I am campaigning for:
Better special educational needs provision and additional funding for post-16 education to improve young people's skills.
When conducting school visits a consistent theme raised by teachers has been the pressures upon special educational needs services within Havering. I have highlighted these pressures to Education Ministers, in meetings and in visits to the constituency, including from the then Secretary of State, Justine Greening MP, and the Council's Director of Children's Services. I was pleased when, following these representations, the Government announced an additional £250m of high needs funding split between the 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years. When looking on a borough by borough basis, Havering will receive £611,278 extra in 2019-20, in addition to its existing allocation. More recently, I was pleased to learn that the Council announced that it would be working with Nelmes Primary School to add a 12-place provision for special educational needs pupils between 4 and 11 with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Speech, Language and Communication Needs. More information on the additional SEN funding and SEN provision at Nelmes Primary School can be found here and here.
I have been supportive of campaigns to increase per-pupil funding for post-16 education to support their efforts to train and teach young people the skills they need to access well-paid jobs in the modern economy. I have met frequently with the Principal of Havering Sixth Form College, Paul Wakeling on this matter and I have highlighted this in correspondence with Treasury and Education Ministers in correspondence and parliamentary debates. Following these representations, as well as cross-party efforts, the Chancellor announced this September that further education and sixth forms would receive £400m of additional funding, the single biggest increase since 2010. More information on my campaign for post-16 education funding and the Chancellor's announcement can be found here.
Higher quality secondary education to match the strong performance of our primary schools.
I have made it a priority from my election to visit each school within my constituency to speak with the Headteacher and their colleagues to get to know the school community and its needs. I have then been able to feedback any concerns to the Council as the local education authority and also Ministers, delivering some of the successes outlined above. I was pleased that, following these representations, education was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Government's recent spending review with every school receiving increases in funding in line with inflation or higher. Now every secondary school will receive at least £5,000 per pupil and every primary school will receive £3,750 per pupil. I trust that this increased funding will help drive further improvements in secondary school performance in Havering. Last year, 7 of the 10 secondary schools in my constituency improved upon their Progress 8 score from the preceding year.
Improved links between businesses, schools and policymakers so that our local students can access the best opportunities.
When carrying out school visits my team and I always seek to facilitate greater discussion between schools and local businesses or other stakeholders to maximise opportunities for local students. This has included putting Havering College into contact with the Lower Thames Crossing Team.