10/04/2014 Midlands Today


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Good evening. Fresh allegathons tonight in the row about Opdration


Trojan Horse ` the alleged plot by radical Muslims to try to t`ke


control of schools in Birmingham. The City Council has now ordered a


recruitment freeze for school governors while it investig`tes the


claims. Tonight a Muslim le`der for the city said the controversy is


hugely damaging to communitx relations and risks putting back


decades of work improving education standards. Here's our speci`l


correspondent, Peter Wilson. Police staff this afternoon outside


the gates of one of twelve schools named as being under investhgation


by the City Council and Ofsted. Can we ask why you are outside today? It


is a usual thing. Satley school today at the centre of yet lore


allegations ` a parent with children there claims she was approached by


Tahir Alam the man named in the so called Trojan plot document. She


asked us to protect her identity. We had e`mails about the type of


training being provided. And how to question and how to go about


bringing about, in his eyes, positive change for Muslim children.


Tahir Alam spoke on radio rdfuting the claims. I am tired of trying to


respond to things which are completely anonymous...


For six weeks Birmingham has been riven with allegations of Islamic


takeovers influencing the ldadership of inner city schools. Now


Birmingham City Council havd frozen the recruitment of any new school


governors and say they've h`d a flood of new allegations to


investigate. Amongst the nohse and allegations and counter clahms, what


are our political leaders s`ying? There is a deafening silencd. The


council will not comment until its own investigations are complete The


chief executive has been quoted on an intranet site saying he believes


the Trojan horse conspiracy is, in fact, a hoax. The Bahu Trust a


respected Muslim charity and educational organisation consulted


in the past by government mhnisters tonight expressed their angdr over


what they see as a hugely d`maging controversy.


It is a very extreme knee jdrk reaction to what is a discrddited


document and, to my knowledge of history, we have never had `nything


like it. Many schools now face being taken


over by the educational watchdog Ofsted ` if real misdemeanotrs have


been done then actions need. There's a stark warning tonight abott the


impact this is already having on our communities. We are talking about


hundreds of thousands of chhldren. These communities can be targeted


heavy`handed knee jerk reactions from government and from st`te


authorities will take place against those communities on the basis of


unfounded allegations. The nervousness people feel, thd


cynicism they hold which stops them engaging, not only in school but in


other parts of society, will be reinforced by this action.


The investigations continue so too do rumours and yet more alldgations.


All concerned are now praying that hard evidence and the truth will


emerge in good time. We're joined now by a governor of a


school in Birmingham not affected by these allegations, Helen Br`din


What do you make of this recruitment freeze? It is going to be dhfficult


for many schools, the probldm is it is difficult to get people who want


to support schools and be p`rt of the school as a governor and this


means we cannot recruit at the moment with schools we all ready


have too few governors to assist. What puts people off?


I don't know. It is the timd and commitment. If you are a governor


you have to give time and commitment and support the school. Not


everybody can do that. This controversy about an alleged


Muslim plot will not help the image of government. `` of governors. Are


they tainted? I did think so. Overall, governors


are trying to do a job for their schools and communities and they


will continue to do so. This will not stop them.


The council are concerned. To introduce any sort of freezd in any


situation means some concerns are there but whether they are dealt


with by local schools is a latter for the council to deal with.


Why are governors so import`nt at a school?


The governors have the strategic direction of the school at heart,


they have to make sure the school is properly run, they ask the head and


teachers what they are doing and keep the educational standards for


children at a level that is outstanding if possible. Without


that sort of commitment and consideration by those people who


are often community minded, the schools would not have that support


and the openness. Thank you. Coming up later hn the


programme: As they prepare hn the spring sunshine, we'll be looking


ahead to Gloucestershire's chances ahead of their first match this


weekend. The mother of a 7`year`old girl from


Birmingham is calling for a chemical found in hundreds of everyd`y


products to be banned, after her daughter developed an allergy. The


ingredient known as MI and hs found in cosmetics and cleaning products.


Dermatologists believe as m`ny as one in five children could be


allergic to it. Holly Lewis reports. We have to look on the backs of


everything we buy ` including shampoo. Niamh McGroarty from Acocks


Green has to check everything she puts near her skin for the chemical


MI. If she comes into contact with it she quickly develops a p`inful


rash. It is really sore and itchy. How about when you eat? I couldn't


really open my mouth that mtch. Methylisothiazolinon or MI hs a


preservative used to stop products going mouldy and has been


increasingly used in cosmethcs and cleaning products since 2006. It is


in washing powder so when wd go on holiday to Spain she would have to


have her own sheets brought with me and I will have to check thd sun


cream because it is in suncream and after sun. And Niamh's school have


had to adapt too as MI is found in paints and glue. It is about looking


at resources, what do we have that Niamh can use that she can't use


which is a lot more than thd other way round. And ordering new things


for her. Dermatologists havd expressed concern about the growing


number of patients with the allergy. There's been a trend of increase in


those patients we have seen coming in with allergies to MI. So, this


has been between the years 2000 and more recently a doubling or triplet


of the amount of patients. `` tripling.


The European Commission has recently published guidelines saying all


products which stay on the skin like moisturiser or suncream must be MI


free. The amount in other products should be reduced. Most


manufacturers have agreed to this but the reformulation process will


take time and it will be a while before they are freely available.


But Sheila says only an outright ban will help Niamh and other stfferers


of this increasingly common allergy. Manufacturers, charities and media


companies in the Midlands h`ve won a share of ?31 million in govdrnment


funds to help create new jobs. Luxury car maker Aston Marthn is


among eight companies who h`ve secured funding from the Regional


Growth Fund. The others include newspaper publishers Trinitx Mirror


Midlands and the charity Sense International which supports


deaf`blind people. People objecting to the proposed HS2 railway line


will be able to petition ag`inst the scheme formally from the 29th April.


The government's announced that those affected by Phase One of the


line from London to Birmingham will have until the 23rd May to submit


their petitions. Police havd released images of a man thdy're


trying to trace after a wom`n was stabbed in the back with a needle


and syringe in Sandwell. The attack happened outside a bakery


on Blackheath High Street on the 26th February. Officers say the


woman was left distressed and had the anxiety of weeks of tests to


make sure she hadn't sufferdd any lasting effects from the assault.


Ambitious plans have gone on display for a new university for Hereford.


The council's given its backing to a scheme which its supporters claim


would transform the local economy and help create jobs as well as


boosting tourism. Links are being forged with universities abroad


although as yet there's no firm funding in place. Giles Latcham


reports. What would make a difference in 2020... Students and


sixth form college students coming up with ways of improving lhfe in


Herefordshire and the big idea. My favourite was the universitx. I


lived at home and commute so the fact they are building Hereford


university would have benefhted me. There would be more trade and boost


the economy. Part of the unhversity would be sited here south of


Hereford. It would cater for 50 0 students and supporters say it would


generate ?77 million a year for the economy. This will be developed for


new businesses. The woman ldading the project says it is an


opportunity to equip Hereford with science and engineering skills and


changed the face of the economy We will be teaching science and


engineering subjects in a w`y that focuses on global employability so


something small, specialised, unique to Hereford but also relevant to the


county, the country and the world. There would be no campus, classes


and lectures taking place in buildings around the city. The


council is considering offering up empty promises of its own to project


it hopes will drive up standards across the board.


We have found us up drifting below the average by 5% at GCSE and we


have to close the gap. The university, what a great opportunity


to say to you people have the ambition and we can deliver it for


you on the doorstep. The hunt is on for funding from


government and foreign investors and the business community. We have


economic challenges in the city and demographic challenges with the loss


of youngsters and by attracting and retaining them it would change the


economy of the city dramatically. It is far from side and sealed but


there was no fault in the albition to unroll the first students in just


over three years' time. One of the project's long term supportdrs is


the Conservative MP for Herdford and South Herefordshire, Jesse Norman. I


spoke to him earlier today to find out how likely he thought it was


that the new university would actually become a reality.


I hope better than 50`50. It is early days. There's a tremendous


body of support in Herefordshire for it and the council have been to


refit coming on side to support it. We had a meeting with the mhnister


last week and he is supporthve. I am hopeful it is looking good. Where


will the money come from? The interesting thing about the change


in tuition fees is that it leans these institutions are more self


financing that they would h`ve been when you are waiting for a piece of


government hand`out. That is a potential source of revenue and


what's interesting is it is looking closely at how you can deliver


better education at lower price points. It has had a lot of interest


and support from other univdrsities around the country. That's because


they can see there is something interesting going on in the way you


tie together online, off`line, expert teaching and concerndd for


the whole person and basic curriculum. It is an interesting set


of ideas. How attractive is it to students


coming to a comparatively slall city with a smaller reputation?


I think there will be a lot of interest from local people `nd from


people in the marshes because petrol prices are high and people `re not


going away to study in the way they were. It is also true that there


will be people who say it is the cathedral city, lots of beattiful


things happening, new market developments opening at the moment


and the effect the Herefordshire are potentially magnificent bec`use it


is a real boost to the economy locally at it addresses the


demographic issue of an agehng population which we have struggled


with. Thank you. This is our top story


tonight: Claims parents werd asked to promote "Islamic values" in a


school at the centre of an investigation into an allegdd plot.


Shefali will be here soon whth your detailed weather forecast to come


shortly. Join me on the can`ls of Birmingham as they worked to clear


decades of rubbish from the water. Preparations are underway in


Stratford upon Avon and Covdntry ahead of the official state visit


tomorrow of the Irish President In Coventry, Michael Higgins whll visit


the cathedral before a lunch reception with the city's Lord


Mayor. One of Coventry's best known Irishman is broadcaster Bob Brolly


and he's been testing the w`ter before the big event.


It's an exciting for these Coventry Irish Dancers ` they'll be


performing for the Irish prdsident at the city's Guildhall tomorrow but


for now it's all about making sure it goes smoothly. The president s


already received the grandest of receptions with this banquet at


Windsor Castle but in Coventry he'll meet the real grassroots


communities. Mary McHugh's parents came over in the '60s. She's now an


accomplished dance instructor. Are they nervous? Probably. As nervous


as you? Yes, I am more nervous but they will be fine. They will enjoy


it. It's a great opportunitx for the parents as well to see the children


dance and great for the citx. His visit will also take in Str`tford


where he'll tour the RSC and watch a performance before visiting


Shakespeare's birthplace. The pinnacle of his visit to thhs area


will be here in the ruins of the old Cathedral ` it's hoped he'll take


with him Coventry's international message of peace and


reconciliation.. What this place stands for is a recognition of the


things that go wrong, we don't deny those. He talked about thosd all


ready, movingly. Then that hs never the end of the story so we hope we


will be encouraged for peacd and reconciliation back in Irel`nd.


Meanwhile at another venue traditional Irish venue mushcians


have also been preparing ` they too will perform for the Presiddnt. It


is a proud moment. She has lived here for 60 `` 56 years. It is


amazing to see, where can I get a glimpse of him? If they want to come


to the steps of the cathedr`l from 12:30pm they will be given flags to


wave as the president arrivds. The whole community can come and see


from there. Ready! Off you go! The young one's may well be wondering


what all the fuss is about ` but when they're a little older they'll


probably realise they were here when history was being made. And there'll


be much more about the Irish President's visit to the region on


BBC Coventry and Warwickshire from six tomorrow morning. The cricket


season's underway. Last week we looked at the prospects of


Warwickshire and Worcestershire Dan's here now to tell us how


Gloucestershire are trying to rebuild.


Yes, on and off the pitch. They were a disappointment in four dax, one


day and Twenty20 cricket last season. But captain Michael Klinger


is confident a young squad will perform much better this sulmer


Everyone loves a good crickdt tea. And at Gloucestershire the breakfast


isn't bad either. But the prospect of swapping glassware for shlverware


look distant. It's ten years since Gloucestershire's last trophy. Last


season they were sixth in dhvision two of the county championship `


that's bottom but three. And they didn't reach the knockout stages in


either one day or Twenty20 cricket. But optimism remains. I would be


disappointed if art ability in short format doesn't make the fin`l. I


think as we saw with the improvements last year, there is a


good chance we can press for top positions. And there is a plan. The


development of their Bristol headquarters continues after the new


pavilion was completed last August. Then they can build the teal. It


should ensure international is coming here for years to cole. That


provides revenue to reinvest. Given this group can stay together for


three or four or five years, we will develop a strong team. The good


thing is they're coming out of the academy, the majority and their own


developer programme and it hs about resources, financially to bd able to


keep them here otherwise we would lose them.


Gloucestershire have plenty of room to improve. But they're detdrmined


to start climbing the tables. It has been a staggered start. Yes.


So Gloucester start at home to Hampshire, then Warwickshird are at


home to Sussex on Sunday. The big names are there. Worcestershire


already under way ` Captain Daryl Mitchell scored 172 not out in their


opening drawn match at Hampshire. He is flying. This weekend thex are at


home to Kent. Remarkable thdy have been playing cricket and a few weeks


ago there was eight foot of water. I was there. Remarkable. Thdre is


sand at one end but they should be OK.


Let's talk about football. It is all about bringing thd


campaign to bring Coventry City back to Coventry. The supporters say they


might stand in the elections. They are trying to force all parties


involved to get some way in the dispute. The club moved out in the


summer and have been at Northampton ever since. OK, thank you. Now


London might be the capital of Commerce but Birmingham's the


capital when it comes to canals The Canal and River Trust which is


now responsible for their upkeep looks after more than hundrdd miles


of them around here, ` one of the most intricate networks anywhere in


the world. But it all needs constant attention if it's to be kept running


smoothly ` which is why a one million pounds dredging project is


now nearing completion. Ben Sidwell reports.


Clearing away decades of rubbish. From bricks to bottles, shopping


trollies to sofas all kinds of waste has been thrown in Birmingh`m canals


over the years. Let's show xou how big a problem it is. Mike whll get


us to the tow path. Let's go for it. Even though it has a shallow bottom,


as you can see, it is impossible. Which is why the Canal River Trust


have spent the last four ye`rs and a million pounds making the chty's


waterways navigable again. Birmingham is the canal caphtal of


the UK, people flock to the centre so they have to get there and if we


don't dredge, the boats can't get past. I don't want to imagine a


canal without boats. It brings the canal to life.


But there's an added problel and cost here in Birmingham. All the


waste removed has been cont`minated by pollution from the city, meaning


it can only be disposed of `t a specialist site around 100 liles


away. It is a menace becausd sometimes he struggled to gdt


moving. You can be stuck and getting out my be quite a job.


Tony and Linda Sweeby, from Yorkshire, are just two of the


thousands of canal tourists who ll benefit from the clear up. There is


a lot of rubbish, sofas, shopping trolleys and a lots of plastic


bottles. If they clear that, it will be more pleasant and it is `n


attraction for tourists. The Canal River Trust say, due to


cost, this round of dredging has only scraped the surface of the


problem, with three quarters of the rubbish still below the watdr.


However, for now at least, ht's a much clearer route for any barges


heading to Brum. Outdoors whth the cricket, outdoors with the canals `


is the weather up to scratch for it? Here's Shefali.


I think so. Hitting four rather than six! Some decent weather on the way,


any rain heading our way will be coming through in the night. A


couple of friends over the next few days, this one tonight and the next


one flicking through on Sattrday. On either side of the rain, thd skies


might be clear and because of that we could get a of frost, perhaps a


widespread frost with ground frost. Friday night could see that.


Gardeners and farmers should be aware. Tonight, more cloud `fter


clear skies because the first of these weather front pushing down


moving south eastwards. Light patchy rain, high pressure is dominating


killing off most of the rain. After that, we are back to clear skies,


patchy cloud and under clear skies, patchy mist and fog. It has been a


theme running through this week Temperatures only down to sdven or


eight Celsius. We will narrowly avoid a frost tonight. A murky


start, it will clear quicklx as the sun gets to work. Through the


morning, we are looking at Sunshine taking temperatures up to 14


Celsius, perhaps 15. That is coupled with a light northerly breeze and


that is a cooler direction. The afternoon, some cloud, we start with


predominantly clear skies tomorrow night because we haven't got any


friends crossing us but temperatures falling to about four Celsits.


Perhaps low in the countryshde. Frost is an issue tomorrow night and


more widespread than recently. So, the weekend, it looks cloudx to


start with on Saturday, Sunday is the best day of the weekend. Lots of


sunshine. Tonight's headlines from thd BBC


Nigel Evans, the former Deptty Speaker of the Commons, is found not


guilty of rape and eight other sex abuse charges. Bright, beautiful and


innocent ` the Hillsborough inquest hears a tribute from the parents of


Sarah and Victoria Hicks. Claims parents were asked to promote


'Islamic values' in a school at the centre of an investigation hnto an


alleged plot. And calls for a chemical fotnd in


hundreds of everyday products to be banned after a schoolgirl ddveloped


an allergy. A family owned firm features in the


new series tonight hosted bx Digby Jones starting on BBC Two tonight.


The Birmingham `based Guru spent months working with the owndrs of


Hereford furniture who have three local shops and employs 40 people.


That was the Midlands Today. Another update in our late bulletin at ten `


we'll be live in Coventry ahead of the Irish President's visit


tomorrow. Have a good evening. Bye for now.


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