Tag Archives: Education

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


Conservatives vote against childcare help motion

Labour councillors today proposed a motion to a meeting of Suffolk County Council calling on the administration to help beleaguered childcare providers. The motion was rejected by Conservative councillors, despite this being an election promise.

The motion called on the administration to lobby government to change the Early Years Funding Formula and provide more money for Childcare providers as they seek to provide 30 hours free childcare across the county, but Conservatives thought it better to vote against Labour rather than support the motion whose sole purpose was to help childcare providers.

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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.

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‘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’.

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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.

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Sonia Barker’s Speech on Education during Budget debate

Remember ‘No School an Island’? How about no community an island or no pupil an island as an aim? How can this be achieved?

There needs to be far more of a Strategic Overview of services for young people in Suffolk.

Firstly, Home to School Transport. By reversing the proposed cuts to Home to School Transport of £0.55m and by giving Revenue Enhancement to Discretionary Post 16 Transport of £0.20m the amendment will compensate for the £0.2m cut in 16/17, to ensure that charges for discretionary travel does not limit the opportunities for low income families – especially for young people, so they are not prevented from furthering their studies due to rural isolation.

The Social Mobility of Suffolk young people cannot improve if they cannot get to the most appropriate courses for their future direction due to a lack of transport.

Let’s support young people to move literally in the right direction.

Secondly, there must be a far greater coordinated push on Teacher Recruitment and Retention via a Revenue Enhancement of £0.20m – to enhance the resources and support budget to attract far more excellent teachers to Suffolk.

This is a national issue and any long term response or solution must come from central government. However, a local injection of funds for an immediate relief is necessary.

Having spoken to the Department for Education recently, they confirmed this approach and were sympathetic to the amendment’s aim for teacher recruitment.

Used creatively, the extra funding could attract specialist teachers to Suffolk whose expertise and excellent practice could then be shared amongst a number of schools, thereby raising attainment.

Thirdly, reversing the cut made to Early Years Help and Specialist Services CYP Inclusive services fund for Autism and ADHD in 15/16. To provide an enhanced diagnostic service for families of children and young people with ADHD and Autism to enable them to access the services they need.

I really should not have to say yet again that a cut  of £0.25m be reversed for services to support some of the most vulnerable children and their families in Suffolk.  Bearing in mind that many families will face the loss of the specialist support offered by Autism Suffolk as a result of cuts to their service at the end of March 2017.

The Labour Amendment aims to ensure that no school, community, pupil or family is an island marooned by cuts to services and lack of affordable transport.

If you believe in a county where equality of opportunity is paramount, where excellent teachers are encouraged and retained and the most vulnerable pupils are supported, then vote for the Labour Amendment.

SetWidth160-2013-05-14 Sonia Barker informal WS