Ministers accused of letting nurseries 'wither on vine'
They are a hugely successful part of our school system - yet the government has been accused of letting local education authority nursery schools "wither on the vine".
More than 60 have closed over the last decade, and a recent survey by an early years campaign group suggested only 12% of the 418 state-funded nurseries that survive were optimistic about their future.
And yet the evidence suggests they are the highest-achieving part of England's education system.
In 96% of cases inspectors found them to be either good or outstanding.
In fact, 57% of those nursery schools got that top outstanding rating, compared to just 17% of primary schools.
Northern England waits for Scottish independence vote
With the result on a knife-edge, the people of the North East and Cumbria are waking up to the possibility that what may have seemed a symbolic border with Scotland could soon become a real one.
The border counties of England have plenty in common with their northern neighbours.
Breast cancer drug stand-off "not helping patients"
The decision that breast cancer drug Kadcyla wouldn't be available routinely on the NHS understandably hit the headlines on TV, radio and in the press.
It seemed to pitch drug giant Roche against the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the group which decides what treatments the health service can afford.
Can Osborne deliver on northern powerhouse pledge?
George Osborne has spoken about creating a northern powerhouse in the region's towns and cities.
At the heart of that was the idea of a new HS3 high speed rail link between Leeds and Manchester.
The strange death of the Conservative working vote
On the face of it, Seaham is not a town where you'd expect to find many Tories.
This former mining community in County Durham has had Labour MPs for almost a century now. It's in one of the party's safest seats.
European Commissioner warning to North East on EU exit
A European Union commissioner has warned that if the UK were to leave the EU, the North East of England could be hit harder than other parts of the country.
Regional policy commissioner Johannes Hahn told BBC's Sunday Politics that less developed regions like the North East would be likely to suffer more if Britain was outside the EU.
UKIP confident of winning first North East Euro-seat
With the smallest electorate and only three seats, the North East of England's Euro-constituency has always been a tough place for anyone other than the main Westminster political parties.
But it's a measure of UKIP's progress in the last few years that they are privately confident of taking one of those seats.
Miners' Strike: Calls for amnesty and inquiry
Florence Anderson had always had respect for the law and the police.
But in 1985, she was convicted of threatening behaviour while on a picket line at Eppleton in County Durham during the Miners' Strike.
North East missing out on TV and film production money
On the face of it this has been a good week for television in the North East of England.
BBC children's programme The Dumping Ground won a Royal Television Society award, beating fellow nominee Wolfblood. Both are shot entirely in the North East.
Businessman in drive to cut north's youth unemployment
Bill Marley has spent more than 30 years working in manufacturing.
But his latest venture is less about making money and more about changing lives.