Morley Memorial plans

morley-plansOur local primary school, Morley Memorial, is up for improvements. The school is over 100 years old and some of its buildings need to be be brought up to modern standards.

The County Council has plans for the school to have three new classrooms plus long overdue repairs. The changes will enable the whole school to be on one site, bringing the Reception class from the two-storey Early Years house on the south side of Blinco Grove over to join the rest of the school. Having all the children at ground floor level and avoiding the need to get 50 small children across the road twice or three times a day will be safer and allow more time for education and play.

The Council intends to convert the Early Years building into a day centre, which will provide much needed day care places for children of working parents.

Morley’s governing body and the County Council have been working up the plans for years, and the planning application was lodged in September. Consultation has been very quiet, and there have only been two public representations, both objections. So the Council has extended the consultation deadline: you now have until the first week of January to comment. The application will be determined (by the County Council Planning Department) on 19th January.

 

The new Party President of the Liberal Democrats is Baroness Sal Brinton, who for many years worked and lived in Cambridge, including a spell in Cavendish Avenue. Sal stood twice for Parliament in South East Cambridgeshire before moving to Watford and was Education Spokes and Group Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Cambridgeshire County Council.

But her experience is not limited to politics: she started her career working on Dr Who and Playschool, and later worked as Bursar at two university colleges as well as running local charities, eg Christian Blind Mission.
Sal said: “I am honoured to have been elected President by the members of the Liberal Democrats.
“My role will be to represent the members, and make the changes that they want happen.
“My first priority will be to move the renowned campaign fighting ability of the Lib Dems into top gear, so that we win more seats in both Westminster and in councils across the UK in the General and Local Elections.”

County Council budget consultation

budgetCambridgeshire County Council is seeking economies of nearly £150m over the next five years, to cope with a growing population and less funding from central government. The Council has launched its annual consultation and is asking residents for views on what the priorities should be for 2015/16.

Residents are being asked to give the council their views on where it should be saving money. An online consultation has been launched this week (August 11) and there will also be door-to-door surveying. The survey looks at specific issues surrounding our savings whilst also seeking public opinion around council tax levels.

You can contribute on the County’s dedicated budget site, which shows graphically how the ‘cake’ is divided at present (two huge slices for children’s and adults services, a modest slice for transport and slivers for everything else).

There is a series of questions about the Council’s current objectives and you’re asked to say how important they are firstly for you and your family; and secondly, for Cambridgeshire as a whole. There’s also a chance to choose three areas to spend extra money on in the (unlikely) event that finances improve.

Then the slightly academic questions of whether you would raise council tax in order to avert cuts to services, or to improve them. Academic because for many years, councils have been capped, not allowed by central government to raise council tax by more than 2%.

Comments about the Council’s priorities or ideas for delivering services better or more efficiently can also be sent to:

Research & Performance Team: Budget Consultation, SH1306 Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge CB3 0AP

The consultation closes on 29 September 2014.

Congratulations, Queen Emma!

Queens' FederationWell done to Queen Emma Primary School, which has just received a ‘good school’ rating on its first OFSTED report. This is very impressive, as the main school has only been open for 18 months, and the nursery only 3 weeks!

The Queen Emma, on the old Netherhall site in Gunhild Way, is the sister school of the well established Queen Edith’s Primary School in Godwin Way. Both are run under the aegis of the Queens’ Federation.

The school was judged good in terms of overall effectiveness, and outstanding in two areas: pupil behaviour and leadership and management.

Click here to download a copy of the OFSTED report.RV5 Final 400316

Queen Edith’s schools receive extra funding through Lib Dem Pupil Premium

Four-key-Lib-Dem-manifesto-commitmentsLiberal Democrats in the Coalition Government have given Cambridgeshire schoolchildren a £12 million Christmas present – and a quarter of a million pounds of this is coming to schools in Queen Edith’s.

The cash is an increase in the Pupil Premium funding, which targets extra money to schools to be spent on children from disadvantaged backgrounds. ‘A fair start for every child’ is one of the Liberal Democrats’ four core policies from our 2010 manifesto, now being delivered by the Coalition Government.

In Queen Edith’s schools, 276 pupils are expected to be eligible, meaning that our schools are set to benefit from nearly a quarter of a million pounds to support struggling children. Pupil Premium funding in previous years has been spent on a number of initiatives, including IT support, one-to-one tuition where needed, mentoring, and extra support for children with special educational needs. (more…)

Lib Dem MP joins fight for fairer funding for sixth-form colleges

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is to join a cross-party group of MPs to fight for a fairer deal for Cambridge’s sixth form colleges.

Julian has been invited to become a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Sixth Form Colleges which has been established to protect the future of the colleges nationwide. With Hills Road Sixth Form College and Long Road Sixth Form College educating thousands of 16 to 18-year-olds in the city, Julian is working to make sure they get fair funding and the same benefits as school sixth forms.

At the moment, sixth form colleges receive less funding per student than school and academy sixth forms. Disadvantaged youngsters attending sixth form colleges do not receive free meals and, unlike schools and academies, sixth form colleges are not reimbursed for their VAT costs. They are also not eligible for any publically funded improvement support.

Now there are fears that if a new proposed funding regime for sixth form colleges is introduced they will face reductions in funding of up to six per cent, far bigger than that faced by all other providers. Despite these inequalities sixth form colleges across the country generally send more young people to higher education than independent schools and a third of these youngsters come from the least advantaged areas of the country.

Julian said. “We are so fortunate in Cambridge to have two excellent state-run sixth form colleges which produce year-on-year fantastic results for our young people. Whether they are studying A levels or vocational courses, our young people are succeeding and going on to higher education.

“These results are being achieved against a backdrop of inequality. It is time the government gave them the same funding and support that other sixth forms receive.”