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Darren asks for £1bn for nurse training

Cuts to nursing bursaries are resulting in negative outcomes for student nurses and patients who rely on there being sufficient staffing. Darren wrote to the Health Secretary to ask him to fund nurse training properly.
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Darren demands action on state nursery schools funding

Darren sent a previous letter to the Government on this issue. This received a reply to which Bristol’s Head of Children’s Services
said ‘many nursery schools will not be able to wait’ as suggested by the Government. This prompted Darren wrote to the Government to demand action.
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Darren calls for constituents to support library consultation

Get involved! Dates for your diary:

Labour-run Bristol City Council saved all of the city’s libraries from closure last year but, given the continued decline in government funding, they need our help to look at innovative ways of running the service in the future.

The council are hosting 4 events in Bristol North West to cover the libraries in our patch:

* Greenway Centre, Doncaster Road to talk about Southmead, Westbury, Henleaze, Horfield and Lockleaze libraries on: Wednesday 6 March 10 am to 12 pm or
Saturday 9 March 10 am to 12 pm.

* Shirehampton Public Hall,
Station Road to talk about Henbury, Shirehampton, Avonmouth and Sea Mills libraries on Monday 11 March 7pm to 9pm or Wednesday 13 March 10am to 12pm.

Spaces at these events must be booked in advance online. Reserve a space and find out more about the ideas gathering on:

www.bristol.gov.uk/libraryideas

 

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Darren visits Shirehampton School

As part of his mission to visit every school in Bristol North West, Darren Jones MP has visited St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School in Shirehampton for a festive assembly.

Darren said after the visit:

“On 15th December, I visited St Bernard’s Catholic Primary School in Shirehampton to take part in their festive assembly. I always enjoy visiting schools, meeting students and staff and hopefully inspiring the next generation to participate in democracy and politics. It’s heart-warming and inspiring to hear of the huge range of ambitions and plans that our young people have.

Education can’t be done on the cheap and schools must have the funding they need to enable all students to meet their potential. I am proud to show my support today – and every day – to end the short-sighted and cruel government cuts to education”.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

 

 

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Darren backs Royal College of Nursing

Darren Jones, MP for Bristol North West has spoken about his continued support for nurses in higher education.

Darren said:

“I’m continuing to support the Royal College of Nursing‘s campaign calling on the government to put a minimum of £1bn back into nursing higher education.

Nursing students are unique. Their courses are longer than other degrees and, on top of their studies, they spend additional time on clinical placement working all hours of the day and night.

Many nursing students are struggling financially because they don’t have time to work to support themselves. It’s causing some students to quit their courses.

It’s no surprise then that since the changes to nursing degree funding in 2016, there are nearly 900 fewer nurses due to start at university.

The Government must fix this. It must look again at how it funds nursing higher education, including by putting a minimum of £1bn a year back into the system to support students.

There are already almost 41,000 nursing vacancies in England alone. Without action now this could rise to at least 48,000 in the next five years, because there won’t be enough newly qualified nurses to address this shortfall.

In a speech at the RCN on 31st October 2018 the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care acknowledged the significant gap in the nursing workforce and recognised action is needed. He said, “simply put: we need more (nurses). And that means more permanent nurses”. He also said that (nursing students) “must get the support they need to complete their training so they can serve in our NHS”. Yet the government have done nothing to change the current situation!

I continue to call upon the government to #FundOurFuture nurses”.

You can get involved, and support the campaign, here: https://www.rcn.org.uk/…/ca…/student-funding-fund-our-future  

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Darren plants tree saplings at Oasis Academy Long Cross

As part of his mission to visit every school in Bristol North West, Darren Jones MP has visited Oasis Academy Long Cross in Lawrence Weston to meet staff and students and take part in a tree sapling planting for Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

Five trees were donated to Darren Jones MP thanks to a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV.

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:

i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable,

ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life,

iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.

Darren said after the visit:

“I have planted 5 tree saplings – two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel today (30th November) alongside students from Oasis Academy Long Cross in Lawrence Weston. I grew up in Lawrence Weston, and attended the former guise of this school so it is particularly special for me to visit as the local MP. I have chosen to plant my saplings at a local school as I think it’s vital that children and young people get to experience planting and nurturing trees and plants first-hand.

It’s great all four Bristol MPs took part and there will be 20 new hazel, silver birch and rowan trees across the city thanks to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project. As part of my visit, I also got to speak to students, school leaders and teaching staff which is always really inspirational but also worrying as I hear first-hand the impact austerity politics and cuts have had on staff and the services they can deliver. I will continue to call for proper and fair school funding – education can not be done ‘on the cheap'”.

Woodland Trust Chief Executive, Beccy Speight said:

“We are delighted so many MPs have decided to join us in our bid to plant trees as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. We all need trees. They are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity. They are crucial in improving soil health and water quality, reducing carbon, trapping pollutants, slowing the flow of flood water, sheltering livestock, providing a home for wildlife or a space for us to breathe. I hope the residents of Bristol North West will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

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Darren demands stop to Universal Credit roll-out

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed a letter, alongside all South West Labour MPs, calling on Amber Rudd the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to stop the roll-out of Universal Credit and for immediate measure to be put in place to reverse the hardships it has caused.

This follow’s Darren’s extensive work on Universal Credit:

Darren first called for a delay to the roll out to new benefit claimants in October 2017. Universal Credit was, at that time, due to be rolled-out from Horfield and Shirehampton Job Centres in May 2018 (this was delayed until September 2018 with some additional funding in place).

Darren also backed large-scale changes to the full migration of existing benefit claimants onto Universal Credit in advance of the 2017 Autumn Budget and in advance of the 2018 Autumn Budget, he called on the Chancellor to keep the government’s promise to ensure no benefit claimant would suffer hardship, or less income, under Universal Credit.

Darren also wrote to then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, calling for an end to the ‘two-child policy’ on benefits in October 2018 and – ahead of the 2018 Spring Budget – for free schools to be protected under the Universal Credit roll-out.

Darren said:

“Universal Credit, as it stands, is a cruel and shambolic system forcing many into debt. Claims often take weeks and weeks to resolve! I am clear that it should not take people to lose their homes, resort to food banks or go to unscrupulous lenders to survive for the government to act – especially when charities, MPs and advice organisations have been shouting warnings about financial hardship and waiting times for well over a year. I call upon the Secretary of State to listen to concerns and stop the roll-out of Universal Credit”.

Darren writes to Government on future of funding for State Nursery Schools

On the 24th of October 2018, Darren wrote to express his concern at the lack of funding for maintained (i.e. state) nursery schools. Maintained nursery schools have to meet similar regulatory standards to schools for other age groups, but their funding does not reflect this. Their private sector counterparts do not have to meet this standard.

Budget 2018: funding of state nursery schools

Maintained nursery schools provide great benefit to the children of Bristol North West, especially for children from families on lower incomes.

 

Bristol is a city full of promise but it’s also an incredibly unequal place. In my constituency I represent some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country as well as some of the most affluent. This often means that your chances in life – be it due to education, training or health – can be significantly different depending on which postcode you’re born in, such postcodes often being only hundreds of yards apart.

 

Good Early Years education for everyone is key to levelling this playing field in Bristol. Outcomes are improving at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage: 69% of children achieved a good level of development in 2018, up 1.3% this year. The gap between those in the 30% most disadvantaged areas and their peers has narrowed by 5% in four years, to 13%. State nursery schools are a key part of this: 63% of them are graded outstanding by Ofsted.

 

Despite this, nursery schools in Bristol and across the country are on the brink of bankruptcy. In 2016-17, 18% of maintained nursery schools were in deficit. They form part of a childcare provider system missing £370 million in funding, yet with a promised 33% in additional cuts from 2020.

 

Furthermore, the current funding system places state nursery schools under additional unnecessary pressure. Despite state nursery schools having to meet higher regulatory standards as schools, instead of the less rigorous regulation required of private and voluntary sector equivalents, they are not given block funding or premises financing, which all other schools are.

 

Your colleague, Nadim Zahawi MP, has said that this will be reviewed. But I’m writing today to stress the urgency of this issue, with the hope that you might announce proper funding for nursery schools in your budget on Monday.

 

Treating nursery schools as other schools, with proper funding, will provide a sustainable future for nursery schools allowing them to continue to be able to transform the life chances of many of my constituents.

In late November a reply was received from the Government:

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Darren demands proper funding of Bristol schools

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones said:

“Today (30th Nov) is #FundingFriday – where members of the National Education Union (NEU) will be calling on the government to fund education and our young people’s futures properly. Not those ‘little extras’ that the chancellor patronisingly referred to in the Autumn Budget but the must-haves like staff, safe and warm buildings and learning equipment!

I’ll be visiting Oasis Academy Long Cross today to meet with students, staff and governors to talk about how cuts are affecting them and see first-hand how hard staff are working to compensate for the lack of government support. I regularly visit schools across Bristol North West so I understand the huge pressure leaders are under to make cuts and how many teaching staff are considering leaving the profession as the stress is unbearable.

Members of the NEU – the leaders, teachers and support staff in our local schools – are saying enough is enough – I agree! I am proud to show my support today – and every day – for the campaign to end short-sighted and cruel school cuts“.

You can support the NEU’s campaign here: https://neu.org.uk/handsupsupporters

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

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Darren opens The Hive at Claremont School

As part of his mission to visit every school in Bristol North West, Darren Jones MP recently visited Claremont School in Henleaze to open their new post-16 centre ‘The Hive’.

Darren said after the visit:

” A couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of opening the new post-16 centre ‘The Hive’ at Claremont School in Henleaze.

The building work at the Special Educational Needs School started back in May and included extending and converting pre-existing structures, with the final work finished in September 2018.

The benefit of moving post-16 students to this site is extensive. It’s of vital importance, older students have access to community learning with activities such as visiting the shops on the High Street, visiting supermarkets and cafes in Henleaze, getting the bus to the Mall and city centre, as well as trips to the community café and allotments at Golden Hill.

I was told it was difficult for young people and school staff to access community learning from the Redland site. However, with local amenities just minutes away from the site in Henleaze this was felt to be an ideal position for The Hive.

I wish the new centre, its students and school staff every success. It is absolutely vital every young person has first class support and education and can learn in a safe and supported environment”.

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

(Photo Credit: Sue Thomas – Henleaze and Westbury Voice)

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