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

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Lets stop being modest about LibDem achievements

Dave WoodOn this Sunday’s  Politics programme, SCC  Lib Dem leader Dave Wood will be voicing robust support for his party at both local and national level  in advance of the Lib Dem party conference.

“After the initial shock at finding ourselves blamed for everything the Coalition government does, and the protest vote that cost us seats, we’ve realised that people have got into the habit of relying on us  to hold the worst excesses of the Tories at bay, without acknowledging any of the good things we do. They’re having their cake and eating it! “ he says.

“So, instead of just getting on and doing the job  – as we always do – we have to start shouting about our local and national successes. It’s  up to us to bring our out light from under the bushel because it is clearly in the interests of both Tories and Labour to keep it hidden.  But we do a lot. Let’s stop being so modest about our achievements.

Locally our hard work and dedication is acknowledged and respected. This is why no sitting Suffolk LibDem councillor lost their seat in the 2013 election. Yet for far too long we have been hard-working councillors that everybody knows and relies on without expecting the pat on the backs we deserve.  We need to be proud of what we have achieved and be proud to tell everyone about our successes. In Suffolk, our local defence of local services saw off Andrea Hill’s New Strategic Direction, while nationally, we are behind all those many innovations like the triple lock pension, tax-cuts for the low paid, the pupil premium, and bringing record numbers of poorer students into higher education etc. These are improving life for so many of us in Suffolk – and in the UK as a whole.

We need to confront people with the reality:  ask them what the Tories would be doing if we Lib Dems weren’t there to rein them in and keep watch on things. Unlike a lot of other European countries, the UK is not used to Coalition  governments and hasn’t fully understood how they work. Too many people choose to  see this Coalition as a friendship group, rather than what it is –  a temporary alliance of very differing views.  It suits the Labour party to support this view – after all the Coalition only exists to deal with the mess they left this country in.

We must not be afraid to tell everyone what we are doing and be proud to do so.”

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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.”

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