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Issue Date:- 21 April / 22 April 2009


LOCAL primary school teachers are to be given the opportunity to develop their pupils’ maths skills further by introducing the card game Minibridge. A three year initiative has been set up by the English Bridge Union (EBU) through their youth and education charitable trust after a donation from the Milton Damerel Trust. As well as developing schoolchildren in their mathematical abilities, Minibridge improves their social skills too. A study commissioned by the EBU at St Paul’s School in Manchester showed that bridge and Minibridge taught skills in numeracy, problem solving, probability, speaking, listening, education, rule following, team building, mental capacity and much more. At the time of the study, David Miliband, then Minister of State for Schools Standards commented that:- "Innovations such as Minibridge are to be was a pleasure to witness primary school children’s complete concentration, whilst so obviously enjoying playing a game that is proven to improve their school learning ability." North West primary schools will be the first in England to have the opportunity to see how the game works, when the English Bridge Union attends the Early Years Show on 24 April 2009 at Manchester Central from 1.15pm to 2.15pm. The English Bridge Union will invite local primary school teachers to come and have a look. The initiative comes at an exciting time for maths education after a Government review promised to ensure that every UK primary school has a maths specialist in the next ten years. Sir Peter Williams, the review’s author told us:- "teaching reforms were needed to ensure that every child left primary school without a fear of maths, having mastered the basics by the age of 7." The review also recommended a greater focus on making maths fun by using games – such as Minibridge - to apply mathematical concepts. The EBU project team is led by General Manager, Barry Capal, who said:- "I am very excited by this project. Minibridge is a fantastically enjoyable way for all children to improve their maths skills and I am pleased that children are going to be given this opportunity."

Michael Potts Found Safe And Well

MERSEYSIDE Police have confirm that Michael Potts who was reported as missing from his home since Saturday, 28 March 2009, has now returned home safe and well of his own accord on Monday, 20 April 2009.

 Survey reveals impact of recession on students in the North West

MANY students in the North West are “very concerned” at their lack of job prospects after graduation, according to a survey commissioned by the National Union of Students (NUS).

The survey, entitled "The Recession and its effects on students", found that:-

► 77% of current students in the North West are “concerned” or “very concerned” by current graduate employment levels and their likely future job prospects

► 19% of students in the North West are now more likely to enter into post-graduate study immediately after graduation

► 28% of students in the North West are receiving less financial support from their parents as a result of the recession

Students in the North West are calling on the Government to review the current system of top-up fees, which is leaving so many of them in debt.

Liverpool Guild of Students President, Dannie Grufferty, said:- “Many students in the North West are very worried about the lack of job prospects because of the recession. This year, the Government will be looking at how higher education is funded, and many university vice chancellors are already calling for students to be charged even higher fees. Students from the North West will be joining with NUS to make it clear that we will not stand for this, particularly in such a harsh economic climate.”

NUS President Wes Streeting said:- "The great distress being experienced by students and their families in the middle of this economic crisis puts the grossly insensitive demands of vice chancellors for even higher fees into stark perspective. We are calling on MPs from all parties to stop avoiding this issue and engage with us in a proper debate about how we can replace the catastrophic system of top up fees.”

Only three weeks ago, a BBC survey found that more than half of university vice chancellors want students to pay even higher tuition fees, calling for charges of at least £5,000 per year, or for there to be no upper limit.

...Extra info...

► The research was carried out throughout March by OpinionPanel on behalf of NUS. 521 undergraduates with home postcodes in England took part.

►  The report can be found here.

►  Methodology can be found here.

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