Education Select Committee – Alternative Provision

This week’s Education Select Committee saw evidence and discussion around Alternative Provision (AP) which is for pupils who can’t attend mainstream schools.

1 in 200 young people attend AP, and there are issues with the quality of teaching within the sector, particularly around recruitment and use of unqualified teachers.

Watch my question below with answers from Kiran Gill, researcher and founder of charity ‘The Difference’ and David Berridge, Professor of Child and Family Welfare at Bristol University.

A budget for those that ‘have’

A budget for those that ‘have’ but which ignores the ‘just about managing’

What the Chancellor has announced today is a budget that will not help the just about managing families, that are struggling at the end of each month to put food on their children’s table. Whilst I will always welcome an increase in the National Minimum Wage, it still falls short of the Living Wage Foundation’s level for the REAL Living Wage of £8.75 per hour. The Chancellor needed to go further.

I am appalled that the Chancellor chose to ignore social care altogether in his budget. We need a system that is fairly and fully funded, so people who have saved their whole lives don’t face the worry of whether they can pay for their care in older age. Local Authorities need support from Central Government to provide enough money to make sure our social care system doesn’t once again topple over, and add additional pressure on the NHS.

With only mathematics and ICT teaching mentioned in the budget, I would like to know what the Chancellor is going to do to support every school in my constituency who are set to lose out under the new funding formula. What the Chancellor forgot to mention, was the support needed for the teachers who are having to write home to parents asking them to pay for paper and pens.

Whilst scrapping stamp duty for first time buyers is a welcome move, it will only help those who have the ability to save or who have the support of the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’. Whilst the Chancellor puts a sticking plaster over the cracks in our society, he has failed to heal the wounds caused by failed austerity policies.

Honley Christmas lights switch-on

Feeling the Christmas spirit at the Honley light switch-on this weekend. Only 33 sleeps now until the big day!

Honley’s very own pet shop boys were there to flip the switch! Well done to Honley Business Association for their hard work organising the event.

 

The effect of loneliness on local communities

Yesterday in a debate about the effect of loneliness on local communities I gave a speech which referenced both Paddington Bear, and the Clem’s Garden Project in Lindley. You can watch below.

Loneliness is a huge issue in our country, and our local area – and it’s something that often goes by unnoticed. I’m pleased that attention is now being given and I’m happy to help any local projects who are helping to counter it.

Due to a high number of speakers my speech was cut short but I have added my final part to the end of the video so you can read it in full.

‘Campaigner of the Week’ for a second time

I’ve been named ‘Campaigner of the Week’ for a second time in The House magazine!

My campaign to drop VAT on community funded defibrillators would mean that for every five machines purchased, the sixth will be free.

As I shared with you last week, I have tabled an Early Day Motion and have written to the Chancellor to raise this issue ahead of the Budget next week.

You can back my campaign by signing here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/…/scrap-vat-on-community-purch…

Petition to scrap VAT on community-purchased defibrillators

I started a campaign to scrap VAT on community-purchased defibrillators after meeting Bill O’Brien, a constituent and volunteer community responder, at Honley Feast.

Since then, I have tabled an Early Day Motion on the issue (which 49 other parliamentarians have signed), asked a Written Question, and I have written to the Chancellor asking him to include this in the upcoming Budget.

30,000 people go into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital environment every year. For every minute that passes without defibrillation the survival rate reduces by 10%. Community-purchased defibrillators cost 20% more than those bought by the NHS or local authorities due to VAT. This isn’t right and by changing the law it means every sixth one will be free.

I know there is a lot of public support for this, so I have launched an online petition so members of the public can show that they want the Chancellor to act in the budget to help save a life.

You can sign the petition using the following link: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/…/scrap-vat-on-community-purch…

Education Select Committee – Young people’s experiences

Young people with personal experiences of being in care spoke to the Education Select Committee last week. I asked them for top-tips they could give to schools on how best to support children in care and foster care.

They gave really great answers and you can watch the full discussion on my YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCbpvyWv23E

Impact of cuts on Children’s services

Robert Goodwill, the Minister of State at the Department for Education gave evidence at last week’s Education Select Committee and I challenged him over the impact of cuts to Local Authority funding on the delivery of Children’s Services.

It’s ludicrous for the Government to dismiss these huge cuts as somehow irrelevant to the quality of services being provided.

Modern foreign language subjects – the effect of cuts

50% of schools and colleges have dropped modern foreign language subjects from their subject choices, citing funding as a reason. I asked what the Secretary of State for Education was doing to reverse this trend.

We need to address the funding problem which is affecting every part of our education system. Deflecting attention away from the real issue is not good enough.