22/07/2014 Midlands Today


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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




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