Update: 12:20

October 14, 2002

Imperial College and UCL discuss merger feasibility
Imperial College London and University College London are dicussing a merger. The colleges want to compete more effectively on the global stage. They have set up a joint working group to establish the feasibility of a merger. The group will report in two months’ time.

Former QCA head criticises government intervention
Sir William Stubbs, former head of the exams watchdog today criticised "unnecessary" government intervention in the row over A-level downgrading. Sir William, who was removed by Ms Morris as head of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, said in a statement: "The review initiated in such a dramatic manner by Estelle Morris is unlikely to change the overall grades awarded this year compared to that of previous years." He called on Tony Blair to establish a Royal Commission to review exam arrangements.

Excellence in Cities programme to be extended
The government's flagship Excellence in Cities programme to boost achievement by inner-city children is to be extended to cover 13 new areas. From September 2003 cash will also be given to Ashford, Boston, Chesterfield, Gravesend, Grantham, Harlow, Maidstone, Northampton, S****horpe, Spalding, Swindon in Wiltshire and the London boroughs of Bexley and Havering. It already covers 58 authorities in urban areas.

Cash sought for technology centre for the blind
A campaign is being launched to raise funds for a new technology centre at Birmingham's college for the blind. The campaign aims to raise nearly £400,000 towards the cost of the £650,000 centre at Harborne-based Queen Alexandra College.

Quarter of Northern Ireland's nurses smoke
One in four of Northern Ireland nurses smokes, but they are all trying to give up, according to Ulster University research. While 98 per cent of smoker nurses began smoking before entering the profession, 68 per cent of them said their cigarette consumption had increased since joining.

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