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Darren highlights learning disadvantage gap

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones, had shared his concerns about the above-average disadvantage gap in Bristol North West.

The Education Policy Institute (EPI)  published its flagship Annual Report on the state of education in England and how well the government are doing in closing the ‘disadvantage gap’ on 30th July 2019.

The EPI found in Bristol North West, disadvantaged pupils are 23 months of learning behind their non-disadvantaged peers by the end of secondary school (much higher than the national average); 8 months of learning behind at primary; and 5.9 months of learning behind in the early years.

In terms of the national picture, for the first time since 2011, progress in closing the GCSE attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has come to a standstill.

Darren said:

The disadvantage gap is frankly beyond belief in a country as rich as the UK, and I will be raising my on-going horror at these stats after recess. I grew-up in council homes in Lawrence Weston and Shire, went to University before training as a lawyer and becoming your MP, I had those opportunities because of investment in education and policies that supported my family. Nobody should face educational disadvantage because of their family’s income.

I truly hope this report illustrates the impact austerity politics has had on the future of this country.

Those who supported cuts to education and youth services budgets should hang their heads in shame”.

You can read the full report here.

You can follow Darren’s work on Education here.

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News: Bristol City Council’s SEND Investment

Bristol City Council has recently reviewed it’s SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Strategy.

Feedback from Special schools and data from the Council Place Planning Team suggest that many SEND settings are reaching capacity and if diagnosis rates remain as they are, full capacity will be reached by 2020/21. The data also shows that the largest need types are for children with autistic needs including SEMH (Social, Emotional and Mental Health), ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and ASC (Autism Spectrum Conditions).

Further to these recommendations, Bristol City Councils’ Cabinet have recently approved £2,057,009 condition grant funding to education capital budget.

In Bristol North West, £3,822,386 (basic need grant funding) has been approved by Cabinet to Kingsweston Special School to make permanent critical complex needs provision.

Additionally, Cabinet approved £200,000 (SEND grant funding) to Claremont and Elmfield, to develop and consult on more detailed options for managing the buildings deteriorating condition.

Cabinet noted the possibility that a future solution for the condition issues at Elmfield and Claremont may require a contribution from capital receipts, beyond the available capital grant funding.

You can find more Cabinet decisions and more information on the SEND Strategy by visiting here.

Darren said:

“It’s great news that Bristol City Council has approved various funding for SEND provisions across Bristol. I speak to many constituents on a weekly basis who are, or have family members facing difficulties accessing SEND settings, so it is vital that these provisions receive funding to improve and maintain them. At a time where local councils have suffered detrimental cuts by the Government, it’s good to see that SEND is a priority for Bristol City Council.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren visits Home for Veterans, opens Nursery in Lawrence Weston and The Old Library in Eastville

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, had another packed weekend. Darren joined the team from Alabare Christian Care and Support to tour their new Bristol Home for Veterans. Darren also opened the new nursery in Lawrence Weston and visited the community café at the Old Library in Eastville.

Darren said:

“It was wonderful to visit the Old Library in Eastville – the centre has a fantastic café, kids area and awesome outdoor space. Hats-off to the volunteers from Lockleaze, Eastville and the surrounding area for creating such a great community space. I hope all our libraries can become hubs for community activities and provide a wide variety of services alongside the traditional book-lending schemes.

 I was also delighted to officially open the Long Cross Nursery in Lawrence Weston, which is linked to Oasis Academy Long Cross. I have long campaigned for fully state-funded childcare  – funded nursery places for two year olds should be available for all. I’ll continue to call for that.

I was also pleased to meet the manager at the new Bristol Home for Veterans that will open in Bristol North West in a few weeks. It is vital, after their hard work and service, our veterans get the support and care they need. Alabare are working to support veterans, vulnerable and homeless people and I applaud their efforts. I do however feel the government could do much more to vulnerable support people – and a start would be by providing a proper welfare safety net, ceasing the damaging system of Universal Credit and funding our councils so they can provide effective and well-resourced services”.

 

 

 

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Darren visits Westbury Primary School

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones,  has visited Westbury-on-Tyrm Church Of England Primary School.

Darren said after the visit:

” ‪Thank you to Westbury-on-Trym Church of England Academy for hosting me this afternoon, to hear about pupils excellent development work in Nepal with Pahar Trust Nepal, the school choir and to answer tough questions from the school council‬”.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

 

 

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Darren comments on crisis in council funding

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has commented on the continued crisis facing local government after years of government cuts. This follows reports that funding has been cut by 21% since the last Labour government.

Darren said:

“It’s a fact that with sustained cuts of this size, our council’s are constantly being asked to do more with much less. Demand for support with adult social care, child safeguarding and SEN have increased hugely but with less funding to provide these complex and vital services.

We can’t escape the reality that these cuts (of roughly 21% from 09/10 to 17/18) will have an impact on the services councils can deliver and, despite best efforts, the speed and quality at which they do so. Our council has worked hard to keep libraries open but has had to make tough decisions.

Our City Council Mayor, Marvin Rees, signed a joint letter in December last year, warning that council’s have reached breaking point.

As the IFS said: Current plans for councils to rely on council tax and business rates for the vast bulk of their funding don’t look compatible with our expectations of what councils should provide. Yet the government continue to keep their head in the sand while councils up and down the country – including in Tory heartlands such as Somerset – face financial crisis.

I will continue to do all I can, along with my Labour Bristol colleagues, to highlight the demands upon local councils and the need for investment into the crucial community services they provide”.

 

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Darren encourages schools to teach plastic awareness

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West, has written to all Primary schools in Bristol North West encouraging them to take part in a free scheme which teaches pupils in-depth knowledge of plastic waste and how to reduce it but also offers schools the chance to win up to £20,000 for a sustainability project.

Darren said:

” Today, I have contacted all 29 primary schools in Bristol North West, inviting them to take part in Asda’s Plastic Waste lesson plan and competition.

As we all know, plastic waste is a huge issue, both in the UK and globally. Tackling this problem is crucial and I will continue to press for action to reduce plastic pollution – that includes challenging supermarkets to use more recycled materials and reduce their own plastic waste. However, from the perspective of working with young people, I am pleased to see that Asda are looking to inspire the next generation to live sustainably and protect our planet, through an exciting ‘Plastic Mission’ challenge, which finishes with a poster competition, where schools can win up to £20,000 for a sustainability project.

The deadline for entries into the poster competition is 24th July, I urge all schools to get involved”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Darren’s column in Henbury and Brentry News

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones,  has published his latest column in Henbury and Brentry News. The column covers Darren’s work on:

 

 

 

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Darren visits University’s Physics Dept.

On Friday 15th March, Darren visited the University of Bristol’s Physics Department.

Darren said after the visit:

” I was delighted to work with PhD students from Bristol University last week, bringing my experience as a member of the House of Commons Science & Technology Select Committee putting students through their paces in bringing to life how scientific research can help solve our greatest public policy challenges”.

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Darren visits Henbury School

Bristol North West MP, Darren Jones,  has visited Henbury School.

Darren said after the visit:

“Last Friday (15th March) , I visited the new temporary headteacher at Henbury School to better understand the special measures Ofsted outcome, the change in leadership to the Greenshaw Academy, the proposed name change and the plan of action for the future.

Henbury is a great school with a huge amount to be proud of. It’s easy to become negative when a school gets a poor Ofsted and a change in leadership but I have to say that I was impressed with the plan of action for the future. Parents and pupils should be excited about what’s in store and I’m looking forward to visiting again soon to meet the new headteacher who has now been recruited”.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

 

 

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Darren attends Library consultation in Southmead

Labour-run Bristol City Council saved all of the city’s libraries from closure in 2018 but, given the continued decline in government funding, they have asked for our help to look at innovative ways of running the service in the future. Along with constituents, Darren attended an event at the Greenway Centre in early March to talk about ideas to support Southmead, Westbury, Henleaze, Horfield and Lockleaze libraries.

Darren said:

“There were lots of great ideas about modernising our libraries across Bristol North West at the Greenway Centre with Bristol City Council. There are so many exciting opportunities for creating digital, community hubs as a central point of information, gathering and books! I am pleased to see the council thinking ‘outside the box’ and will do what I can to support this process”.

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You can find out more about the ideas gathering on: www.bristol.gov.uk/libraryideas