By Chris Cornell / EducationPress Releases / 0 Comments

Rosie Duffield, Labour MP for Canterbury, expresses fury with Conservative-led Kent County Council who cannot sustain the school funding system in Kent for children with the most need. KCC have announced that from this autumn they cannot offer legally-due funding for the autumn term for some newly-assessed children with extra educational needs.

Rosie Duffield is demanding answers from Councillors and Directors at Kent County Council about the funding shortfall in their Education Department. Some students with High Needs Funding have found that promised places on courses have been withdrawn just days before the new academic year; the Local Authority is unable to confirm that they will be able to provide any funding for affected students until December.

With students already excited about going back to school, parents and carers of children who have been newly identified to have extra support needs, are finding places jeopardised and even withdrawn at short notice. Rosie has communicated with Patrick Leeson, the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, only to be told that KCC ‘no longer [has] a reserve’. KCC have under-budgeted and as a result are failing some of the most vulnerable students for whom they bear responsibility.

The Council has a duty to administer High Needs Funding Support in cases where students require support costs exceeding £6,000. Rosie says, ‘the outrageous decision from KCC to hold back funding from some of the most vulnerable children in our system must be reviewed. Some parents and carers will have to stop work to look after children without places who now must remain at home. These children have just been assessed and places were offered to them before the summer on the understanding that KCC would fund them where the support costs exceed £6,000. The Council’s decision is an abomination that will result in an increased number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs). I have been contacted by concerned Headteachers of primary, secondary and further education provision in Canterbury and Whitstable; this decision by KCC is affecting not only schools in my constituency, but all education provision across of Kent.’

Rosie continues, ‘I will be writing to Justine Greening, the Secretary of State for Education to demand answers about the behaviour of this Local Authority. The Department for Education must step in as soon as possible. A failure to fix this broken system is a failure of multiple Conservative administrations and I will not stand for it.’

By Chris Cornell / Education / 0 Comments

“Like everyone, I was shocked to see the election of Rosie Duffield on June 9th. I had bumped into Rosie the previous day and we spoke about the election campaign, where she seemed hopeful she would reduce Brazier’s previous majority of over 9,000. What happened next no one expected, so I was delighted when I had the opportunity to apply for work experience with the Labour (at last!) MP in Canterbury.  I applied wanting to learn about the world of local politics, as I was then completely unaware of the amount of work covered by MP’s and their teams.

Admittedly, I was apprehensive when I started, being unaware of what I would be tasked with. However, Rosie’s Senior Parliamentary Advisor dropped me in at the deep-end, asking me to draft letters, research issues, and proof-read documents. I would like to think I quickly developed the skills needed for these tasks and they will certainly help me in jobs I later apply for. Though, for me, the highlight was accompanying Rosie to the Shepherd Neame brewery in Faversham. There, we spoke with the CEO Jonathan Neame, who explained to us the extent to which government policy influences the hospitality industry; this was a side to politics I had not seen before.

Having personally considered a future career in politics, I can now say I have been well and truly enthused. I have realised how being an MP is busy and demanding, but Rosie deals with it perfectly, demonstrating what it is to be a good constituency MP.”

Freddy Waters, Work Experience Student