TEN years ago, this week, the Tory education revolution allowing parents and teachers to set up their own "free schools" had flopped in the region, the Government admitted.

Only one of the 40 free school proposals that cleared the first hurdle was from the North-East or North Yorkshire, the Department for Education (Dfe) said.

Barwick's Own Second Secondary School (BO2SS), which hoped to open a 600place school in Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton, was informed that its application would move to the "business case and plan stage" and the group would be invited to do further work.

However, the other nine applications from the region - from County Durham, Sunderland, North Yorkshire, York, Newcastle, three from Northumberland and another from Stockton - were all rejected.

Tens of millions of pounds were to be diverted to free schools from rebuilding crumbling schools, following the dismantling of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

The announcement sparked fury in the North-East, where 79 secondaries had their hopes of new schools shattered, with little hope of rescuing the plans from shrinking funding pots.

Andy Burnham, Labour's education spokesman, had said: "At a time when school budgets are falling, every penny should be targeted where it is most needed.

"However, instead of focusing on raising standards in the most deprived areas, as Labour did, the Government is diverting funds to academies and free schools in areas that already have high standards."

Meanwhile, the saviour of Teesside Cast Products emerged as a potential lifeline for hundreds of workers facing redundancy after Tata Steel announced more job losses.Tata said it would be meeting Thai firm Sahavirya Steel Industries (SSI) after announcing a potential 390 job cuts from its 1,800-strong North-East workforce.

SSI, which completed a £291m takeover of Teesside Cast Products' (TCP) plant, near Redcar, was in the process of recruiting 800 permanent steelworkers, on top of the existing workforce of 700.

It is likely to receive scores of applications from former Tata Steel workers now facing redundancy.

And politicians are hoping SSImay be able to cushion the impact of the job cuts.

Tata is proposing to make 300 workers redundant in its Long Products business on Teesside and 90 redundant from two of its three steel tube mills in Hartlepool.

The firm said it was reasonably confident of achieving most of the job losses through voluntary redundancies, although it could not rule out compulsory lay-offs.

The cuts at the Long Products division, which includes the Teesside Beam Mill, in Lackenby, and its Special Profiles division, in Skinningrove, form part of wider proposals which would also see 1,200 steelworkers in Scunthorpe lose their jobs.

Tata is planning to invest £400m in the Long Products business over the next five years, but said that while investment in its assets was needed to ensure it could take advantage of a future upturn in work, slimming down the division, which has been losing money for the past two years, was also necessary to give it a viable future.

Last night, Tata officials confirmed they planned to hold early talkswith SSI to see if the Thai company could offer redundant workers a future.

Meanwhile, Harry Potter fans had a magical experience as a star from the world of Hogwarts steamed into the North-East.

Young and old followers of the boy wizard strained to see as the magnificent Hogwarts Express slowly rolled onto the platform.

The locomotive, best known for carrying Harry and his classmates to Hogwarts School in the hit films, was visiting the Locomotion Museum, in Shildon, county Durham.

In JK Rowling's stories, it travels from Platform 93/4 at King's Cross station, but this journey was much shorter.

The 80-year-old engine steamed up the East Coast Main Line from its home at the National Railway Museum, in York.

Despite the threat of rain, fans were out in force to grab pictures as the train was slowly moved into place.

Museum manager George Muirhead said: "In recent years, the locomotive has gained a new lease of life.

"It has featured in the Harry Potter films, seen by millions worldwide."

It was visiting Shildon as part of the museum's Wizards Weekend, and visitors would be able to ride in carriages behind it for about half a mile.