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News at a glance

Call for prison education overhaul

Aspirations for educating prisoners are "much too low", chief prisons inspector Nick Hardwick has warned. Giving the annual lecture for the Prisoners Educational Trust last week, Mr Hardwick echoed justice secretary Ken Clarke's calls for an overhaul of the system. He said: "Education in its broadest sense is crucial to rehabilitation. Our aspirations are much too low at present and Ken Clarke was right to call for a rehabilitation revolution. You can argue about the detail but it won't be achieved unless we place education and rehabilitation at the centre of a prison's task - not some luxury add-on."

I was a college drop-out, says Iraq war hero

Iraq war hero Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry visited South Thames College in London last week to speak to students about how he turned his life around. He met more than 100 students, who asked him questions about his challenging background after moving from the Caribbean to the UK, and why he joined the army. He received the Victoria Cross for twice saving members of his unit from ambushes. He said: "When I first came to London I dropped out of college; I was dealing drugs, drinking and smoking. I turned my life around and now I am the only living British soldier still serving in the army to have been awarded the Victoria Cross."

Award for encouraging girls into engineering

Wirral Metropolitan College lecturer Heather Aspinwall has been recognised for her efforts in encouraging girls to pursue careers in engineering. Ms Aspinwall, curriculum leader in applied science and maths, received the accolade at the Women into Science, Engineering and Construction (WISE) awards. She was presented with the adviser award by Princess Anne. Ms Aspinwall was nominated by David Ozholl of the Royal Academy of Engineering, for her work in developing a project to encourage more girls to take engineering qualifications at the college.

Oxfordshire college to build new media centre

Plans for a new vehicle workshop and media centre have been submitted by Oxford and Cherwell Valley College. The college is looking to consolidate its premises on its main campus. The proposals involve creating a three-storey media centre, a link to the main campus and demolishing a bungalow on the site. The college also plans to sell off a neighbouring site, on which it hopes 110 homes could be built.

Seahorses measure up for conservation project

A student is combining her studies at Cornwall College with an unusual activity - looking after baby seahorses. As part of the final-year project of her foundation degree in marine conservation, Charlotte Armstrong-Harris has been tending the tiny sea creatures at Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium. She is currently monitoring the seahorses' growth on a daily basis. "It's fantastic to have the aquarium literally on our doorstep and it's been fascinating to monitor the seahorses as they develop," she said.

Groundbreaking private degree has 12 takers

A dozen students have signed up for a pioneering degree created jointly by New College Swindon and the private BPP university. In 2010, BPP became the UK's first private university college to be founded in more than 30 years. At the end of the course, students will be awarded a degree by BPP University College. New College principal Graham Taylor said that, as there are no universities in Wiltshire, it was the college's responsibility to "provide a robust range of training and educational programmes for people who want to study locally".

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