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 Some students with High Needs Funding have found that promised places on courses have been withdrawn just days before the new academic year; the Local Authority is unable to confirm that they will be able to provide any funding for affected students until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carers of children who have been newly identified to have extra support needs, are finding places jeopardised and even withdrawn at short notice.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 / Latest NewsPress Releases / 0 Comments


Labour MP for Canterbury, Rosie Duffield, is speaking out about the huge amount of money spent by Canterbury City Council fighting its own people. Rosie was saddened to read recently that the council has splashed out over £200,000 fighting the people of Whitstable, who wished to retain ‘The Oval’ – a sea-front pocket of land – as public open space. Subscriptions from the people of Whitstable, local businesses and charities had reputedly raised in excess of £60,000 to fund their own legal action standing up to the council’s London-based barristers. This week it was revealed that the community is reviewing the future legal aspects of this case and the way forward.

Rosie says, “We desperately need housing in Whitstable that local people can afford and I am not against development that achieves such aims. The Oval however will be developed into holiday houses and I am horrified to hear rumours that there is a potential resale of the undeveloped full site being pursued for £4 million. The valuable seafront half of this site was bought from the council, in a secret sale, for £160,000. It is outrageous that developers can make so much money off the back of land, once given to the people of the town; the failure of the council to achieve true value for that land has let down all the people of Whitstable. They deserve better than this failing Tory-led council who don’t support the people they represent.”

Rosie continues, “Accountability is important for all politicians and I want the leaders of Canterbury City Council to apologise to the people of Whitstable. They talk about wanting more social housing and deliver none; they talk about retaining protected public open space and fail, time and time again, to protect it.”

Leader of the Labour Group, Alan Baldock, who sits on Canterbury City Council supports Rosie. “This land was public land,” Alan says. “It was sold secretly, for a fraction of its true value. It will not be homes; it will not help local young people who can’t afford to buy near their families; it will just line the big pockets of businessman: this is a scenario we see again and again with Conservative administrations”. The Labour Councillor for Gorrell Ward, Bernadette Fisher, agrees noting that “This has been the biggest issue of my tenure. I am ashamed of the council on which I sit for their failure to be open and honest to the people of Whitstable, and for their failure to protect this much-valued site. It is with a heavy heart that I hear about these problems. Long shadows, both literal and metaphorical, will be cast by this expensive development.”


Press Release issued by: Rosie Duffield MP, Cllr Alan Baldock (Lab), Cllr Bernadette Fisher (Lab).