Category Archives: Education

Free education to end in Surrey


Tory Surrey County Council has a long record of failing residents and wasting their council tax money. Now they have announced something which Tory politicians have craved for a hundred years: an end to free education for all children.

The blundering leader of the council, Cllr David Hodge, recently gave this speech and said, “We can no longer guarantee school places for every school child in Surrey.”

A section of the speech - click to enlarge

A section of the speech – click to enlarge

I wrote to the Surrey Advertiser about this in October.

Tory Surrey County Council raised our council tax by the maximum allowed, for three years in succession. They are closing all the remaining care homes for the elderly. Our roads are crumbling and packed with traffic due to the lack of proper public transport. Librarians are being sacked. Community funding was cut by £300,000 to fund a massive pay hike for 50 Tory councillors.

In one of the wealthiest counties in a wealthy country, Surrey has become a right-wing Tory experiment: services cut, taxes hiked and more cash for councillors and the chief executive.

As the son of two teachers, I think this latest move, the ending of free education, is Hodge’s most callous yet. Conservatives are content to force families who can afford it to pay for private education and leave those who can’t without schooling. I was state educated and it taught me to live alongside and respect rich and poor alike. The ideologues on Surrey County Council do not want the next generation in Surrey to learn this.

 

Sure Start centres close in Surrey under David Cameron


Press Statement from Richard Wilson, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford 10 August 2014

 

THE CHOICE ON CHILDCARE: TORY FAILURE ON SURE START REVEALED – 93 CENTRES IN SOUTH EAST HAVE CLOSED UNDER DAVID CAMERON

 

Ninety-three Sure Start Centres in the South East region have closed since 2010 despite Tory promises to protect the network, new analysis has revealed.

 

Every single council in England has been forced to cut its Sure Start funding by at least 40% – in the South East the figure is 44% or a reduction of £163.2m.

Figures unearthed in a Government consultation show that David Cameron is planning to cut the overall funding for Sure Start by 52% over this Parliament.

 

  • In Kent the number has dropped from 96 to 84 
  • In Surrey the number has fallen from 69 down to 58
  • In West Sussex following the merger of 8 centres there are 4 fewer Children’s Centres.
  • In East Sussex 5 centres have closed
  • In Brighton and Hove 3 have closed.
  • Following the merger of 8 centres there are 4 fewer Children’s Centres in West Sussex.

 

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Guildford, Richard Wilson, said, “It is very disappointing that since 2010 Surrey has lost so many Sure Start Centres which are so valued by many parents. Recently it was also revealed that overcrowding in Surrey’s infant classes has more than doubled. David Cameron and Conservative Surrey County Council have targeted their austerity measures at the youngest children in the county and their parents.

 

“After failing Surrey’s families on childcare and education, Conservative councillors went on to vote themselves huge pay rises. There is a choice in Surrey. Labour is committed to protecting Sure Start and increasing free childcare where both parents work. Families in Surrey are struggling with rising living costs and stagnant wages. These measures will make a real difference.”

 

Today Lucy Powell MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Childcare and Children, will highlight The Choice facing the country next May. Voters face a choice between a Tory-led Government which has failed on childcare and which threatens more of the same and a Labour future which would help tackle the cost-of-living crisis with action on childcare.

Nationally the new analysis reveals that:

 

  • There are 628 fewer Sure Start centres now than in April 2010 – an average of three fewer every week. 
  • Many of those that remain have been downgraded and face an uncertain future under the Tories.
  • One in ten Sure Start centres provides fewer services, one in six has seen a reduction in hours, and one in five has fewer staff than in 2010.

 

Lucy Powell said: “The Tories promised to protect Sure Start but have delivered only failure. Thanks to them there are 628 fewer centres than there were in 2010, and those that remain are under pressure and facing an uncertain future.

 

“Only Labour is committed to renewing and reinvigorating Sure Start. We will reform the way local services work together to shift from sticking-plaster services to radical early help to provide good quality support to all families that need it.

 

“At the next election the choice is clear. The threat of five more years of a Tory Party which has let Sure Start wither on the vine, or a Labour future where Sure Start is protected and families are put first.”

 

 

Ends

 

For interviews please contact Danielle Glavin on 07941 425 421 or via email Danielle_Glavin@labour.org.uk

 

 

Notes to editors

 

 

Background cuts briefing

 

Cameron’s Sure Start Scandal – every single council in England forced to cut its Sure Start funding by at least 40%

 

  • New research shows that every council in the country has had to cut its funding for Sure Start by at least 40%.
  • Figures unearthed in a Government consultation show that David Cameron is planning to cut the overall funding for Sure Start by 52% over this Parliament.

 

Background

 

  • The table below shows the EIG cuts by region (in £m).

 

 

2010-11

2014-15

     
 

Predecessor grants before in year reduction and excluding Two Year Old Offer grant

Early Intervention funding within start-up funding assessment

 

Change 2010-11 to 2014-15

   

2013-14 prices

   

£

%

           

Region

         

North West

427.3

232.4

 

-226.3

-49.9%

North East

171.5

91.9

 

-92.1

-50.6%

Yorkshire and the Humber

293.9

162.3

 

-153.2

-49.1%

West Midlands

305.1

172.7

 

-154.9

-47.8%

East Midlands

212.5

124.6

 

-103.7

-45.9%

East of England

242.6

150.1

 

-110.7

-43.0%

London

500.8

296.6

 

-241.4

-45.4%

South East

349.2

212.0

 

-163.2

-44.0%

South West

222.1

133.4

 

-105.3

-44.6%

Source: House of Commons Library

 

  • The planned budgets for the Early Intervention Grant (EIG)* for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years reveal a reduction in real terms of 52% (amounts are £m).

 

2010/11

2014/15

2015/16

Baseline

Indicative budget

Cash reduction

%

Real terms reduction

%

Indicative budget

Cash reduction

%

Real terms reduction

%

2725

1585

-1140

-42

-1261

-46

1451

-1274

-47

-1408

-52

*The EIG covers the amount distributed to councils for Sure Start children’s centres and a range of other childcare and intervention programmes. The Government has removed the ring-fence for Sure Start funding.[1]

Source: Local Government Finance Settlement 2014-15 and 2015-16: technical consultation, 25 July 2013, http://goo.gl/SS1e1C

 

 

 

  • Before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron promised to “back Sure Start”.

 

“Yes, we back Sure Start. It’s a disgrace that Gordon Brown has been trying to frighten people about this.”

David Cameron, The Independent, 5 May 2010

 

  • But according to local authority responses to Freedom of Information requests, there are now 628 fewer designated children’s centres now than in April 2010 – that’s an average of around three fewer every week.

 

   

Designated Sure Start centres

 

Local Authority

As of official stats (April 2010)

Now

Difference (official stats)

Brighton and Hove

15

12

-3

Buckinghamshire

35

35

0

East Sussex

36

31

-5

Hampshire

81

54

-27

Isle of Wight

8

8

0

Kent

96

84

-12

Medway

19

19

0

Milton Keynes

20

20

0

Oxfordshire

45

43

-2

Portsmouth

16

9

-7

Reading

13

13

0

Slough

10

10

0

Southampton

14

4

-10

Surrey

69

58

-11

West Berkshire

10

10

0

West Sussex

49

45

-4

Windsor and Maidenhead

10

2

-8

Wokingham

10

6

-4

 

556

463

-93

 

 

Number of designated children’s centres, April 2010[1]

Number of designated children’s centres, August 2014[2]

Change in number of designated children’s centres since April 2010

Weeks since the general election as of 7 August 2014

Average reduction of children’s centres, per week

3,631

3,003

-628

223

2.8

 

  • For those children’s centres that remain, many local authorities have been forced to reduce services, opening hours and staff. Local authority responses to Freedom of Information requests show that one-in-ten Sure Start centres provide fewer services; one-in-six have reduced their opening hours; and one-in-five have fewer staff than in 2010. These figures could be even higher as some local authorities were failed to provide a useable answer.

 

 

Since 2010, number of Sure Start centres[3] with

% of designated children’s centres

Number of LAs that provided a useable answer

fewer services

306

10.2%

129

reduced hours

482

16.1%

136

fewer staff

625

20.8%

116

 

 

 

  • The Government’s own research shows services at children’s centres are already stretched to the limit, with budget pressures forcing managers to lay off staff, cut back on services and reduce opening hours.

 

“For some, the reorganisation had meant reduced centre hours or centre sessions as well as reduced partnership working. Others struggled to maintain the expertise of current senior staff (for example Qualified Teachers), whom might be at risk of relocation or redundancy.”

DfE, research report by the University of Oxford, 18 July 2013, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/224096/DFE-RR297.pdf

 

  • Earlier in the year the Government deleted Sure Start closure figures from their official website on the orders of Education Minister Liz Truss, reportedly as part of a “data cleansing” exercise[5].

 

  • At Annual Conference 2013, Labour set out plans to tackle the rising cost and insufficient availability of childcare and help families feeling the pinch and struggling to balance work and family life. Labour will introduce:

o   A primary childcare guarantee, giving all parents of primary school children the guarantee of childcare availability through their school from 8am-6pm.

o   The extension of free childcare for working parents from 15 to 25 hours.

 

 

 

[1] Department for Education, Numbers of Sure Start children’s centres: April 2010, 17 June 2010, https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/219406/main_20text_20osr142010.pdf

[2] Current figures are based on local authority responses to the Freedom of Information request “Please provide the number of designated statutory children’s centres now”, received between April 2014 and July 2014. Manchester, Nottingham and Wigan did not provide an answer, so data was taken at 18 November 2013, before it was deleted from an official website. Some local authorities were keen to highlight that reductions were due to mergers.

[3] Figures are based on local authority responses to the following Freedom of Information request:
“How many Sure Start centres in [local authority] provide fewer services now than they did in 2009/10?
“How many Sure Start centres in [local authority] have reduced their opening hours since 2009/10?
How many Sure Start centres in [local authority] have fewer staff now than in 2009/10?”
Responses  received between May 2014 and July 2014.

 

[5] The Mirror, 2 January 2014, http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/sure-start-closure-figures-deleted-2978571

[1] DfE, 21 August 2012, http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/earlylearningandchildcare/delivery/funding/a0070357/eig-faqs#faq3

 

 

Richard Wilson

Parliamentary Candidate

Guildford Labour Party

Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website | YouTube | Donate

 

Promoted by Alex Wilks on behalf of Richard Wilson, both of 9b Martyr Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LF

 

 

 

Surrey County Council “acutely aware” of the crisis they have caused in our schools


The Surrey Advertiser has covered the overcrowding in Surrey’s infant classes which came to light in my recent research:

Surrey Ad 20 June on class sizes

The Tory council say they are “acutely aware” of the problem. They should have been “acutely aware” that this crisis was going to happen years ago and should have done something about it. Surrey’s youngest pupils are suffering due to the council’s neglect of their responsibilities. This probably does not affect many Tory councillors’ families, who will be able to afford private schools for their grandchildren.

By awarding themselves 60% pay hikes, the Tory leadership of Surrey County Council have added insult to injury to the parents and pupils of Surrey.

Infants in Over-crowded Classes Soar In Surrey by 122%


Press Statement from Richard Wilson, Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Guildford
13 June 2014 – For immediate release

The number of infants in large classes of over 30 pupils has increased by 951 in Surrey since 2010.

In January 2010 there were 779 infant pupils in large classes and the figure is now 1,730, an increase of 122%.

Richard Wilson, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Guildford, said, “Over-crowded infant classes pose a real threat to children’s education and wellbeing. As the son of two teachers, I know the additional pressures that large class sizes place on teachers too.”
Before the General Election, David Cameron promised “small schools with smaller class sizes”.
But the new figures released on Thursday 12 June show it’s a promise they have failed to deliver.
Richard Wilson said: “Conservative Surrey County Council is failing pupils and parents. Infant class sizes are soaring and there is a shortage of school places for all ages. Local parents tell me that they cannot get places for their children in their preferred, nearby, state schools because the council has failed to provide enough places. This is a crisis for the families affected who will now face difficult school runs every day. This comes as leading councillors award themselves 60% pay hikes.

“Surrey has a critical shortage of school places while millions are being wasted elsewhere in the South East on Free Schools where there is a surplus of places. A future Labour Government will prioritise new school places in areas where there are shortages, have rigorous local oversight of schools and ensure that all teachers have or are working towards qualified teacher status.”

ENDS.

Government statistics from 2010 (see Table 14b) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/218954/local_20authority_20tables_20sfr092010.xls

Government statistics from 2014 (see Table 11) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/319510/SFR15_2014_LA_tables.xlsx
Number of infants in large classes (over 30)

Jan-10
Jan-14
Difference 2010-14
% change 2010-14
SOUTH EAST (4)
4,980
12,710
7,730
155%
Bracknell Forest
62
62
0
0%
Brighton and Hove
62
155
93
150%
Buckinghamshire
529
745
216
41%
East Sussex
562
1,094
532
95%
Hampshire
528
1,707
1,179
223%
Isle of Wight
65
187
122
188%
Kent
816
2,718
1,902
233%
Medway
62
319
257
415%
Milton Keynes
284
217
-67
-24%
Oxfordshire
186
563
377
203%
Portsmouth
62
217
155
250%
Reading
31
0
-31
-100%
Slough
126
186
60
48%
Southampton
124
219
95
77%
Surrey
779
1,730
951
122%
West Berkshire
190
282
92
48%
West Sussex
383
1,747
1,364
356%
Windsor and Maidenhead
128
282
154
120%
Wokingham
0
279
279

In their 2010 manifesto, the Conservative Party promised to create “small schools with smaller class sizes”.
A Conservative government will give many more children access to the kind of education that is currently only available to the well-off: safe classrooms, talented and specialist teachers, access to the best curriculum and exams, and smaller schools with smaller class sizes with teachers who know the children’s names.
Conservative Party Manifesto 2010, p. 51
David Cameron said in 2008 that it was “important to have small schools” so that children don’t “get lost”:
“…the more we can get class sizes down the better. It is also important to have small schools. Some schools have got so big that the children get lost in them. …What I want most in a primary school is one where the headteacher knows my child’s name and they’re not part of some enormous mass. You want your child to go somewhere where they can feel warm and safe and loved and identified.”
David Cameron, Yorkshire Post Q&A, 18 April 2008
David Cameron has created a crisis in primary school places. Two-thirds of all the places created by the Free School programme (aggregate figure for both primary and secondary) are not in the areas most in need of primary places.
NAO, Establishing Free Schools, 11 December 2013, http://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/10314-001-Free-Schools-Book.pdf
Last month, it was revealed that Michael Gove had diverted £400 million away from areas in need of new primary places to fund his Free School programme.
The Guardian, 10 May 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/10/gove-lunatic-raid-free-schools
In 2012 Michael Gove relaxed the rules on class sizes and the 30 pupil limit introduced by Labour.
“Schools can breach the limit in exceptional circumstances for 12 months on the proviso that numbers are brought down the following year.
But that requirement has now disappeared from the School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) Regulations – quietly introduced a year ago – in a move that gives heads more freedom to maintain 30-plus lessons for a number of years without having to employ more teachers.
School leaders have admitted that growing numbers of heads were preparing to take advantage of the rule change to increase class sizes.”
Telegraph, 7 April 2013, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/9969834/More-infants-to-be-taught-in-supersized-classes.html

Richard Wilson
Parliamentary Candidate
Guildford Labour Party
Twitter | Facebook | Blog | Website | YouTube | Donate

Promoted by Alex Wilks on behalf of Richard Wilson, both of 9b Martyr Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4LF

Support Guildford’s Teaching Assistants


A recent Labour Prime Minister once said his top three priorities were “Education, Education, Education”. If we are to tackle the massive inequality in our society we need to ensure everyone has the best education possible.image

Teaching assistants have a vital role in classrooms to help children develop educationally and socially. They support teachers by preparing lesson materials, helping pupils who need individual attention, supervising outdoors activity, and in many other ways.

However, now teaching assistants are under attack from Michael Gove, the Education Secretary. He has derided them as a “mum’s army” and may reduce their numbers. This would be devastating for state schools, especially those with high numbers of pupils with special needs.image

The union representing teaching assistants, the GMB, is asking all parliamentary candidates to show their support for teaching assistants. I feel strongly that it is in the best interests of pupils in Guildford that teaching assistants are retained and supported. I will be joining GMB members outside school gates to collect signatures on a petition calling for this, and to discuss with parents how valuable teaching assistants are.image

When you are collecting your child from school please come over and sign our petition and show you support teaching assistants and the work they do.

 

 

UPDATE

2014-05-09 10.24.36 2014-05-08 14.17.10

It was a great pleasure to join the GMB outside Holy Trinity School in Guildford yesterday. Thank you to all the parents and education workers who signed the petition and stopped to chat. Teaching assistants are hugely valued and Michael Gove’s attack on them is unwarranted.

Our Responsibility to Future Voters


I was very pleased today to be invited to speak at the assembly of the Duke of Kent School in Ewhurst. Young people are finding they are less and less of a priority for government and policy makers. I feel we have a responsibility to help them regain democratic influence and power.

The Duke of Kent School

The Duke of Kent School

Yesterday’s budget showed starkly the political reality that older people are much more likely to vote than younger ones. George Osborne offered a cash bribe to pensioners, one of many. He will subsidise the interest rates they receive on their savings. Over-65s will have state money added to the market rates if they are lucky enough to have spare cash, for them only. This imbalance in democratic power is out in the open and its cause is undisputed. I have written about this before.

I spoke to the pupils about how they will need to use their voice, but not just for themselves. The Duke of Kent School is a private school and the pupils receive a privileged education. This means they have a responsibility for others who are less fortunate through no fault of their own.

There were some really good questions from pupils after my speech. I was asked about Labour’s taxation policy, the armed forces, affordable housing, immigration, my job as an airline pilot. I was even asked about Ed Balls’ performance on that morning’s Today Programme.

It was very pleasing to see that school pupils have such an interest in current affairs. This is vital for the years to come when the temptation of policy makers will be to continue to chase the pensioner vote at the expense of the next generation.

Teachers are heroes – support their strike today


Teaching is one of the most important professions in this country. Teachers are dedicated to giving the nation’s children the best possible start in life. What could be more important than that?

Today, teachers in Surrey Heath and in many other areas are striking and schools are closed. They are doing that as a last resort to protect their profession and their pupils.

Both of my parents were teachers so I know how hard they work, both at school and at home in the evenings and at weekends. Teachers have to prepare lessons and mark pupils’ work for hours and hours every week. They meet parents and treat every child as special and worthy of the best education they can provide. Teachers need to have graduated from university then complete a postgraduate course in teaching followed by a long probation period. They choose to go into teaching when they could earn more and have less stress by going into other jobs. The rest of us should be very grateful that they are prepared to make this sacrifice for the nation’s children.

The MP for Surrey Heath, Michael Gove, is also the Education Secretary. He has been attacking teachers and the education system since he took office. He proposes lower pay and much lower pensions for teachers, along with even higher workloads. He has allowed unqualified teachers into state schools which has endangered children such as at the Al-Medinah Free School. He has created the school places crisis where parents, including in Surrey Heath, can’t get their children into any of their preferred schools.

Teachers are heroes and striking is their last resort. This is their hour of need. I’m supporting them today, please show your support too.

A Mad Man With A Blog

Look upwards, and share the wonders I've seen...

TheMusicalMeltingPot

Boundary free.

Sophia James

Labour Councillor for Katesgrove Ward

Cranleigh Labour Party

A voice for Cranleigh in tough times

Stanwell Voice

News and views from Robert Evans - Labour County Councillor for Stanwell Moor, Stanwell and part of North Ashford

The Camberley Eye

Community news and views about Camberley

Order Of Truth

When you know how the world works, you can do something about it.

huxley06

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Red Reflections

Tracey Hill's blog: Labour candidate for the Hollingdean and Stanmer ward on Brighton and Hove City Council. All views her own. Tweets more often than blogs.

No More Page 3

Because Boobs Aren't News

Public Libraries News

What's happening to your library?

Pride's Purge

an irreverent look at UK politics

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers

%d bloggers like this: