Under-achieving schools must not use disadvantaged pupils as excuse, says Ofsted

Disadvantaged pupils should not be used as an excuse for chronically under-achieving schools, the head of Ofsted has warned, as it was revealed that more than 130 have consistently under-performed for a decade.

Disney is reportedly close to clinching a takeover of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets in a deal worth as much as $60bn.

Disney close to clinching $60bn deal with 21st Century Fox

Walt Disney is reportedly close to confirming a takeover of Sky owner 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets in a deal thought to be worth as much as $60 billion (£45 billion).

Mr Davis promised MPs there would be "a number of votes" on the final deal struck between the UK and EU (PA)

Brexit withdrawal deal will be put to MPs ‘well before’ UK leaves EU, says May

Theresa May has insisted that MPs will be given a vote on the Brexit withdrawal deal as she faced the prospect of a Tory revolt and first Commons defeat on the issue.

Floral tributes near the scene of the crash on Stonegate Road (Peter Byrne/PA)

Boy, 15, admits causing deaths of five people in car crash

A 15-year-old boy has admitted causing the deaths of five people, including three children, by dangerous driving after a car ploughed into a tree.

Meghan Markle will join the royals on Christmas day (Harry Starbuck/PA)

Meghan Markle to join royal family at Sandringham for Christmas

Meghan Markle will join the Queen and other senior members of the royal family for Christmas at Sandringham, Kensington Palace has confirmed.

Forensic officers outside the house in Jackson Street (Peter Byrne/PA)

Man and woman accused of children’s murders in house fire appear in court

A man and a woman accused of murdering three children in a house fire have made their first appearance in court.

A study found one in three under-35s buys a new Christmas jumper every year (Victoria Jones/PA)

Environment warning over ‘incessant need for new’ in Christmas jumpers craze

A quarter of Christmas jumpers bought last year were thrown away or are unlikely to be worn again because people do not want to be seen in the same one twice, a survey has found.

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley (PA)

Sports Direct investors block £11 million back payment to Mike Ashley’s brother

Shareholders in Sports Direct have dealt chief executive Mike Ashley a bloody nose after overwhelmingly opposing plans to hand his brother an £11 million back payment.

Travel giant Tui has said Britons are switching to cheaper destinations due to the Brexit-hit pound as it posted a 12% rise in annual earnings.

Brexit-hit pound is forcing Britons to choose cheaper holidays, says Tui

Travel giant Tui has said the Brexit-hit pound is forcing British holidaymakers to switch to cheaper destinations and revealed it is drawing up contingency plans for disruption from the UK’s divorce from the EU.

Norwegian Air Shuttle (PA)

Norwegian Air Shuttle seals deal for Gatwick runway slots

Norwegian Air Shuttle has snapped up a raft of take-off and landing slots at Gatwick Airport as it intensifies its push into the UK market.

British banker Rurik Jutting is escorted in a prison bus to a court in Hong Kong (AP Photo/Vincent Yu,File)

UK banker appeals over Hong Kong murders conviction

Judges in Hong Kong are considering a British banker’s appeal over his conviction for the murders of two Indonesian women.

Metropolitan Police are appealing for witnesses (Nick Ansell/PA)

Burglary victim heartbroken at theft of twin babies’ ashes

A box containing the ashes of twins who died at birth has been stolen in a burglary.

Employment and unemployment went down while the number of people economically inactive increased (Philip Toscano/PA)

Largest drop in people in work since May 2015 as unemployment falls to 1.4m

The number of people in work has fallen by 56,000 in recent months, the biggest quarterly drop in more than two years, new figures show.

Bike collision

Teenager’s family issue warning over off-road bikes after daughter badly injured

The family of a teenage girl who was seriously injured in a crash are warning of the dangers of off-road bikes.

Three-week-old Vanellope Hope Wilkins (Ben Birchall/PA)

Vanellope becomes ‘first UK baby’ to survive extremely rare heart condition

A baby born with an extremely rare condition in which the heart grows on the outside of the body has survived, in what is believed to be a UK first.

Three-year-old Reuben looks at a wall of icicles at Killhope mine in County Durham (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Cold eases but some schools shut ahead of ‘rollercoaster’ weekend temperatures

Dozens of schools will be shut for a third consecutive day – as the country prepares for a “rollercoaster” of temperatures over the weekend.

Water regulator Ofwat has pledged to save customers up to £25 a year off their bills under its price review plans for 20 20 to 2025

Water watchdog vows to cut bills for households in England and Wales

Households look set to save up to £25 a year off their water bills from 2020 to 2025 under plans put forward by regulator Ofwat.

(Ben Birchall/PA)

Cars could be programmed to chart potholes in future, says Highways England

Cars of the future could be programmed to spot potholes and transmit the information to Highways England, the road operator has said.

Several swans have been found dead or injured around  in Thamesmead (PA)

Volunteers patrol London parks after swans and cygnets ‘stabbed and beheaded’

Six swans including three cygnets are feared to have been stabbed and beheaded after their mutilated bodies were discovered in south London parks.

Thirty volunteers from Network Rail help run the event (PA)

Euston Station to host lunch for 200 homeless on Christmas Day

Euston Station will welcome 200 homeless people for lunch on Christmas Day while the transport hub is shut to commuters.

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