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The headlines tonight: and on BBC One we
An independent education commissioner to be appointed
by the Government to work with Birmingham City Council.
We've got the children of Birmingham to think about here and if we can do
this in a way where they get a proper education is maintained, that
is to the good. There will also be a review
into how Birmingham City Council is run, as a report finds an aggressive
Islamist agenda in some schools. A new way of testing heart drugs `
the Coventry University scientists behind a potentially life`saving
treatment. From Birmingham to Beijing `
the first flight to China takes off from the City, but when will
other long`haul destinations come? Chinese visitors enjoy the Vista,
they enjoyed Birmingham, and they spend a lot of money.
We take you into the tranquillity of some of the loveliest gardens
in the Midlands ` their location might just surprise you.
And another sun`drenched day in sweltering heat and humidity `
but just how hot was it today and how high are those temperatures
An independent education commissioner is to be appointed
by the Government to work with Birmingham City Council.
It follows the publication of the Clarke Review into
In his report, Peter Clarke says there was "an aggressive Islamist
agenda" to impose hard`line Muslim views in some Birmingham schools.
But he says that the city council was aware
of the issues for more than a year ` and "didn't do enough to stop it".
Today the Education Secretary confirmed that
as well the new education commissioner, there will be a review
Co`ordinated, deliberate and sustained ` those were the
words Peter Clarke chose to describe the behaviour of some govs and staff
The agressive Islamic ethos they pushed meant Friday prayers
and Arabic lessons ` but no music, no drama, no Christmas.
According to this former education troubleshooter, there were obvious
signs at the former Washwood Heath School as far back as 2001.
He recalls one particular governors' meeting.
This was at another level, really. You basically had white governors
sat on one side of the table, Muslim governors sat on the other, and some
of the Muslim governors were standing up and pointing their
fingers and making allegations of racism.
Birmingham City Council has admitted it was aware of trouble
Nothing was done for fear of being seen as Islamophobic.
The new Education Secretary's seeing to it that the council can
I have spoken to servile but raw and we have agreed that we will appoint
a new education Commissioner. `` Sir Albert Bore. I'm quite happy. I
think there are mistakes that have been made by Birmingham City Council
and the Department for Education. Nicky Morgan has said she won't
hesitate to use the full extent of her powers to intervene further if
there isn't sufficient progress. You could say that means that she
doesn't have much confidence in how you are running Birmingham's
schools. Come on, of course she would have to say that. Some of the
failings are not just the failings of the City Council but the
Department for Education as well. Next
Sir Bob Kerslake, the former head of the the civil
service, has been appointed to carry out a review of governance
His report is due at the end of the year.
The Education Secretary's also withdrawn funding at Oldknow
Academy, one of the schools caught up in the Trojan Horse allegations.
The principal ` who claimed she was forced out by hardliners in January
I feel that finally, somebody is believing in me and I was probably
the only voice and I didn't think anybody would believe in me and I
would just be another number, like all the previous head teachers. One
minute they're there and the next, they're gone.
The systems and accountability of all schools will now be
strengthened, the Fovernment says, because of what happened
The Trojan Horse letter may not have been real, but the furore it caused
means schools will now better withstand the threats of extremism.
Well, we asked repeatedly to speak to the
Education Secretary or a minister from the Department for Education
today ` but they were unable to make anyone available to be interviewed.
Sarah, what do we know about this new role of education Commissioner?
Nobody has been appointed yet. I asked Sir Albert bore if he knew and
he said it was yet to be decided but whoever is appointed will answer
directly to the Secretary of State for Education and the Chief
Executive Bob Birmingham City Council. Their job, briefly, will be
to look at the criticisms of these reports and the recommendations. I'm
looking at the Kershaw report and they are things like setting up a
task force to deal with complaints about school governors. It is about
establishing a position on how cultural issues should be worked
into the school curriculum is. There is a lot for them to look at. Nobody
has been appointed yet but I imagine it will not be too long before they
are. Ignoring the warnings `
swimmers still using Gullet Quarry near Malvern to cool off,
despite deaths there last summer. Scientists at Coventry University
have developed a new way of testing heart and cancer drugs
which it's hoped will save tens They've been able to replicate how
the human heart will react to treatments,
but under laboratory conditions. This means they'll be able to spot
potential problems with drugs, before they're ever tested
on patients. This is human heart tissue being
tested in a way it has never been tested before. It's the brainchild
of this doctor who has spent the last ten years of her life trying to
make the breakthrough. Scientists would usually be testing out
potential cancer and heart related drugs on animal tissue but this new
technique for the first time recreate the conditions of the heart
` anything from the impact of blood flow to mimicking the movement of
the heart. We're making drugs safer and for patients that have cancer
and are on chemotherapy, we have the potential to make the drug is a lot
safer and help them live longer, potentially, in the future. Helen's
work is already attracting attention. She is in talks with more
than 15 pharmaceutical companies across the world and her team are
relieved that all their hard work is finally paying off. I've been
working on the system for two or three years and it's very exciting
that they say it can but essentially saved many lives, because it can be
picked up before the drugs go into clinical trials. In order for the
team to carry out their research, they have to rely on patients who
have donated their hearts, which are transported from the local hospital,
but when they arrive the team have just minutes to start their tests.
Only yesterday we received a heart donation from a lady who had been
very poorly and had sadly passed away but very kindly donated her
organs for research. We wouldn't be able to do this research without
these donations and it's absolutely critical. We do need more to be able
to do the research we're doing. Getting more people to donate their
hearts could be the key to developing this research and Helen
is hoping she could help transform the way all cancer and heart drugs
are tested from now on through her work.
The first direct flight between China and Birmingham landed at the
Our Transport Correspondent Peter Plisner joins us now
So, a significant day ` but these flights are just during the summer.
Well, they are, but hopefully more will follow. This is the day that
passengers and airport bosses have been waiting for. The airport has
invested millions in extending its runway so that flights can go
further afield and today saw the first in a new breed of long haul
flights. Arriving from the southward originating from the East, touchdown
of the first direct passenger flight from China. After a bit of taxiing
off the runway, the airport's now traditional water cannon welcome.
There was another traditional welcome for passengers, in the shape
of a Chinese dragon as they came off the plane. Most of those arriving
today where tourists and even they realised how historic the flight
was. I wasn't really expecting a welcome ceremony like that! It's
very good. Very fresh. The arrival of this flight from China marks a
milestone for the airport because it is the first in the UK outside
London to have direct flights to China. When this flight takes off,
another milestone will be cast ` it will be the first to use the full
length of a new extended runway, completed a couple of months ago at
a cost of ?40 million. Hasn't just checking in for the flight to
Beijing. Tiananmen Square, the great Wall of China, Shanghai, so many
things. I can't wait to see them! I'm the same, really. It's a
completely different culture. So, how important our tourist links with
China? Enter the tourism minister Helen Grant, also at the airport.
Chinese tourism is very important. Chinese visitors come over here.
They enjoyed a Vista, they enjoyed Birmingham and they spend a lot of
money. And tourists here will spend money in China, too. The flight back
to Beijing took off from Birmingham this evening. There will be another
five flights like this during the summer and, hopefully, many more in
future. Joining me is a representative of
Birmingham airport. Six flights in the summer to China ` you haven't
really cracked it, have you, as far as long haul flights are concerned?
We always said this was a market test. We're seeing if the market
will stand and the Chinese response has been phenomenal. The flights
have oversold so it is a good market test. Let's see what happens. What
are the other must have destinations? There are plethora of
destinations we'd like. The market will tell us which ones. There is a
lot of competition with Burlington, Barcelona. It is a very packed
market. `` with Burlington. `` Berlin. Who knows what the market
might bring? And extended runway has menu flight path that been
complaints from residents. Instead of extending the runway, you have to
move the flight paths a little so that the departure routes start of
the different position. We're doing a trial to find the optimum route
and when we have empirical evidence we will make recommendations to the
CAA and keep the community informed. What is your message to residents?
We will work with the communities, as we've always done, to get the
right result for Birmingham airport and our communities. Hopefully more
destinations will follow in the future.
New figures show police officers in Staffordshire used Tasers more often
The research from the Independent Police Complaints Commission shows
Staffordshire Police had the highest number of Taser
incidents per officer in the UK last year ` 33 uses per 100 officers.
The Conservatives have chosen their candidate for next month's
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner election.
Former Dudley Council leader Les Jones will challenge
for the post, which was left vacant by the sudden death of Labour's
West Mercia Police are appealing for help in finding
a 52`year`old woman who's been missing from home for five days.
Eve Cullen was last seen in Hollywood in Worcestershire
She was wearing a mustard coloured T`shirt, green three`quarter length
People swimming in a disused quarry near Malvern
could now be prosecuted for ignoring warnings to stay out of the water.
It follows the deaths of two men who drowned within
Our reporter Ben Sidwell is at Gullet Quarry.
Ben, it has been a very warm day ` have there been many people swimming
there today? There has been a steady stream, to be honest, of people
coming here. Many have been met by the police who are warning of the
dangers and asking them not to go into the water. Many have heeded
that warning and not gone in water but some have. It isn't only the
risk of they're putting themselves in ` as you say, two deaths last
year, five in 19 years ` these people can also face criminal
charges. Police have said they are willing to take prosecutions on our
behalf. It is a breach of our bylaws to go in the water and the police
can therefore take prosecutions. They've said to us that if people
are in the water, we ask them to leave and they refuse, to give them
a call and they will come and speak to them. Why exactly is the water in
that quarry so dangerous? The temperature, really. It isn't
actually that deep ` about four metres ` but it is incredibly cold
and your body seizes up, stops working, and that's where the danger
of drowning is. The other problem is that it is so remote so it takes a
long time for the emergency services to get here. I've spoken to the air
ambulance and they say it is a problem. A lot of people drowned.
They estimate about 400 nationally every year. A lot of these would be
described by their friends as strong swimmers and in a lot of cases, the
drownings occur within a few metres of the bank. There are plenty of the
territory ` barbed wire and a lot of signs ` but, as you can see, there
are still people in the water, risking their lives and possibly
becoming one of the next death figures here at Gullet Quarry.
An independent education commissioner to be appointed
by the Government to work with Birmingham City Council.
Your detailed weather forecast to come shortly.
A home away from home ` our athletes settle into Glasgow
just a day before the start of the Commonwealth Games.
And the neat box hedges, immaculate herbaceous borders
and beautiful orchards ` it could only be Castle Bromwich.
Bob Jones, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner died earlier
He'd been a councillor since he was 21 and lived
His life was dedicated to public service ` and tomorrow
a celebration of his life will take place at the Civic Centre.
Ahead of the funeral, our special correspondent Peter
Wilson was invited to the family home to talk to Bob's widow Sarah.
Bob Jones was the first ever Police and Crime Commissioner for the West
Midlands, one of the most powerful elected roles in the country. But he
was also a big critic of that job and in the beginning of July, he
died in his sleep, aged just 59. His widow Sarah agreed to talk about the
man who shared her life and had worked so hard to bring policing
closer to the people of the West Midlands. He worked too hard. He
used to leave the house about 7am and take a bus and train and then he
would be back for 9pm at night if I was lucky, otherwise we used to meet
down the road at about 10pm. He had to meet me down there for 10pm. He
was a real politician and he also liked real ale. He did lots for the
campaign for real ales. He was on the board of executives for them for
18 years. He ran a bar and I ran a bar. It was good fun. There will be
a lot of people from that association on Wednesday. What do
you want the service to be all about on Wednesday? Of's achievements, and
to thank Bob for all the hard work you did and all the good things he's
done. I want people to acknowledge that. Not many people like
politicians but they seemed to like Bob. At least half the letters I've
had said, "Bob did such and such for me". I'm very grateful for that. But
is a terrific legacy to have. You managed to help people. I loved him
and I think a lot of other people did and we're very grateful for him.
He used to make me laugh. That's a real epitaph, isn't it? Make me
laugh, make me happy. That is a real plus.
Bob's widow Sarah Edmondson speaking to Peter Wilson, and the memorial
service is tomorrow at 1 o'clock at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
There are just over 24 hours to go until the opening ceremony
of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow ` and competitors
from all over the world have been arriving in the Athletes' Village.
They include more than 50 sportsmen and women from the Midlands,
many of them preparing to take part in their first major championships.
Tanya Arnold reports from the village.
Day by day, the village is filling up, each nation making it a home
from home. The athletes seem to be settling in well and each has their
own creature comforts. We haven't seen too much. We've just had time
to go around the village, in the food hall and settle into where
we're staying. It's absolutely amazing. It is on such a big scale.
All of the athletes are mingling. It's been a great experience. The
hub of the village is the dining hall. With around 4500 athletes plus
all the support staff, they estimate 20,000 meals per day will be served,
catering for all tastes. Free food and it isn't all just healthy so
that is the Catch`22. Some of the other players come in and think, "a
muffin ` it must be low`fat, " but they're not. These may be called the
friendly games but there is a healthy amount of rivalry between
each neighbour. Each nation has its own area so you leave Wales and then
to the lions den, which is the English camp. People think the
athletes all get on but if you want to head back through Wales if you
are from team England, they've set up a little tollbooth. The athletes
are here, the venues are ready. Millions will be watching as Glasgow
hosts the Commonwealth Games. As more and more small towns and
villages lose services, being able A project
in Shropshire is hoping to expand ` as it teaches older people how to
get to grips with the internet. Country living can be a delicate but
for some, isolation MBA daily reality. A scheme has been set up to
provide people from this area with basic intranet skills. The project
has been so successful that 40 people have been trained since last
year. This hotel provides free Wi`Fi. We feel the computer setup
will help overcome the loneliness. The Government has quite often said
loneliness is a big problem these days. Students have their own
tutors. If they have a specific interest, they can explore it. They
appreciate this flexible style of learning. I gained confidence by
coming here because I was frightened to press the buttons. I thought I
had to try and get with it. When I want to know anything or look in on
Facebook or play games, I come here. Some of the students have gone on to
become tutors. I would say to anybody who is terrified of
computers, just come and have a look and see how you get on and you will
probably amaze yourself how well you will get on. The organisers need
more volunteers so the product can grow. The next step, they say, is
training people in their own homes so they, too, can stay connected to
the outside world. And there are more details about the
project on our Facebook page. You've been with some very keen
gardeners! I have. It was a dazzling day. It is
an RHS partner garden in the suburbs of Birmingham, but it seems many
people don't know about it. It is been ongoing since the 1980s and if
you visit, I'm sure you will be thrilled with the result.
You don't often come across scenes like these in the middle of
Birmingham but when you do, you don't forget. This is part of a
Jacobean mansion dating back to the mid`17th century, where history meet
horticulture and people love it. I never knew it existed until I got
lost. I was wandering down the road of Castle Bromwich and I came upon
it. It was a wonderful surprise, very serendipitous. I used to play
here as a boy in the early 1960s and it has changed an awful lot! This is
my first time back. It is gobsmacking. This is our heritage
and what we want to preserve. We need to do so that these places
don't just as appear overnight. For the hedge Gardner, `` head gardener,
trying to restore the gardens has been a labour of love. This has a
maze based on the one at Hampton Court. It has a kitchen garden with
rare varieties of vegetables growing, for example Jerusalem
artichokes. We grow a range of unusual potatoes which you don't
normally see in the shops. Restoration began in the 1980s but
only recently gained momentum and Chris's supervision. With a pack of
secateurs and a hedge for `` head for water culture, he has managed to
piece together an example of how this once looked.
Chris has attempted to revive every corner of this ten acre site. This
is a restored 18th`century mirror pond. They few years ago, it was
neglected. We got a grant of ?10,000 and we have a fibreglass lining,
which will last many years, and it now attracts a wide variety of
wildlife. The grounds are invaluable to conservationists. For example,
for records dating back as far as the 12th century, Chris and his team
of volunteers have recreated this orchard of Heritage trees. To fund
their pursuits, they use the fruits of their labour, running seasonal
events like apple pressing and guided tours. Being here is like
stepping back in time but, for Chris, the past has shaped his
vision for the future. It is beautiful but too hot to be
gardening there today! There was a degree of uniformity across the
region, with most places in highs of 26. The low values are set to nudge
even higher in the days to come but not without interference. We have
hot and humid air feeding up from the near continent by the end of
tomorrow, through Thursday and Friday, which could set off some
thundery showers. But really, the main threat comes from this other
system that is moving down from the North West and it comes into contact
with unstable air. For the time being, we had through this evening
into tonight with the comfort of some warmth. Temperatures will take
some time to fall so even when they do, they will reach a minimum of 16
for most places so another stifling, sticky night. It is dry and clear to
begin with but we will see the end of that as we head into the morning
with cloud thickening up from the east. The winds are starting to pick
up slightly through the cause of tomorrow so we are seeing the cloud
pushed in from the North Sea but this is Jew in the morning so by the
afternoon, sunshine slices through it and we're into blue skies and
sizzling temperatures over soaring up to around 27 or possibly even
28, so even hotter than today. A plume of hot, humid air could set
off some thundery showers for the southeastern corner of the region
but they will die away and leave us with dry, sunny, hot conditions for
Friday. A train carrying the bodies of
victims of the Malaysian airliner has arrived at its destination
outside rebel territory. An independent education
commissioner to be appointed by the Government to work with
Birmingham City Council. That was the programme for today.
Albee back at Tenby with more on that story. `` I'll be back at