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Darren celebrates Filton Avenue Nursery School

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones recently visited the 80th birthday celebrations of Filton Avenue State-Maintained Nursery School. Darren has also recently written to the new Children’s Minister, Kemi Badenoch, to ask for more money for state-funded nursery schools.

Darren said:

“Happy 80th birthday to Filton Avenue Nursery School. Bristol is one of only a few places to still have schools (with teachers!) to help prepare pre-primary school pupils, and they do a fantastic job at a time of insecure funding from government. Here’s to the next 80 years”.

 

 

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Darren receives response on nursery funding

Bristol North West MP Darren Jones has received a reply from Nick Gibb, the School Standards Minister, to his letter urging investment in maintained nurseries.

Jones said:

This is a deeply disappointing reply: it rehearses the Government’s talking points on early years spending but fails to address any of the specific issues raised in my initial letter, and will give no comfort at all to nursery providers facing years of funding uncertainty.

The letter is below:

 

 

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Darren’s quizzed by Scouts

Darren Jones MP was recently quizzed by the 18th Scout Group ‘Spitfire Explorers’ as part of their work to achieve their media badge. Darren met the group and was asked a series of questions by the scouts.

Darren said:

” It was fantastic to join the Spitfire Explorer Scouts – they put me through my paces and hopefully I have even persuaded some of them to run for public office or interview politicians in the years to come. UK Scouting is doing great work in Bristol and that must be celebrated”.

 

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Darren welcomes Google and Parent Zone to Stoke Park Primary

Darren Jones MP recently welcomed Google and Parent Zone to Stoke Park Primary to lead an assembly on internet safety.

Darren said:

” It was fantastic to join teachers, students, Parent Zone and Google UK at Stoke Park Primary for a recent ‘Be Internet Legends’ assembly.

The assembly included tips for students and their parents on how they can stay safe online whilst being confident using the technology we now rely on.

It’s so important that we teach children in Bristol to thrive in the digital age and I am pleased that Google and Parent Zone are leading the way on this important issue”.

 

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Darren calls for investment in nurseries

MP for Bristol North West Darren Jones has written to the new Children’s Minister, Kemi Badenoch, to ask for more money for state-funded nursery schools.

Darren said:

“Maintained nurseries face real uncertainty about their long-term funding. Although the Department for Education has announced a stop-gap spending package of £24 million, nursery providers in Bristol North West are still waiting on information from central government about how and when this will be spent”.

 

 

 

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Darren demands better funding for Bristol’s Colleges and Sixth Forms

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, has signed a cross-party letter calling on the Chancellor to invest in Further Education (FE) post-16 Colleges and Sixth Forms ahead of the forthcoming spending review, which will be held in September 2019.

Darren said:

“Whilst Brexit is dominating headlines – the country’s education system continues to feel the strain because of massive funding cuts. Whilst education across the board has faced extensive cuts – FE has faced the biggest squeeze and this has led to vital student support services such as mental health provision and employability skills being cut, foreign language courses dropped, and STEM subjects ditched across the country.

This is no way to invest in the future of this country, and nor will it help keep the UK’s workforce’s skills on a par with other nations. At a time when we’re facing job losses because of automation and Brexit, require tech. and innovation to help resolve some of the biggest challenges the planet faces and the fourth industrial revolution – we should be investing in wide-ranging skills and ensuring student’s extra-curricular support needs are met.

That’s why I’ve signed a cross-party letter calling on the Chancellor to boost FE funding in his forthcoming spending review – having said that he should also be investing in nursery, primary and secondary education too. The pressure schools and FE providers in Bristol are under is simply unacceptable. As I’ve said time and again – education can’t be done on the cheap. We must raise the rate“.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

Edit: 03/09/19:

After a funding announcement made by the government, in advance of the Chancellor’s spending review on 4th September, Darren said:

“On Saturday 31st August, the government announced that it would increase FE funding in tomorrow’s spending round, but the increase is likely to be around £200 per student – well short of the £760 per student boost that I, the Raise the Rate campaign and Parliament’s cross-party Education Select Committee is calling for.

Two cuts to sixth form funding were made after 2010, and the funding rate has been frozen at £4,000 since 2013. A recent survey for the campaign found that funding pressures had led 51% of schools and colleges across England to cut courses in languages and 78% to reduce student support services or extra-curricular activities. Over three quarters (76%) of schools and colleges reported that the funding they are due to receive this year will not be sufficient to provide the support required by disadvantaged students. £200 extra per pupil is very welcome, but lets not kid ourselves this will resolve the cuts FE has had to make to the variety of lessons, student support or extra curricular activities”.

 

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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”.