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   Inside Out - West Midlands: Monday March 6, 2006

Animal Rescue

Animal rescue interview
Animal rescue - caring for stricken animals

Rescue centres run by volunteers have long cared for stricken animals across the Midlands.

But while these dedicated animal-lovers may have the best of intentions, are many of them actually doing more harm than good?

This is the question posed by TV vet Mark Evans as he visits some of the region's animal sanctuaries ahead of new regulations aimed at improving standards at rescue centres.

Warwickshire-born Mark argues that injured creatures, such as wild birds, often no longer have any quality of life – and should be put down.

He believes volunteers’ decisions are often made with the heart, not the head, and when it comes to the welfare of animals, you sometimes have to be cruel to be kind.

However, those who run the sanctuaries defend their actions.

They say they are helping injured animals survive and are providing a safe environment for these creatures to live out the rest of their lives.

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The Real Barnes Wallis

Mary Stopes-Roe
Dambuster's daughter - Mary Stopes-Roe

Barnes Wallis is best remembered as the man who invented the bouncing bomb.

His wartime exploits were immortalised in the 1950s movie classic The Dam Busters.

But there was so much more to Wallis than the dramatic dam raids of 1943.

His daughter Mary Stopes-Roe has been delving into hundreds of unpublished letters and documents stored in the attic of her Birmingham home in a bid to reveal the real Barnes Wallis.

She meets Inside Out’s Jess Whittaker to tell the untold story of one of Britain’s best-known, but little understood, war heroes.

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Eleven-plus exams

Joe Prentis
Coping with exam stress - Joe Prentis

Demand is high for a place at one of England’s prestigious grammar schools.

And in the West Midlands, where there is a large concentration of these elite state-funded schools, competition can be fierce.

This demand, fuelled by fears about the falling standard of comprehensive school education, means the pressure on children to pass the 11-plus entrance exam is huge.

Inside Out spends six months with 10-year-old Joe Prentis, from Birmingham, as he prepares for, and sits, the exam which could win him a place at one of the city’s King Edward schools.

We also meet the father who considered paying £5,000 for a copy of an exam paper his daughter was due to sit, and the 11-plus tutor who is coaching children as young as six.

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