, , , , ,

Darren visits Redmaids High School

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, visited Redmaids High School in Westbury on Trym on 11th October.

Prior to meeting students, Darren also met the two Deputy Heads and discussed issues facing the school including Labour’s conference motion on independent schooling and parking pressures at drop-off and pick-up time.

Darren said:

“I always enjoy my visits to local schools – this was no exception. I was put through my paces and asked lots of interesting questions! I was also honoured to be presented with a book – made and collated by year 8 and 9 students – inspired by Oxfam Educations ‘For the love of’ project which encourages young people to take action on climate change.”

 

 

 

 

, , , ,

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”.

 

 

, , , , ,

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”.

 

, , , , , , , ,

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”.

 

, , , ,

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”.

 

 

 

, , , , ,

Darren visits relaunched Southmead Children’s Centre

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, visited the newly re-launched Southmead Children’s Centre on Friday 30th August.

Darren said:

“It was fantastic to see the Southmead Children’s Centre open today: the centre is keeping the vital legacy of Sure Start alive and kicking with day care, family support and a soon to be launched forest school!

Well done to Bristol City Council, Mayor Marvin Rees, Councillor Helen Godwin and all the team for making sure these hugely important services are available to our local communities – at a time when councils up and down the country are closing children’s centres, we should be proud ours are being revitalised. It was also great to see the fab “Briony from Bristol” again – I need to get her views on the new series of GBBO!”

 

 

 

 

, , , , , ,

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”.

 

, , , , , ,

Darren comments on rising child homelessness

Upon publication of today’s (21st August 2019) report from the Children’s Commissioner into the homeless crisis facing 210,000 children in England, MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has continued to call on the government to roll-out wide-ranging housing and homelessness reforms.

Darren said:

“Today’s heartbreaking report detailing the 210,000 children classed as homeless in England should come as no surprise to any MP. If it has – they haven’t been doing their job.

Every week, my office and I support constituents facing homelessness, sofa surfing or a move into temporary accommodation. This uncertainty often follows families being evicted from private rented accommodation or sudden breakdown of the family unit.

Whilst Bristol City Council is bucking the national trend by building new council housing and working with Housing Associations to build social rent and shared ownership properties, they need more support from government. This isn’t a local issue – that’s why I’ve called for a national building programme for new council housing in Parliament.

Many families can’t afford private rents and they don’t offer long-term security. I grew up in council housing in Lawrence Weston and Shirehampton and value the security it offered my family.

I’ve also said the reckless and short-sighted loss of £1bn from homeless services budgets must be reinstated. The government should be ashamed it has continuously cut vital funding to local councils and organisations who can help homeless back into housing, employment/training and access vital physical and mental health and welfare support. Reinstating homeless budgets cut by Tory governments could help tens of thousands of people – including families.

I will also continue to support key legislation to protect tenants, and implore the government to get on with banning Section 21 evictions, as they first promised back in April”.

, , , , , ,

Darren signs Child Trafficking pledge

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has signed ECPAT UK’s (Every Child Protected Against Trafficking) pledge calling for Stable Futures for all child victims of trafficking.

Darren said:

Child victims of trafficking are just like other young people, with hopes and dreams for the future. While they may have experienced unimaginable trauma, they are resilient, resourceful and full of potential. Yet under the current system, they are often unable to recover, live stable lives and plan for their future. Some of the barriers they face include securing their immigration status, poor decision making and lengthy waits for immigration claims and other important decisions, and a lack of support to navigate the many complex legal and care systems in the UK.

Following difficult journeys to the UK, unaccompanied children may be victims of trafficking, but this often goes undetected by the authorities as there is no one for them to confide in. Having a long term plan in place, a stable immigration status where necessary and someone to support them early on in their recovery would allow each child to live in safety, free of fear and of further instability in their lives. It would allow them to focus on their education, future careers and friendships, just like any other young person. 

That’s why I stand with ECPAT UK’s call for the government to give trafficked children their futures back“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

, , ,

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.