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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 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!”

 

 

 

 

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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 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”.

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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“.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Darren continues to call for new crossing in Lawrence Weston

Following meeting residents and parents of students from Oasis Academy Bank Leaze in May, MP for Bristol North West, Darren Jones wrote to the council and Curo, a Housing Association building new homes in the area, to highlight his concerns about the lack of safe crossing.

Darren also sent a letter to all staff and parents/guardians of students of Oasis Bank Leaze advising how they could support the campaign.

Darren had urged supporters to sign a community-led petition calling for a pedestrian crossing and 20 mph zone near Oasis Academy Bank Leaze.

The lead campaigner has since presented the petition to the council (July 2019) and Darren has received a reply from Curo (click PDF’s below).

Darren said:

“It’s been fantastic to see the community in Lawrence Weston campaigning for a safer school crossing and 20mph zone near Oasis Academy Bank Leaze. I have signed the petition, and wrote to the relevant decision makers, and encourage those who live near, or visit the area, to do support these efforts.

The reply from Curo indicates a willingness to work with the council to improve pedestrian safety in the area, now we need to ensure this doesn’t end up on back-burner.”

Response to Darren Jones MP re. Corbet Close

Site map_Corbet Close

 

 

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Darren congratulates Orchard School on award

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, has congratulated Orchard School in Horfield on their recent Nourish the Workplace award.

Darren said:

“It is great news that Orchard School Bristol have received Nourish the Workplace’s Health and Wellbeing Award!

Teachers and school support staff work exceptionally hard and deserve to have their own health prioritised alongside their pupil’s.

Well done to everyone involved”.

 

 

 

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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 Southmead, Avonmouth business, Westbury, Henleaze and Horfield.

Darren Jones, the MP for Bristol North West, had another packed weekend. On Friday 22nd June, Darren visited a pop-up Great Get Together community event in Southmead, he then toured DS Smith in Avonmouth and hosted a pub politics at the Crafty Cow. On Saturday 23rd June, Darren hosted Powered by You stalls in Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze and then hosted his own Great Get Together Picnic in Horfield at the Ardagh Trust’s Café.

Darren said:

“It has been a busy 48 hours! On Friday, I visited an event in Southmead and toured DS Smith in Avonmouth to hear about their plans for improving recycling processes and re-using cardboard boxes within 14 days. I then hosted a Pub Politics at the Crafty Cow in Horfield and we chatted about 5g, buses, the proposed arena and local transport.

Then on Saturday, I held “Powered by You” street stalls in Westbury and Henleaze and then got to enjoy a couple of hours in the sunshine at the Ardagh Trust’s Café for my Great Get Together Picnic in honour of my colleague Jo Cox. Thanks to everyone who came along to any of these events and chatted about local or nationals issues”.