School’s out for Easter but the spotlight stays on education. Many teachers and pupils are beginning to gear up for the exam season while the politicians, administrators and school managers face a testing time of their own. I want local schools to pass with flying colours.
The Academies programme is having an impact in Haringey with changes afoot across the Borough. I have met with parents, school governors and staff to listen to their views on the impact of the programme on some local schools. Plans for new Free Schools in Haringey have been floated too. My top priority remains ensuring that local children get the best possible start in life through a top quality education system.
I am delighted that Liberal Democrat plans for a Pupil Premium were taken up by the coalition government. The additional money that is now available for children from the poorest families should make a real difference to the opportunities they have. An increase in the Pupil Premium will mean Haringey’s schools will receive £3.5million more than last year – that’s £8.8.million in total for 2012/13. Throughout the country Pupil Premium money is being put to good use by head teachers to provide children with additional tuition, better IT resources and help to work closer with parents.
I am keeping up the pressure to get fair funding for schools in Haringey. Our schools get around £1,500 per pupil less than schools in some neighbouring boroughs. That cannot be right. You can help keep the pressure on. I have set up an online petition. You can add your name to it at http://campaigns.libdems.org.uk/fairfunding.
Experts tell us that what children do outside of term time is hugely important to their achievements in school. I know that from my own experience as a parent and I am sure you will agree. That’s why I hope local children will take full advantage of the outofschool opportunities that are on offer. I recently wrote to local secondary schools about the government’s Summer Schools Programme. That makes extra funds available for summer schools, helping pupils with the transition from primary to secondary school. The government’s National Citizen Service scheme is an exciting programme too and I hope local schools will get fully involved.
Success in school matters so much because of the opportunities it opens up later. If we get things right, our children will realise that there are no limits to what they can achieve. A couple of weeks ago I went along to talk to almost 100 girls at the Channing school. I was really excited to see how interested they were in how government works. Politics will be better if more women get involved so I hope many of them follow through on their ambitions. But whatever it is that motivates them, I will keep working to ensure all local children have a chance to achieve their goals.
Lynne Featherstone, MP for Hornsey & Wood Green
Tel: 020 8340 5459
She blogs at www.LynneFeatherstone.org and is on Twitter at twitter.com/LFeatherstone
Email: [email protected] or write to me at House of Commons, London SW1A