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Darren writes to Education Minister

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones  has written to Nick Gibb, the Education Minister calling for him to listen to feedback from thirteen local head teachers and review the further cuts of £5m to education budgets in the constituency.

Darren said:

“Thirteen Bristol North West head teachers recently shared their concerns with the Education Minister Nick Gibb. In his reply he ignored their concerns so I have followed up asking that he urgently reviews the honest and measured feedback and stops ‘shifting the goalposts’ by quoting data that doesn’t reflect the real budget cuts or challenges our schools are facing. Our children’s education can’t be bought on the cheap”.

 

 

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Darren to host family-themed Picnic Politics

Darren Jones MP is hosting a family-themed ‘picnic politics’ at Blaise Castle on Friday 31st August. If you would like to share your experiences of accessing childcare, school places, support for children with SEND and the challenges of being a modern working parent please stop-by.

Bring a picnic (and the kids!) and join Darren by the grassed area next to the play area and café from 1.30 -3.30. Well-behaved dogs on a lead are also welcome.

Darren said:

“I want to hear from local parents about their experiences – I know from being a new parent myself that being a modern parent is both rewarding and challenging – I want to know what’s working well for local families and what isn’t. Join me on Friday 31st to share your feedback in an informal setting’.

 

 

Darren writes to Government calling for review into 16-17 year old children’s services

The Government are reviewing children’s services for 16-17 year olds. Children’s services provide extra support to vulnerable children.

However, they are only reviewing these services in relation to education outcomes. But we know outcomes are worse across employment and health outcomes as well. That’s why Darren wrote to the Government to ask they extend the review to consider these outcomes as well.

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Darren meets Pickles!

On Friday 6th July, Darren joined local residents, Greenway Centre staff and Southmead Councillors Helen Godwin and Brenda Massey in meeting a new addition to the Greenway Café- Pickles McPrickles the Gromit.

Darren said after the visit:

“It was fantastic to see Pickles so at home at the Greenway Centre in Southmead and all in aid of Gromit Unleashed – a truly wonderful Bristol charity that benefits families right across our city. Visit Pickles, enjoy a snack in the café, seek out the other Bristol North West Gromit at Blaise Castle and be sure to donate to this great cause!”

 

 

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Darren visits Southmead Community Centre and Westbury on Trym C of E Academy

On Saturday 30th  June, as part of his programme of summer fete visits, Darren Jones MP visited Southmead Community Centre and Westbury on Trym Church of England Academy.

Darren said after the visits:

“It’s the start of the summer fayre session! I popped by the excellent Southmead Community Centre and WOT PTA last weekend. These fantastic events are all down to the dedication of excellent volunteers – they work really hard to make these events a success for local families and the community – thank you!”

You can follow Darren’s work on education here.

 

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Darren asks experts about Energy Drinks

The Science and Technology Committee are currently holding an inquiry into energy drinks. They are looking at the effect of these drinks on health, particularly of young people and children.

Darren asked a board of academics, dietitians and a representative from a teachers union about this issue. He focused on the advertising of energy drinks, and how this might affect their consumption.

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Darren signs letter to Jeremy Hunt backing NSPCC campaign supporting Childline

Darren has signed a letter to Jeremy Hunt from the NSPCC, calling for more funding for Childline. Childline has a significant role to play in children’s mental health care, with 22,546 children struggling with suicidal thoughts and feelings calling the line in 2016-17.

Darren wrote this about the letter:

I was delighted to sign this open letter to Jeremy Hunt backing the @NSPCC’s Are You There campaign with 130 other MPs and Peers.

Childline is providing a crucial round-the-clock service to children struggling with their mental health, with one in three counselling sessions now relating to mental and emotional health

Together, we’re calling on Government to increase funding to Childline to ensure that no child’s mental health is left on the line.

You can read the full content of the letter here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/23/childline-must-receive-funding-cope-demand-suicidal-children/

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Darren calls for increased schools funding and continued free school meals

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has backed calls – ahead of today’s spring budget – for the government to rethink schools funding and changes to free school meals under Universal Credit.

New research by the school cuts coalition of unions (NEU, NAHT, ASCL, UNISON, GMB Union and Unite the union) shows that class sizes are rising in most schools in Bristol North West as a result of the Government’s cuts to education.

There is a particular problem in secondary schools because of a shortfall of £500m a year to funding for 11 – 16-year olds between 2015/16 and 2019/20, plus the deep cuts to sixth form funding (over 17% per pupil since 2010).

62% of secondary schools in England have increased the size of their classes in the last two years (2014/15 to 2016/17). In Bristol North West, secondary schools have an average of 1.2 more students in every class. The average income per pupil in Bristol North West’s secondary schools has also dropped from £5995 in 2015/16 to a forecast of £5247 in 2019/20.

Bristol North West’s primary schools are also not immune with average class sizes having risen by 0.6 pupils per class, this comes alongside 46% of primary schools seeing the pupil to teacher ratio decreasing, leaving pupils with less support.

Darren said:

“ These figures show that the Government is failing in its stated aim to even out the differences in education – 100% of secondary schools in Bristol North West have seen a decrease in the Teaching Assistant to pupil ratio, with 50% also seeing a drop-in pupil to Teacher ratio. 31% of secondary school students also currently access Free Schools Meals, which are at risk because of changes to Universal Credit – we can’t stand back and let these cuts happen – the impact they will have on our children and their families will last a lifetime. Children and young people only get one chance at school and college and we know that education cuts never heal.

As a country we should be investing in this, and future, generations of young people. I am continuing to call on the Government to urgently address the funding crisis, protect free school meals and not continue to ignore these very real problems. I will be writing to each Bristol North West school to ask how the lack of funding will continue to impact their staff and pupils – the government must understand once and for all that good quality education is a price worth paying”.

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Darren backs ‘The Year of Engineering’

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has pledged his support to a national campaign to get more young people (and those from a diverse range of backgrounds) into engineering, in an effort to tackle a major skills gap.

The Year of Engineering, which launched on Monday 15th January, will see government work with hundreds of industry partners to raise the profile of engineering among young people aged 7-16, their parents and their teachers. This will include offering at least a million direct experiences of engineering to young people from all backgrounds – from behind the scenes tours and family days out, to school visits and the chance to meet engineering role models.

Darren Jones MP said:

” The UK faces an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year, with half of companies in the sector saying the shortage is having a significant impact on productivity and growth. By bringing young people from all backgrounds face to face with engineering experiences and role models, the campaign aims to showcase the creativity and innovation of engineering careers and widen the pool of young people who consider the profession, diversifying a workforce that is currently 91% male and 94% white! I am pleased to support any campaign that encourages young people in my constituency to aim high and fulfil their potential”.

 

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Darren calls for free schools meals to be protected

MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones has written to the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening, to call for the government to reconsider implementing a threshold for universal credit claimants entitlement to free schools meals for their children.

Darren Jones MP said:

“Universal Credit is coming to Bristol North West in September 2018. The Government is currently consulting on eligibility for free school meals under Universal Credit, and is proposing the introduction of an earning threshold of £7,400 to determine eligibility.

Up to now, the Government has allowed all claimants on Universal Credit to receive free school meals. Introducing this proposed earnings threshold represents a huge step backwards. The Children’s Society have estimated that this would lead to over one million children in poverty, and over 5000 in Bristol, missing out on free school meals. I’ve written to Justine Greening to raise my concerns about this”.