Suffolk GCSE results data show no improvement

Labour’s Education Spokesperson Cllr Jack Abbott has described Suffolk County Council’s ‘Raising the Bar’ initiative as a ‘failure’ after Suffolk’s position of 108th in the Local Authority attainment league table data was revealed.

The Department for Education (DfE) released figures today (25th January 2018) which show that the average GCSE attainment levels of pupils in Suffolk is still in the bottom third of all local authorities across the country.

Continue reading Suffolk GCSE results data show no improvement

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School transport petition surges past 6,000 signatures

More than six thousand people have signed a petition launched by a concerned parent in response to Suffolk County Council’s controversial plans to cut free school transport.

Nikki Botting, a parent of two children at Thurston Community College, Bury St Edmunds, said that she was ‘thrilled’ but ‘not surprised’ by the success of the petition, given the strength of feeling on the issue.

The petition, which calls for the withdrawal of the proposals, has, at the time of writing, reached 6,455 signatures and is predicted to be one of the largest petitions ever received by Suffolk County Council.

Mrs Botting said; “Every child deserves free transport to their catchment school.  Suffolk County Council promised to provide children the best education possible with as much choice and as few transitions as possible.  This proposal would mean thousands of children moving schools mid-way through their education. The changes would ensure further traffic chaos as some parents will be forced to take on the journeys themselves.  Families who cannot afford the £1,000 annual fee would have no choice at all about their child’s school.

“SCC want us to believe that the county are funding some extravagant parent choice system, but in reality we are talking about ordinary tax-paying families trying to send their children to their allocated school.  The Council needs to think again.”

The petition adds to the growing pressure on the Conservative administration at Suffolk County Council who have faced heavy criticism for their plans. Headteachers have labelled the consultation as ‘total baloney’ with students describing the potential cuts as ‘catastrophic’.

Cllr Jack Abbott, Opposition Spokesperson for Education, commented; “Councillor Gordon Jones says that he is listening. If that’s the case, then he needs to listen to the thousands of people who have signed this petition and put an end to the uncertainty and worry he is causing families and teachers. He must withdraw these damaging proposals immediately.”

You can sign the ‘Keep free school buses to Suffolk school’ petition here. Full details of the consultation are available here.

Suffolk County Council budget cuts revealed

Conservatives on Suffolk County Council have released the details of their 2018/19 budget cuts ahead of next week’s Cabinet meeting which confirms they will cut a further £26.8m of services.

The papers confirm the there will be £12m taken from the already stretched Adult and Community Services (ACS) budget with the largest impact being on the purchasing of care. Given the struggles of ACS to work within last year’s budget further cuts will leave the care service even further stretched.

Continue reading Suffolk County Council budget cuts revealed

Citizen Advice cuts harm Suffolk residents

Statement by Cllr Sarah Adams Leader of the Labour Group

Conservatives on Suffolk County Council are currently putting together the final 2018/19 budget and about to rubber stamp over £20m of cuts to public services. Some of these savings are quite sensible, or understandable. But some of them are punitive, short-sighted and just downright wrong.

We understand the budget limitations and accept that we have to balance the books. But the salami slicing of services that the County Council seem to believe in is unsustainable for the long term. The Labour Group believe in invest to save. Spending money today to help offset the potential short fall in funding that a Conservative government will bring for tomorrow.

Continue reading Citizen Advice cuts harm Suffolk residents

Schools Forum backs Labour’s childcare help plea

Labour’s Children’s Services spokesperson, Cllr Helen Armitage, has cautiously welcomed the news that the Early Years funding allocation from Suffolk County Council is set to rise and that changes to deprivation and special needs funding are to be introduced.

The Schools Forum committee (11th January 2018) will recommend to the County Council that funding for children in the Early Years setting should be increased to £4.00 and that Special Education Needs should be paid to providers on a needs basis rather than as 4p per hour per child no matter what their need. Changes to deprivation payments mean that these will now be targeted at those that need them.

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Suffolk County Council unanimously backs Autism support motion

A motion to investigate how the council can improve diagnostics and support for those suffering with Autism/ ADHD spectrum disorders has been unanimously passed at the Suffolk County Council meeting on 7th December 2017.

The motion called on the County Council to refresh its autism strategy and explore ways of improving the diagnosis times for those suffering from the condition as well as providing more support for those who need it.

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Suffolk County Council unanimously supports WASPI campaign

A cross party motion supporting the campaign led by the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) has been unanimously passed at the Suffolk County Council meeting on 7th December 2017.

The motion called on the County Council to write to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to reconsider the transitional arrangements for equalisation of the pension age. The motion was proposed by Labour’s Cllr Mandy Gaylard and Seconded by Cllr Caroline Page of the Liberal Democrats.

Continue reading Suffolk County Council unanimously supports WASPI campaign

Home to School Transport consultation is nothing but a sham

Labour Education and Skills Spokesperson Jack Abbott writes

 

Times are hard at Suffolk County Council. Another £27m is to be cut from the budget and there are many more years of cuts on the horizon. The need to trim budgets and cut costs at the whim of central government is leaving the council in an impossible situation.

Continue reading Home to School Transport consultation is nothing but a sham

Labour is asking Suffolk County Council to back Suffolk WASPI Campaign

At the 7 December Full Council, Labour Leader Sandra Gage will propose, and Liberal Democrat Women’s Spokesperson Caroline Page will second a Motion requiring the Council to write to the Secretary of State for Works and Pensions, asking that the hurried, unfair roll-out of delayed state pension start date for women born between 1950 and 1959 should be reviewed immediately.

Continue reading Labour is asking Suffolk County Council to back Suffolk WASPI Campaign