Category Archives: Penny Otton

Pupil Premium – a fairer society in Suffolk?

Suffolk schools pupil premiumA fascinating new interactive map will show you exactly how much extra funding  your local school has been able to claim via Pupil Premium

An extra £25,000? £75,000? £242,000?

Woodbridge county councillor Caroline Page is delighted to point out that ” this school year, Woodbridge’s excellent and inclusive  Farlingaye High School has been able to claim nearly a quarter of a million pounds to provide additional  support to pupils from hard-pressed homes. This is thanks to the  Liberal Democrats  in the Coalition government.”

The Pupil Premium – which is additional to main school funding – is an initiative introduced by the Liberal Democrats in government which intends to address the current underlying inequalities between children eligible for free school meals and their peer. It is doing this very practically by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most.

You can click here to seach the map for yourself and find out for yourself what your  school has been able to claim.

However, getting the funding is only the start. “Its quite a revelation to see how much money is going into Suffolk schools. We now have to see what they are doing with it, ” points out Suffolk Lib Dem schools spokesperson, Penny Otton

A Partial Victory for Thurston Community College families

Penny Otton SCCCllr Penny Otton has campaigned long and hard to get free home-to-school transport for a small number of pupils in Rattlesden, Woolpit and Elmswell who were caught between catchment areas. At the moment these villages are each split between Stowupland and Thurston High Schools’ catchments  although from 2014 they will all be in the Thurston catchment.

A few families, having chosen to send their children to Thurston Community College were faced with an unexpected  termly bill.

“It just didn’t seem fair,” says Penny Otton. “Especially as no-one in their right mind would want to send their child to Stowupland for one single year!”

” The families were very poorly informed, both as to the situation and as to their rights. I have been fighting this anomaly for months.  At least today the SCC cabinet has come round to my point of view and agreed to allow free transport to the  year 9 pupils involved. However I am very disappointed  that year 10 children will still be forced to pay when their friends just 1 street away do not. This is not equitable in the circumstances.”

Councillor calls for action on unregistered education centres

Penny HeadA BBC Look East programme last week  highlighted  the state of education for those children in Suffolk who have been excluded from school. It claimed that many of these  are being put at risk in unregistered education centres.  Unregistered centres are neither known to – nor inspected by – Ofsted, the education watchdog.  Suffolk County Council has nine unregistered centres but denies children there are unsafe.

Liberal Democrat  County Councillor Penny Otton – who was interviewed for the programme as Spokesperson for Education, Skills, Young People and Localities – said,   “”It sounds to me like an absolutely major crisis!”

” I am shocked that these very vulnerable children are being taught in premises which are not registered, many being obviously unfit for use. Unlike other educational institutions, they are not inspected by Ofsted. This is a serious issue, which brings into question how the council is protecting and supporting these children who often have major behavioural problems.I have already brought this worrying situation up with the new Education, Children and Young People scrutiny committee and I will continue to do so.  The council must do something as a matter of urgency.”