School meals in line for Conservative cuts

Changes to Universal Credit mean nearly 1million poorer children will lose out on a free nutritious meal at lunch – costing parents £400 a year.

Free school meals were brought in as one of a series of new investments in our schools by the Liberal Democrats in the coalition. Now they are being cut by the Conservatives.

The policy has been a huge success, improving school outcomes for local children. In fact the policy has not just improved outcomes for the families and children that receive free dinners, but all across school classes. The free nutritional lunches have been linked with better concentration as well as better health. The policy also saves some of Britain’s poorer families over £400 each year.

Commenting Liberal Democrat schools spokesperson Layla Moran MP said, “Ensuring every child has a nutritious meal during the school day is incredibly important, helping to ensure they thrive at school and get the most from their lessons.”

These changes come in the wake of broken promises on free school breakfasts for every child. A promise that was popular and central to the Conservatives failed General Election gamble.

SHOCK FOR SCHOOLS AND PARENTS

Local schools to lose millions as budgets slashed

Local Liberal Democrats are fighting against school funding cuts in Waltham Forest. Recent figures from the National Union of Teachers show that schools in Waltham Forest will lose £20,185,760 in real terms by 2020. This amounts to a loss of £538 a year for each child, – the equivalent to cutting 541 teachers from our local schools.

The teaching unions have compiled a list of anticipated budget reductions by 2019, access School Budget Reductions.

Veteran former Lib Dem councillor Bob Sullivan said,

This is crazy.  It is putting our children’s future at risk.  As a result of the Government cuts schools are having to consider drastic budget reductions such as reducing the number of teachers and, would you believe it, even introducing a four-day week.

Bob and the local Lib Dems are calling on the Government to reverse these cuts to schools funding. The local Lib Dem Team are in contact with schools to better understand their funding problems and will be fighting hard for our local schools.

Please sign our petition here http://www.walthamforestlibdems.org/save_our_schools

 

Old Leytonstone Police Station – planning update

Former Police Station in High Road Leytonstone

Planning Application no. 2011/1229

At a recent meeting of the Planning Committee planning permission was refused for change of use from police station to school and nursery.

The reasons for refusal included an over-development of the site; increased traffic generation, congestion and increased demand for on street parking.

Full details can be found on the Council’s website, by quoting the application number in the Planning Explorer

PRESS RELEASE: Labour Council is letting our children down

TWO DAMNING REPORTS ON WALTHAM FOREST PRIMARY SCHOOLS

Figures released at the end of 2012 show Key Stage 2 results for Waltham Forest primary schools have been below the national average for the past two years. Whilst our results did improve in 2012, most other areas improved even more and have left us lagging behind.

According to the most recent Ofsted report, Waltham Forest and Hackney children are now the least likely in London to be able to attend to a good or outstanding primary school. With only 11 authorities out of over 150 in England performing worse, Waltham Forest is in the bottom 8% of authorities nationwide.

Across England, 2012 saw a welcome increase in the percentage of Key Stage 2 pupils receiving a Level 4 or above in English and Maths, helped by extra money delivered through the Lib Dem Pupil premium, which targets funds at the poorest pupils.

But despite extra investment delivered by Liberal Democrats in government through the pupil premium, which will deliver over £12.5 million additional money for Waltham Forest schools in 2013-14, we are still lagging behind the national average in these key indicators.

Lib Dems believe Labour should be doing more to drive up standards in our schools and making more of this new money to drive up standards for the poorest. Splashing out money on more fireworks and other events can’t hide the fact that this Labour Council is letting our children down.

Cllr Bob Sullivan said:

“Every parent in Waltham Forest should be able to say that their child attends a good or outstanding primary school. There are great schools and great teachers in our Borough but many schools do not get the help they need from this Labour Council to overcome the difficulties they face.

“Waltham Forest Labour have now had 4 different cabinet members in charge of schools in just two and a half years and we’ve lost managers and directors too.

“When we left the joint administration in 2010 our Key Stage 2 results were above the national average but two years of Labour mismanagement have meant the rest of the country has overtaken us.

“Waltham Forest Lib Dems don’t believe more academies are the answer but we do need better local leadership to deliver a better education for our Borough’s children. It can’t be right that our children are the least likely in London to be able to attend a good or outstanding primary school.”

George Tomlinson School – Good News

George Tomlinson School showing the new main entrance in Harrington Road

 

The result of the recent Ofsted inspection rated George Tomlinson Primary School as ‘GOOD’, with certain aspects classed as outstanding’

George Tomlinson is currently undergoing a major expansion to increase the size of the school. 

The FOCUS Team offers congratulations to the Headteacher, staff, students and parents.

Open Day at Leyton Bus Garage

Leyton Bus Garage, at Leyton Green, is celebrating its centenary this year.

It will be open to the public from 10.30 am until 4.30 pm on Saturday 22nd September as part of the national Open House event.

There will be a display of vintage buses as well as displays of the history of bus travel.

In addition there will be vintage bus tours to Stagecoach London’s newest bus station in West Ham, which will depart every 15 minutes.

PRESS RELEASE: The Failure of WORKNET

QUESTIONS STILL REMAIN OVER THE FAILURE OF WORKNET – COUNCILLOR BOB SULLIVAN

The recent failures of Worknet highlighted by Nick Tiratsoo still leave questions to be answered.

We know that £2 million was allocated for the contractor Widows and Orphans but we still don’t know what the targets and outputs were in each case or how much money the council actually paid the contractor in total.

Councillor Sullivan has now asked the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny committee for a review into the failure of the programme and will be pressing the council for further answers over the coming weeks.

Leader of the Waltham Forest Lib Dems, Councillor Bob Sullivan said:

“In normal times this failure would be damning for Labour councillors but in these difficult economic times it is unforgivable.”

“It is unforgivable that they have let down our Borough’s unemployed, it is unforgivable that they have allowed this failure to go on unreported for nearly three years and it is unforgivable that most of this money will now not be spent on employment programmes for our Borough at all.

“The failure of this contract could even have implications across the council. We know we’ve had problems with our schools contractor and our waste contractor and taken together it starts to paint a worrying picture for council contracts as a whole.

“We clearly need a full enquiry to get to the bottom of how this happened before the council goes down this road yet again.”

PRESS RELEASE – Waltham Forest Labour are letting our schools down

Councillor Liz Phillips has raised concerns about Waltham Forest council’s contractor Babcock after it was revealed that almost 15% of the Borough’s schools are now in special measures following their two years as the council’s contractor.

In a written answer to Cllr Phillips, the Labour Cabinet member, Cllr Clare Coghill described the council’s risk analysis programme for schools as ‘a work in progress’ and said that the council’s priority had been ‘savings of £2m from the contract at an early opportunity’.

Councillor Liz Phillips, Waltham Forest Lib Dem spokesperson for Children and Member of the Council’s Corporate Parenting Board, said:

“Almost 15% of our schools are now in special measures and yet the council won’t be seeking any compensation from the contractor who presided over this mess.”

“Surely there should be something in our contract with this company that means at the very least they must pay for failing local kids and their parents?”

“In Waltham Forest we are now on our 4thLabour cabinet member for Children’s Services in just over two years. Perhaps if someone with a bit of experience would take responsibility for more than a few months then we wouldn’t be in this situation?”

Tackling Youth Unemployment in Waltham Forest

On Monday 2 April 2012, the £1bn Youth Contract will start. The Youth Contract was announced last year by Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg to tackle youth unemployment.

The Youth Contract aims to ensure that all jobless young people are earning or learning again before long-term damage is done.

In Waltham Forest, 2,570 18 to 24-year olds are currently in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance and would stand to benefit from the Youth Contract.

The Youth Contract will provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18 to 24-year olds over the next three years. This includes 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 new work experience placements.

A new programme will help 16 and 17-year olds who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs).

This will help the most disengaged of the 8,000 in London get back to school or college, onto an apprenticeship or into a job with training.

In addition, there will be at least 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices in England.

Commenting, Cllr Winnie Smith, Lib Dem Deputy Leader said:

“In these tough times Liberal Democrats are doing the right thing and fighting to ensure we help those who need it most.

“Waltham Forest has had a problem with youth unemployment for a long time and it only got worse under the last Labour government. We have to make sure that the today’s young people don’t have a false start to their careers.

“In Waltham Forest we tried to get Labour to take the issue of jobs and youth unemployment seriously in our amendment to the council’s budget in March but they ignored it.”

“The Youth Contract will help those who need it most through advice, support, training and by giving people in Waltham Forest the experience they need to be successful in the work place.

“As a Liberal Democrat, I am proud that the Coalition Government is doing the right thing and working to prevent another lost generation.”

Commenting further, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

“Youth unemployment is a slow-burn social disaster and an economic waste.

“We can’t lose the skills and talent of our young people – right when we need them most. We need the next generation to help us build a new economy.

“The aim of the Youth Contract is to get every unemployed young person earning or learning again before long-term damage is done, giving them the skills for a lifetime of work.

“This is a £1bn package and it will get young people into proper, lasting jobs.”

Harrow Green Library – latest news

Can you help this community project?

Harrow Green Library - now axedLocal campaigners fought hard to save Harrow Green Library as it is, with paid staff and current opening hours. Regrettably the council refused to change their plans.

The residents therefore intend to run it themselves. A lot of volunteers will be needed.

Would you like to help? Even a couple of hours a week would be invaluable. You don’t need experience. Training will be arranged.

If you would like to volunteer, please write to: 15 Matcham Road, E11 3LE. You can also contact the group at helpharrowgreen@hotmail.co.uk or telephone 07930 634210. Please give the following details:

  • Your name

  • Postal address, including postcode

  • Email (if any)

  • Land-line phone (if any)

  • Mobile phone (if any)