Students from The Academy at Shotton Hall have become the first state school in 25 years to take part in a Mock Council of the European Union.

Academy students Sophie Catleugh and Ben Bowes joined secondary schools and colleges from across Britain in the historic Locarno Suite of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to debate and make decisions on how the EU should spend its money to encourage 'green growth'.

The event was organised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the British Council and the European Commission and was held in association with International Education Week.

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LETS GROW: Teesside University is part of a 30m scheme that will provide much-needed grants for investment in equipment, research and training by regional businesses, generating thousands of new jobs.

Let's Grow involves the BE Group, chartered accountancy firm UNW, and Teesside and Northumbria Universities.

It was recently successful in winning 30m of Regional Growth Fund grant to encourage business growth.

Let's Grow will fund a two-year programme of business support which aims to create around 3,600 jobs.

PERSONAL FINANCE: The level of youth unemployment in Darlington is a "stark reminder" of the importance of teaching financial education in schools, according to national charity pfeg (Personal Finance Education Group). A total of 3,220 young people aged 16 to 24 in the Darlington area claimed Jobseeker's Allowance in October, according to official figures.

The education charity, which offers free resources and support to schools across the region, is campaigning for financial education to be included in the national curriculum and taught in every school in the UK. It says that financial education lessons can help equip young people to manage their personal finances as they search for work, and help prevent young and unemployed people falling into problem debt.

RADIO STAR: One of the biggest names in commercial radio has been appointed as a Visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland.

John Myers - who as chief executive of GMG Radio, built up a commercial radio empire worth millions - has joined the media team based at the city's Riverside campus.

John is chairman the prestigious Sony Radio Academy Awards, is a Fellow of the Radio Academy and has received The Radio Centre's highest honour for an Outstanding Contribution to the Radio Industry.

He is chief executive of Myers Media and chairman of Team Rock, an international company based in Glasgow.