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Guido hosts Belfast's first

There will be one big question on delegates' lips at next week's North of England education conference: what are we doing in Belfast?

For the first time in its 101-year history, the conference is crossing to the other side of the Irish Sea. Organisers say the reason for the move is that Northern Ireland has sent groups of delegates to the event for decades and they felt that it was time to return the favour.

All five of Northern Ireland's education and library boards (the equivalent of local authorities) are jointly hosting the conference, which they say will be the most entertaining yet.

Even the presenter will be chirpier than usual: the event is to be hosted by a computer-animated figure called Guido.

But the conference will start on a sombre note. The "Bloody Friday" attack will be commemorated by two pupils from Down school in Downpatrick, who will perform a drama called To Die a Second Time.

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