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Schools funding news welcomed

Seven councils in the West Midlands are among a group of 42 across the country campaigning for fairer funding in schools.

The F40 group includes some of the lowest funded local authorities in England and says it wants "fairness and equal opportunities in education for all children, regardless of where they live".

Graphic
BBC

The F40 group includes:

  • Cheshire East Council
  • Herefordshire Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Solhull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Staffordshire County Council
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Worcestershire County Council

Responding to today's news, Shropshire Council said it was "generally pleased with the settlement" and acknowledged it came at a time when schools "have been experiencing challenges in balancing their budgets".

“Shropshire’s schools have not been well funded and so we would hope this is a fairer settlement in relative funding terms with those schools in other areas, who have historically attracted higher levels of funding per pupil," Ed Potter, cabinet member for children’s services, said.

The F40 group has previously said while it recognised that those schools with pupils with higher additional needs should receive more funding, "the way this is applied across the country is inconsistent and unfair".

Graphic
BBC

West Midlands to get an extra £175m for schools

Schools in the West Midlands will receive an extra £175m over the next three years, but it is the second-lowest increase in funding per-pupil in the country.

The figures are laid out in the government's provisional spending plans and the West Midlands will see an average increase of 3.6% per pupil by 2020-21.

Only London is expected to see a lower per-pupil increase with 3.2%.

Cash
Getty Images

The spending plans will increase the total budget for the region to £3.97bn by 2020-21.

The prime minister has promised to boost spending in UK schools by £14bn over the coming three financial years.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a windy day with showery rain and highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a breezy night with some showers and lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Parkinson's sufferers 'failed by hospital trust'

BBC Shropshire

People living with Parkinson's disease are being let down in Shropshire, according to a charity.

Since June 2018, just one specialist nurse has employed by Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust to help care for more than 1,100 patients with the condition.

"People living with Parkinson's have been left without support for far, far too long," Parkinson's UK campaign manager Jack Grant said.

"All what we're asking now is for the trust to do the bare minimum."

Protesters
Parkinson's UK

The charity funded the service for an initial two years, and said the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust made a commitment to continue paying for the second post when that ended.

Parkinson's UK says specialist nurses are "crucial" to supporting patients and their families, including monitoring and altering medication, and providing advice.

Shropshire's neurology service has been closed to new referrals since 2017, in part because a national shortage of neurologists.

In response, the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust says it's working closely with commissioners on a new service model and there's a meeting this month with a potential provider for Parkinson's services.

Shropshire's clinical commissioning groups says it pays for the neurology services and it's up to the hospital trust to provide the necessary staff to deliver it.

People who cannot talk to a nurse will have to go and talk to a consultant or if they reach crisis point they will have to go into hospital. And both those things cost far, far more money than hiring a Parkinson's nurse."

Jack GrantParkinson's UK

Charity rugby match for Oscar Saxelby-Lee

West Mercia Police beat Warwickshire Police by 45-5 in last night's charity rugby match at Sixways.

Oscar Saxelby-Lee
Family handout

A crowd of just over 2,000 turned up to help raise money for the Oscar Saxelby-Lee appeal.

The five-year-old from Worcester, who's battling an aggressive form of leukemia, is currently having more tests to see whether he's well enough to travel to Singapore for potentially life-saving treatment

An appeal has raised almost £563,000.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a bright start it will be a cloudy day with some showers and highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Fire authority backs closer alliance

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Shropshire's fire authority has voted in favour of a closer alliance with the Hereford and Worcester Fire Service.

The two fire services have been sharing fire control, risk management and computer systems for the past year, but plan to share procurement in the future.

Fire engine door
BBC

Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority will discuss the proposal when it meets next Tuesday.

Shropshire's fire authority wanted to stress it didn't see this as a merger.

Dry night for the West Midlands

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

We're in for a dry night in the West Midlands and it'll be quite breezy:

Alex Hamilton

Get a latest forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Library services being reviewed again

The increase in the number of visitors to Shropshire's libraries comes as Shropshire Council is considering making further changes to the way they're run.

Two years ago, the local authority announced a five-year plan, which grouped library services into three tiers, based on their size, but it now says a "refreshed strategy" is needed, "following a period of significant change".

Shrewsbury library
Shropshire Council

People are being asked what they think the priorities should be for the library service, with the consultation period due to end on 8 November.

Liberal Democrat councillor Andy Boddington has previously said he feared it could spell the end of the mobile library service.

The council said the increase in visitor numbers, up by 15,000 when comparing the first quarter of this year with the first quarter of last year, are partly explained by the launch of new e-book services.

LDRS: Bronze Age site to be protected as homes planned

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Here are three of the stories covered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service in Shropshire today:

  • There are plans for 150 homes next to the Meole Brace retail park in Shrewsbury, which will preserve a late Neolithic to early Bronze Age double ring ditch, found there by archaeologists.
  • An extra 12,000 people visited Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn in the first quarter of this year and there were 15,000 more visits to Shropshire's libraries.
  • Shropshire Council has 1,000 fewer full-time employees compared with six years ago.

MP wants hospital funding withheld until A&E promises made

The MP for Telford has said the government shouldn't hand over the money to reorganise hospital care in the county unless there's a commitment for a full accident and emergency department at the Princess Royal Hospital.

And she said it must be open 24 hours a day and staffed by consultants.

Under plans approved by the health secretary last week, the hospital would see its A&E replaced by what's being called an A&E local - but it hasn't yet been said what that means, how it will be staffed and how many hours it will be open.

A&E
BBC

The Future Fit plans already pledge a 24-hour urgent care centre for Telford, but not staffed by consultants.

The plans, involve making Shrewsbury the main centre for emergency medicine and moving specialist women and children's services there, from their current base in Telford.

The government said in March 2018 it would set aside £312m for the changes.

Police force hopes to get more recruitment funding

West Mercia Police is expecting the Home Office will announce funding for more officers, on top of the extra 93 the force has been allocated today.

Last month, West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said he hoped to eventually get between 300 and 360 as a result of a pledge by the chancellor of £750m to fund 20,000 police officers across the UK.

John Campion
West Mercia PCC

Sajid Javid's promise included £45m to hire 2,000 police by March next year and the West Mercia PCC's office said these extra 93 officers were seen as part of that first tranche of spending.

It hopes further announcements will bring it closer to that aim of 300-360 extra officers.

Last autumn, West Mercia Police announced it was recruiting an extra 100 officers and in February it confirmed it would hire another 115 on top of that.

All 215 of those recruits should have started work by December this year.

Fire services could form alliance

BBC Shropshire

Plans for two fire services to enter a formal alliance are going to be discussed later.

Sign for Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
BBC

Shropshire's fire brigade has had a loose partnership with their neighbours in Herefordshire and Worcestershire since autumn last year.

It's so far focused on IT resource-sharing as well as risk management planning.

Now, Shropshire's fire authority's being asked to approve a draft agreement to formalise the arrangement and commit both services to closer collaboration in the future.

The Hereford and Worcester fire authority is due to meet to discuss the proposals later this month.

New officer targets set for police forces

BBC Midlands Today

Police forces across the West Midlands will be able to recruit 590 new officers in the first year of a government pledge to hire an extra 20,000 by 2022.

Police cars
BBC

The Home Office has set out recruitment targets for the first year with West Midlands Police given the biggest of 366.

Warwickshire will be able to hire an extra 41, Staffordshire 90 and West Mercia 93.

Home Office figures show that forces in England and Wales lost 20,564 officers between March 2010 and March 2019.

Boris Johnson pledged the extra 20,000 officers earlier this year although the College of Policing at the time warned of "logistical challenges", partly because of concerns of a lack of instructors for training.

A breezy day ahead

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a damp start in places, today should stay mainly dry but breezy.

Alex Hamilton

You can keep up-to-date with the latest weather forecast for your area at any other time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It should be a mainly dry night with the odd shower and lows of 11C (52F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Risk of flooding remains a week after heavy rain

A week after heavy rain led to flooding across the West Midlands, the Environment Agency still has flood alerts in place in Shropshire and Staffordshire.

It says water levels are falling but warns people to be careful on land around the rivers Vyrnwy, Severn, Sow, Penk and Trent.

Wet field
Peter Steggles

The Environment Agency also warned that flooding could worsen with more rain forecast in the next few days.

Force failing to record nearly one in 10 reported crimes

West Mercia Police has been criticised for failing to record more than 8,900 of the crimes reported to it each year.

That figure amounts to just under 10% of the crimes reported to the force going unrecorded, a study by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services says.

Police car
BBC

The force was also found to be failing to record more than 4,200 reports of violent crime.

Inspectors have told West Mercia to immediately improve how it records violent crimes, particularly harassment, stalking, domestic abuse, coercive and controlling behaviour and modern slavery.

The force says it accepts that it still has more work to do and recognises it doesn’t always make the correct crime-recording decisions.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a fine start blustery showers will move in with highs of 10C (50F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Rain will gradually clear leaving a dry night with lows of 12C (54F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

End of police alliance 'could cost millions'

BBC Shropshire

The breaking up of an alliance between two police forces could end up costing taxpayers millions of pounds, according to one of the men who helped set it up.

Police car for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police forces
BBC

The forces have been sharing services since 2012, but West Mercia Police wants to pull out, saying it is subsidising Warwickshire Police, which it denies.

The alliance was due to end tomorrow, but Warwickshire Police sought Home Office intervention, saying it had not had enough time to split services.

Over the weekend, the Home Office told the pair to stay in the alliance for three more months to ensure vital services are maintained.

Barrie Sheldon was deputy police and crime commissioner for West Mercia for four years from 2012.

There's going to be hundreds of thousands of pounds, if not millions, spent on legal fees and the potential of millions of pounds being paid out to put Warwickshire Police back into a state where they can get back to becoming a viable force."

Barrie SheldonFormer deputy police and crime commissioner, West Mercia Police

Cash stolen in knife-point robbery

Allen Cook

BBC News

A supermarket's been robbed at knife-point in a Shropshire village.

The Co-op in Highley
Google

A man went into the Co-op on High Street, Highley, south of Bridgnorth, last night and threatened staff, West Mercia Police said.

He then ran off with cash.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a cloudy start rain will spread from the west leading to a wet and windy afternoon with highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weekend weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It should be a dry night with some clear intervals and lows of 9C (48F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Police forces split: Warwickshire 'saddened' over Home Office request

Warwickshire Police said it was "saddened" to request the Home Office step in to help agree its break-up plans with the West Mercia force.

The two forces have been in talks since the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion and Chief Constable Anthony Bangham announced they wanted to end their strategic alliance by 8 October.

West Mercia said negotiations have now ended without an agreement.

Police officers
PA Media

The Warwickshire force has now written to the government and asked it to require West Mercia to continue to collaborate with them "across joint business areas" past the split deadline.

A joint statement from Chief Constable Martin Jelley and Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: "We are saddened that it should have ever been necessary to make this request to the Home Secretary.

"Throughout the last 12 months of negotiations with West Mercia, we have remained focused on achieving an orderly separation which protects the interests of our communities and our workforce.

"We have made multiple offers to this effect, which have been refused on each occasion by West Mercia."

The Home Office has been approached for a comment.

Flooding 'could worsen over the weekend'

The Environment Agency says flooding across the West Midlands could worsen this weekend, with more heavy ran expected.

It still has two flood warnings in Shropshire and a number of flood alerts across Shropshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Staffordshire.

River Severn
WanderLass

The agency said river levels have been slowly falling since the rain earlier this week, but they remain high.

Hospital staff offered vouchers to take flu jab

Hospital staff are being offered vouchers as an incentive to have the flu vaccination jab this winter.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust is trying to persuade at least 90% of its staff to have the injection, after a quarter of frontline staff didn't take up the free jab last year.

Flu jab
Getty Images

That was an improvement on previous years, but the trust is looking for a better take-up.

A report said the main reason for opting out was that "staff were concerned about the possible side effects of the vaccine", followed by needle phobia.

The vouchers will give the staff £3 to spend in the hospital cafe, and former hospitals chief executive David Sandbach offered to donate a bottle of champagne if the hospitals also wanted to hold a raffle.

BreakingHome Office could intervene in police break-up row

The Home Office might have to step in help the West Mercia and Warwickshire police forces agree their break-up plans.

The two forces have been in talks since the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion and the Chief Constable, Anthony Bangham, announced they wanted to end their strategic alliance. West Mercia said negotiations have now ended without an agreement.

Police logos
BBC

In a statement, the West Mercia force said: "We now anticipate intervention from the Home Office in the coming days to allow further time for Warwickshire to transition to a standalone model."

The force said it also understands a High Court injunction is being applied for by Warwickshire to try to prevent the termination of the current alliance arrangements.

"We cannot simply accept the continuation of the current arrangement, which sees West Mercia significantly subsidising a neighbouring force," the statement added.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a cloudy day with some rain and highs of 15C (59F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Hospital boss says its unclear what will replace A&E

The chair of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust has told a meeting it's not clear what will replace Telford's accident and emergency department when services are reorganised at the two hospitals.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has backed plans which would involve a so-called "A&E Local" in its place, but Ben Reid said "we don’t know what that means at the moment".

A&E
SATH

Mr Reid went on to say it's unclear if consultants will be based there, but added conversations were taking place to get a clearer picture and a full business plan would be submitted soon.

National Poetry Day: Shrewsbury poet recounts tales of elephants
Shrewsbury poet Jean Atkin remembers unusual animal visitors to Shropshire.

Flood warnings remain but river levels falling

Three flood warnings remain in Shropshire, but the Environment Agency says river levels have peaked now and are expected to start falling.

The warnings cover the rivers Vrnwy in the north of the county and the Severn in Shrewsbury, but there are also lesser, flood alerts in place around the region.

Flooding at Melverley
BBC

The Environment Agency has warned that with more heavy rain forecast for the weekend, there could be more flooding to come.

Hospital reorganisation plans approved by health secretary

Shropshire's hospital reorganisation plans are to go ahead after receiving the backing of Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

It means the county's specialist women and children's unit will move from the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Telford will become a centre for planned operations and care and will have a reduced accident and emergency department.

PRH A&E
BBC

The announcement has been welcomed by some local politicians, but the Labour leader of Telford and Wrekin Council Shaun Davies opposes the plans and said he was looking at challenging the decision in the courts.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a dry, bright start it will be a cloudy day with some rain later and highs of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Weather: Rainy weather to return later this week

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Enjoy this dry spell while you can, because the rain clouds are returning tomorrow afternoon.

Here's the forecast:

BBC Weather Watchers

Number of flood warnings scaled back

The number of flood warnings affecting the West Midlands has fallen, with the Environment Agency saying river levels are falling.

Five rivers were listed this morning, but that has now been reduced to two - the River Vyrnwy in Shropshire and the River Sence in Warwickshire.

River
Shropshire Lass

A number of lesser flood alerts are still in place and the Environment Agency has warned river levels will remain high for the rest of the week and could rise again, with more heavy rain forecast for the weekend.

Schools not inspected for over a decade

BBC Shropshire

A BBC investigation has found one in 20 children in England is in a school that has not been inspected for more than 10 years

In Shropshire, more than 2,500 pupils are attending schools not inspected by Ofsted for ten or more years.

Five schools were rated outstanding between 2006 and 2009.

It meant that they became exempt from inspection under changes meant to aim Ofsted resources at poorly performing schools.

The longest time goes to Welshampton Church of England Primary, last inspected 13 years ago.

Stock image of school children
Getty Images

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After yesterday's rain and floods, today looks set to be a little more settled.

A ridge of high pressure means it is going to be a little more sunny, but it will feel chilly.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

High demand of calls in West Mercia area

Heavy rain has meant West Mercia Police has been receiving a high number of calls.

Non-urgent calls can be dealt with via the website.

View more on twitter

West Mercia covers Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.