All posts by Suffolk Labour Group

County Council postpones gypsy and traveller site sale

Following a challenge by Labour Councillors on Suffolk County Council the decision over the planned sale of the West Meadows gypsy and traveller site has been postponed until the next Cabinet meeting on the 7th November.

The postponement is an admission that a full consultation with the residents had not taken place and at no stage had the council listened to the concerns of the residents about the planned sale. We can be sure that the gaps in the paper presented to the Cabinet highlighted by the Labour Group were the reason for the decision not to discuss the paper.

Continue reading County Council postpones gypsy and traveller site sale

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More disappointing education results released

Labour’s Education Spokesperson on Suffolk County Council has called for an urgent review of education in Suffolk after another disappointing set of statistics were released.

Cllr Jack Abbott has made the intervention after the latest round of education statistics revealed that pupils in Suffolk continue to lag behind the national average in terms of their attainment levels.

Continue reading More disappointing education results released

‘Disappointing’ Key Stage 1 results released

Following the release of the Key Stage 1 phonics test results by the Department of Education Labour Councillors are calling for Suffolk County Council to do more as once again the phonics test results show Suffolk children are behind the national average in all subjects of reading, writing, mathematics and science.

The figures released today show that there has been no relative increase in the standard of Suffolk pupils at Key Stage 1 despite the administration spending large amounts of money on Raising the Bar and school improvement generally. There was no Key Stage 1 phonics subject in which Suffolk reached the national average in either category of ‘reaching the expected standard’ or ‘working at greater depth’.

Labour Spokesperson for Children’s Services Cllr Helen Armitage; “These results are very disappointing for everyone concerned, it shows that despite the best efforts of the administration Suffolk still lags behind the national average in all four areas of reading writing, maths and science.

“I would like to see more done to ensure that our children are given the support they need to increase their skills in these basics so that less intervention is needed as they move through their school years. All the evidence shows that the better a child’s skills in these core subjects early in life the better their long-term life chances”.

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

The tables can be found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/phonics-screening-check-and-key-stage-1-assessments-england-2017

It’s time to stand up for Suffolk schools

Shrugging your shoulders is not good enough; it’s time to stand up for Suffolk schools

Labour Councillors are calling for tougher action from the Suffolk County Council administration after it was announced that under changes to the Government’s school funding system, Suffolk faces a real-term cut in pupil spending from 2018. Labour are deeply concerned that this significant cut will lead to a drop in educational outcomes for the children of Suffolk.

Under the National Funding Formula (NFF) update, pupil spending in Suffolk schools will be hundreds of pounds below the national average and much lower than in 2010 when the Conservatives came to power. This cut means Suffolk will remain in the bottom 50 authorities for both primary and secondary funding.

According to analysis of Department of Education (DfE) data, pupil spending will fall to £4,347, down from £4,470 in 2010 and well below the funding received in both Essex and Norfolk. For primary school funding, Suffolk will receive £273 less per pupil than the national average; this figure increases to £415 less per pupil in secondary schools.

On nearly every single key performance metric, including Reading, Writing and Mathematics, Suffolk falls behind the national average in Key Stages 1 and 2. Fewer pupils achieve a C grade in GCSE Maths and English in Suffolk than they do nationwide. The difference in attainment between non-disadvantaged and disadvantaged pupils is narrowing but still stands at -5 when compared nationally.[1] Labour are deeply concerned that this issue will be compounded by the proposed cut.

Labour Spokesperson for Education, Skills and ICT Cllr Jack Abbott said; “I make no apology for demanding that our schools are funded properly, to ensure that all young people in Suffolk have an equal opportunity to access high quality education, to protect and support the hardworking staff in our schools.

He added; “It’s about time this Tory County Council made the education of Suffolk’s children a priority and fight for the funding our schools so desperately need.

In response to the cut in pupil funding Gordon Jones, Cabinet Member for Education, was reported to simply saying: “We will continue to work through this revised formula.”[2]

This is simply not good enough.

Cllr Abbott has laid down a challenge to the administration saying; “So, to Gordon Jones, Colin Noble and the rest of your Conservatives colleagues I say this; stop simply shrugging your shoulders and start standing up for Suffolk schools. You’ve awarded yourself an 11% pay rise so stop abdicating responsibility and start earning your keep. Get yourself down to London, bang on Justine Greening’s door and demand that our schools in Suffolk are properly funded.

“An injection of investment into our schools is urgently needed, with the impact of underfunding on pupil performance in Suffolk there for all to see”.

Under inflationary pressures, Suffolk schools have already seen costs rise with staff and courses being cut, and parents increasingly being asked to make up the shortfall for school equipment and school trips. This is a financial situation that has already been described as ‘desperate’ and ‘painfully tight’[3] by headteachers in Suffolk.

What now for the Befriending Scheme?

Statement from Cllr Kathy Bole on the Befriending Scheme

I took part in a phone discussion on BBC Radio Suffolk this morning to discuss Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet decision to withdraw funding to some features of the Befriending Scheme.

I am very disappointed that the council has taken this action despite the importance to people with learning difficulties. However, I am not surprised. This action, is another attack on the lives of disabled people which has been on the agenda since the inception of austerity.

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Goodbye Sandy and welcome back Sarah!

Sandy Martin stepped down from Suffolk County Council on 20 July, after being elected Ipswich Member of Parliament in the June General Election. He had been the St. John’s County Councillor for 20 years, as well as being an Ipswich Borough Councillor from 2002 to 2014.

Sandy served on the Council during the Labour adminstration, focusing on Environment and Transport. Sandy worked to put environmental sustainability at the heart of the Council’s priorities. He helped drive the change in the Council’s approach to waste disposal which led to the ‘three-bin waste collections’ across Suffolk – to this day regular reminder of Sandy’s personal contribution. A keen advocate for sustainable transport, Sandy also led the campaign to secure the cycle contraflow lanes in the centre of Ipswich.

Continue reading Goodbye Sandy and welcome back Sarah!

Suffolk Roadworks Need to Catch up with Everywhere Else!

Letter from Sandra Gage, Leader of the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council

Dear Editor

On Saturday 2 September the Government Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, announced plans to charge Utilities and other highway contractors lane rental by the hour to close our busiest roads in much of the UK to carry out utility or road repairs.

Though this is expected to only apply to Motorway and Trunk roads, it is long overdue and welcome. It will not though, regrettably help us much in Suffolk. Here there are no Motorways, and only the A14, A11 A12 south of Ipswich and A47 in Lowestoft Trunk roads where these new, stricter rules could apply. The rest of the road network and therefore the responsibility of keeping the roads free of over-run roadworks rests with Suffolk County Council.

Continue reading Suffolk Roadworks Need to Catch up with Everywhere Else!

Oulton Broad By-Election Labour Candidate Len Jacklin Supports Lowestoft Third Crossing

 

Dear Editor

This is a rarity, I want to wholeheartedly agree with Peter Aldous MP, Cllr Colin Noble Leader Suffolk County Council and Cllr Mark Bee Leader Waveney District Council.

Getting David Cameron to come and support Peter Aldous and then to get him to promise our Third Crossing was an act of desperation. It was a cynical move to get Mr Aldous re-elected in 2015 and this year, but it worked and as a result we are well into the process of achieving our aspiration of a third crossing. I was a cynic I was a doubter but I am now confident that even people whose judgement I have questioned in the past are now serious.

The plans just announced by Suffolk County Council will not be welcomed by everyone, there will be moaners that say it shouldn’t be a lifting bridge, or that they don’t like the design, there will be people who will say it will never get built, there will be those who want it sooner.

In the current financial climate getting this amount of funding is a real achievement and the top up from Suffolk County Council, not usually willing to actually use it’s, (our) reserves is to be lauded. The design is better than I had reason to expect given the constricted area for access and is pleasing to the eye and the height will mean fewer openings than our existing bascule bridge. Yes, it will take a little longer than some people expected, I myself though am very impressed that an engineering project of this size and complexity which by comparative standards should usually take ten years will be completed in just over six.

The consultation process is soon to begin, should be supported by everyone who ever complained about the existing bascule bridge. Everyone will get the ability to take part, we need to encourage friends, neighbours and family to use this opportunity to show our support and reply to the consultation, yes “they” should know, but this consultation is a procedural requirement by central government, we need to make sure they know.

For years Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia LEP had refused to respond to public demand to build a third crossing, and ease Lowestoft’s traffic congestion. The Suffolk County Council Local Transport Plan 2011-2031 for Lowestoft talks about there being ‘a need in the longer term to secure funding’ and New Anglia LEP, described the project as an afterthought in a three-line paragraph as “A third Crossing over Lake Lothing in Lowestoft remains a long term aspiration”.   In 2013, in response to lobbying from newly elected Lowestoft (Labour) County Councillors this changed, and two years ago in response to more lobbying, a ridiculous proposal to put another bridge next to the current one was seriously proposed by Peter Aldous, Colin Noble, and Mark Bee was dropped in favour of the one proposed now. I am so glad that pressure by the citizens of Waveney have made them all see sense, I’m now convinced they have.

Yours sincerely

Len Jacklin

Labour Candidate for Oulton Broad

Waveney District Council By-Election

Oulton Suffolk County Councillor 2013-2017

 

Rosehill Library re-opens

Rosehill Library in Tomline Road, Ipswich has been reopened following a full refurbishment of the interior. A disabled toilet has been installed and a small extension built to the rear of the building. Having been run in a private house in Alston Road from 1895, the library was the first purposed-built branch in Ipswich and was opened in 1905.

Councillor Mandy Gaylard, speaking at the re-opening ceremony, said: “It is with mixed feelings that I attend this event. On the one hand, it is a celebration of the library refurbishment and, after much lobbying of Suffolk County Council by residents and myself, the painting of the exterior. On the other, tribute has to be paid to Rosehill Readers who campaigned to keep the library when it was threatened with closure in 2011. If it were not for the campaigners, the library would not be here today.”

The recent news from S.C.C. of further cuts in funding to the library service (run for the council by Suffolk Libraries I.P.S.) will lead to the loss of over 50 jobs to the equivalent of 15 full-time staff.