide dog. Every day all walks her alongside this disused
well `` railway line. But here, dogs are meant to be kept on a lake.
There is nothing within walking distance that is can parable for
opportunities to exercise her, it is all I have got. `` can parable.
Yesterday a council official threatened him with a fine. I feel
permanently terrified. With these sort of Gestapo tactics which the
council are using. The council says on this occasion it
will not prosecute, but it stands by its policy. I think most people
perceive guide dogs as being some thing a person keeps on a lead. He
lets it roam free and throws balls for it 0
lets it roam free and throws balls for it into the lake. Anglers get
rather upset. Paul has received support from other
dog owners. It is a terrible state of affairs. I have seen this
gentleman for years down here, he is no trouble. These people are so
anti`dog. And to pick on a blind man! How sick can you get? I have so
many sleepless nights worrying about what will happen next. If I have to
pay the price for the rights of other guide dog owners, I do not see
what choice I have. The guide dog for the Blind `` the
guide dogs for the Blind Association say they are willing to work with
poll to find alternative venues nearby for Gemma to get the
exercise. `` to work with Paul. A high court judge has said he's
concerned that the children have been forgotten in a row over the
management of a Leicester junior school.
A judicial review is looking at whether the city council's decision
to replace the governors at Uplands Junior School is lawful. It's after
teachers went out on strike earlier this year in response to a decision
to get rid of a number of teaching assistants. A decision is expected
on Friday. Derbyshire's mobile library service
could be scrapped as part of the council's budget cutbacks.
The County Council says the service currently costs ?720,000 a year.
It's trying to save ?157 million from its budget over the next five
years. The council will discuss the matter next week, before people are
asked for their views on any possible changes.
Next ` selling energy from the sun. There's a warning tonight about the
behaviour of some solar panel salesmen who promise householders
far bigger financial returns than the systems can actually deliver.
Nottinghamshire County Council has revealed that this year they've had
a 97% increase in complaints about the possible mis`selling of solar
energy panels. James Roberson reports.
For Clare, the solar panels should be making her money, instead, she is
going to be paying to a finance company 100 pounds per month for the
next eight years. I feel very upset and very cheated.
This April, she and her husband were contacted by a firm which offered
them social panels on finance. `` solar panels. They said it would
generate ?150 per month, and the finance would be ?94. So that seems
to be a very good will for you? Yes, we would make ?40 per month. We
agreed and signed up straightaway for it.
The solar panel firm promised they would make over ?22,000 in nine
years, but since April they have made just over ?200. That rate will
not possibly cover the ?7,000 they have signed up for. Nottinghamshire
's County Council is backing the couple. They have seen an increase
in complaints this year about civil mis`selling of solar panels by
various companies. `` possible mis`selling. We are asking people to
ensure that they get free quotes, if they are unsure what they are being
told, to ring the consumer advice service and ask them to run through
everything. I thought I had sorted everything out, but these people can
go to the elderly and so the product to them and get them into severe
financial difficulties. Did you know that last year across
the planet 175 million tweets a day were sent? Most probably by Anne.
Tweeting allows us to tell total strangers what we had for Breakfast
` and what we really think of the boss.
And there's the problem. The etiquette of tweeting is still
evolving ` along with the legal consequences of telling the planet
exactly what you think. Perhaps no surprise, then, that one
of our local authorities is now issuing Twitter guidelines to its
councillors. Sumeer Kalyani reports. We can now send our thoughts
worldwide in an instant. The social media revolution has paved the way
for people to communicate at any time from any place to just about
anywhere. But with it comes a warning as well. There are students
who take it too far, and they step over that area and make a mistake
and say the wrong thing that could really damage their university
career and future employment. We can say just about anything we like at
the touch of a screen 0 say just about anything we like at
the touch of a screen via social media. Most of it is harmless, but
it is the "anything" that is getting people worried. I do not really
worry about it. I have never said anything I should not. I think some
people use it in a negative way. You read of other people `` other
people's statuses and think you will regret that.
This is what has prompted Leicestershire City Council ``
Leicester City Council to issue guidelines to its elected members. I
think 0 guidelines to its elected members. I
think Leicester, given we are a large local authority with a
significant number of members and given that the future direction is
that we are going to have more and more councillors using social media,
we felt it was the right time. Social media experts say it is
difficult for people to separate the public life from their private. With
Twitter or Facebook or any other social media tools, you just need to
be careful that whatever you publish if you like, you are putting into
the public domain, and I think that is where people can sometimes fall
foul. With more and more of us joining
social media networks, there is no real push to make people think about
what they share. Still to come ` it's a cracker.
How do you stop moles from digging underground? I don't know. Find out
later. Here is Natalie with the sport.
First, the players at Nottingham Forest say they would like to get
promotion this season for captain Chris Cohen. Chris suffered a bad
knee injury on Saturday and has been ruled out for the rest of the
campaign. Here's striker Simon Cox. Hopefully we can keep performing for
him and be up there towards the end of the season so that he can look at
how well we have been doing. Into League One and Notts County are
still bottom of the table, but manager Shaun Derry has won his
first point since taking the job three weeks ago.
The Magpies drew 1`1 at Bradford City last night. Bradford are in the
top six and Notts showed a lot of heart to get a point. Gary Lidl gave
them a first half lead. In the second Mark Yeates got the Bantams'
equaliser on 69 minutes. And even though Notts had a player sent off,
they hung on. Derry believes the fighting spirit his players showed
will have a lasting effect. In League Two Mansfield Town manager
Paul Cox says it is time his players show their true character and put an
end to their slide. Stags lost at Burton Albion last
night by a goal 2`0. That's a fifth straight defeat for Mansfield, who
are down to 17th in the table now. 2013 is going to be a year
Nottinghamshire's Chris Adcock will never forget. The badminton star
married childhood sweetheart Gabby White, and was reunited with her as
a mixed doubles pairing. And less than a year after being back
together on the court, they've climbed up the world rankings and at
the weekend won a major title in Hong Kong. Kirsty Edwards reports.
A perfect match on and off the court. Chris and Gabby are only the
second English player to win a prestigious super series title. The
pair are now back home and reunited with their other love in life. A
chance to let their achievement sink in. If somebody would have said you
are going to win a super series and then be up to five in the world, it
is something that we are really happy about. To finally do it, I am
still in disbelief. The wind comes just a couple of
months after the pair got married. There has barely been time to settle
into married life. Being a professional badminton player means
living out of a suitcase, with weeks on end away from home. Still got the
medal in the bag. There is not much time to archly unpack and spend more
than three or four nights at home. Dutch map `` actually unpack. But it
is well with it when you win and achieve your goals. We keep looking
at our trophies, and it is quite a surreal feelings. You are moving
house soon, will you have a big trophy Cabinet? That will be nice.
That would be ideal. We got a taste of success last week, and standing
on the top of the podium is a feeling that you cannot explain. If
we could get back that and what into the Commonwealth Games or the
Olympics with the same feeling, that would be a dream come true.
And finally from me, some very sad news. England's oldest surviving
test player and former Nottinghamshire cricket captain Reg
Simpson has died at the age of 93. Reg was one of the biggest sporting
stars in his day. He played 27 test matches for England as an opening
batsman, while in domestic cricket he scored more than 30,000 runs. His
career was disrupted by the war, where he was a pilot, and after his
playing days served the Nottinghamshire committee from for
37 years. Our thoughts are with his family tonight.
Do you groan at terrible cracker jokes every year? Well, they could
be getting better this Christmas because some have been written by
children here in the East 0 because some have been written by
children here in the East Midlands. Yes, pupils at a school in
Sutton`in`Ashfield in Nottinghamshire have had their
rib`ticklers accepted by a national chain of shops. Simon Ward's been to
see them for a bit of a laugh. How does Bob Marley like his
doughnuts? With jam in! The children at this school are hard
at work thinking of more funny lines. The jokes they have written
are now inside Wilkinson's crackers. How do you stop moles from digging
underground? Hide the spades. What you call fish with no eyes? `` Fsh!
. On Christmas morning when they open
their crackers, thousands of people will be reading their jokes. It is
really funny to see how many kids actually write jokes and stuff like
that. People are going to like them, because the children have worked
really, really hard to get different jokes. Why can't a card 0
really, really hard to get different jokes. Why can't a card playful all
`` look out for them in the future. In the meantime, they would just
like to say, `` have a Merry, Merry funny Christmas!
Why did the turkey cross the road? It was the chicken's day of!
High`pressure remains with us, tomorrow is generally drive but
there will be much of a expecting we will not have a sunrise like this.
The 0 will not have a sunrise like this.
The high pressure is sitting out to the west of us, it has been with us
since the weekend and looks to have `` stay with us through the weekend.
But cloud is increasing as we go through this evening. `` that cloud.
It might produce the odd spot of drizzle, but on the whole a dry
night. Where you get the clear spells, you might get a bit of fog
tomorrow morning. Temperatures holding up out `` underneath all
that cloud. But Ford may take its time to clear tomorrow morning, and
you will be lucky to see a few spells of brightness. Thursday
should be mostly dry, temperatures about what they should be for this
time of the year, a high of eight degrees. On Friday this cold front
will sink southwards. The winds will be increasing and turning
north`westerly. Calder feel once that pushes through, feeling a
little bit chilly. `` a colder feel.
Saturday is looking like the best day of the weekend.
We will be able to do our Christmas shopping!
I will be back with the late news. Join me then.