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Labour says it will step up its opposition to the Tory Government plans to make every school in England an academy, following inclusion of the ‘Education for All’ Bill in this week’s Queen’s speech.
 
The details of the speech this week confirmed that full academisation remains the government’s goal.
 
Labour’s education spokesperson, Coun. Stuart Barnes explained why Labour in York is continuing to fight the plans:
 
“A significant number of local residents have made representations to the Labour party in York to stress their concerns about schools becoming academies. Concerns have included the use of unqualified teachers and losing a consistent approach to supporting children with emotional wellbeing and special educational needs.
 
“We also share the concerns that parents have about the way that schools will allocate places to pupils in future. The current system for school applications in York is consistent and clearly understood.
 
“In future, academies could decide to allocate places selectively based on the academic ability of children so that they only take the brightest and best as a means of improving their results rather than having an admissions system that is fair to all York pupils”.
 
Many schools have either become academies or are considering doing so but research suggests that whether schools are struggling or not, academisation doesn’t guarantee improved standards. 
 
Sir Michael Wilshaw, the head of the Schools’ Inspector Ofsted, recently said that he had “great concern” about large multi-academy trusts, with many developing “the same weaknesses” as the worst performing local authority schools. Currently the performance of York’s schools places City of York Council high up in the list of best performing local authorities.
 
And Coun. Barnes says Labour is working with colleagues from across Yorkshire and beyond to look at options for alternative models to those involving commercial interests, like KPMG (see notes to editors). One option could be for the city to develop a co-operative trust to ensure schools have an alternative to being forced down the more commercial multi-academy route. He said:
 
“The large MAT chains threat looms large for many of our schools as the Conservative Government continues its plans to privatise our schools, so local politicians, education professionals and the public need to maintain their opposition to forced academisation.  We genuinely believe in local decision making and in community involvement in determining our schools’ futures, so we urge people to have their say before it’s too late”.
 
Labour Councillors will continue to explore options before submitting a motion to July’s Full Council meeting of all councillors which would require the Council’s officers to conduct a more detailed assessment of options for the possible establishment of a Co-operative Academies Trust in the city.
 
Coun. Barnes said:
 
“York Labour Councillors will be urging all political parties in the city to work with us on these proposals to develop cross party support for this positive alternative to the future threat of private commercial MAT takeovers”.
 

York Labour continues fight against forced academisation

Labour says it will step up its opposition to the Tory Government plans to make every school in England an academy, following inclusion of the ‘Education for All’ Bill in...

Local residents have slammed Tory Council bosses for suggesting that sharing taxis is the answer to vicious cuts to bus funding by York’s Tory and Lib-Dem Coalition.
 
In an audacious attempt to put a positive spin on their recent budget cuts to buses, a top York Tory figure this week suggested that cuts to bus services might be good news “because you can get people together in community groups to share taxis”, claiming that the sharing of taxis would tackle serious issues around social isolation.
 
Labour’s Deputy Leader and member of the council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, Coun. Stuart Barnes, slammed the idea that social benefits might arise from cuts to bus services as “ridiculous”, stating, “cuts to crucial bus services are likely to hinder, not benefit people who are at risk of social isolation.
 
“Stretched household budgets and lack of access to affordable transport are both contributory factors to social isolation. Cutting bus routes will negatively impact on people’s purses and their transport options, hitting hard up people hardest”.
 
Meanwhile, Acomb resident Mary Harlington, who relies on bus services to get around York, reacted with astonishment at the comments from local Conservative councillors, saying:
 
“It’s just incredible how out of touch these people are. I read this week in The Press about the Tory Councillor who said that the most popular form of transport across all socio-economic classes is the taxi.
 
“Me and my friends would love to get taxis rather than the bus so I guess it is popular in that sense, but it’s certainly not something we can afford to do often. With our bus passes travel was free.
 
“Telling us to spend our money on taxis instead of buses reminds me of Norman Tebbit telling people to get ‘on their bikes’ to find work. It’s just so out of touch and has left us feeling worried”.
 
Labour’s transport spokesperson, Coun. David Levene said:
 
"The Lib Dem and Tory bus cuts will have a dramatic effect on people's ability to get around the city outside of weekday daytimes, sending a very negative message about the Coalition's commitment to the early evening economy and dealing with congestion.

"The Lib Dem manifesto specifically promised to protect bus subsidies, and both parties promised to prioritise frontline services - to suggest that sharing taxis can replace those bus services is a slap in the face of York residents and shows how out-of-touch the Conservative-led Coalition is."

York pensioner labels ‘Taxi Tories’ out of touch

Local residents have slammed Tory Council bosses for suggesting that sharing taxis is the answer to vicious cuts to bus funding by York’s Tory and Lib-Dem Coalition.   In an...

coffee-morning-feb-16.jpg

On Saturday 27th February, Clifton Labour Councillors Danny Myers and Margaret Wells attended St Luke’s Church, Clifton coffee morning, to celebrate the start of Fairtrade Fortnight with local residents. St Luke’s hosts a monthly coffee morning, usually on the third Saturday of the month which includes a fair-trade goods stall, homemade cakes stand and a Clifton Ward surgery attended by Cllr Danny Myers and Cllr Margaret Wells; so that residents can meet and raise any suggestions, questions or thoughts about the local area with Councillors.

 

Fairtrade Fortnight is running from Monday 29th February until Sunday 13th March, visit http://fortnight.fairtrade.org.uk to find out more about events that are happening in York. There are over 1.5 million farmers and workers worldwide in Fairtrade certified producer organisations and over 4,500 Fairtrade products available to buy in the UK.


 

Cllr Danny Myers says:
“St Lukes are doing a very good job, it’s great to come down and socialise with a cup of tea, the fair-trade stall is brilliant and convenient for local residents to pop in and pick up some fairtrade products.


 

“We’re very supportive of Fairtrade Fortnight and the efforts of the local community around St Lukes to promote Fairtrade. From bananas to cups of tea, Fairtrade is an important global business success that tackles inequality, poverty and crime.


 

Cllr Margaret Wells says:
“It was lovely to learn more about how Fairtrade can make a real difference and we enjoy spending time talking with local residents.


 

“As Ward Councillors we are happy to help with all queries, Councillors should be easily accessible and answerable to local residents, and we intend to continue this work by supporting St Luke’s coffee morning every month.”

Clifton Ward Councillors support Fairtrade coffee morning

On Saturday 27th February, Clifton Labour Councillors Danny Myers and Margaret Wells attended St Luke’s Church, Clifton coffee morning, to celebrate the start of Fairtrade Fortnight with local residents. St...

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