The Cycle Fest at Odd Down on Saturday 12 July was a great success with over 2000 people attending during the day. At the start of the day I caught up with some of the stall holders as they set up fior the busy day ahead. One of the innovations that has come from Michael Gove is the conceopt of the studio school and whilst I was initially sceptical about this new format it has been taken up with enthusiasm by Colin Cattenach and the Bath Studio School which is linked to the former Link School which he is rebranding as Aspire school. The Link was for students with behaviour problems and I think the new title is so much better. I was chair of governors at this school for two years. The Studio school will be working with local firms to ensure an approach based on the strap line ‘Real Life Real Work’. It opens in September this year.
Liberal Democrat cabinet to consider proposals to expand six primary schools in Keynsham, Bath, Peasedown St. John and Paulton
With the population of young children growing in Bath and NE Somerset there is a need for additional places at several primary schools. Councils have a legal duty to provide sufficient numbers of school places for the children in its area. The Liberal Democrat Cabinet of the Council will consider the needs and consultation at its meeting on 13 February concerning proposals to create additional pupil places at Bathampton Primary, Castle Primary, Paulton Infant, Paulton Junior, Peasedown St. John Primary and Weston All Saints C of E Primary schools. These extra places will ensure that local families can send their children to local schools.
As the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council it is important to me that young children can attend primary schools in their own communities wherever and whenever possible. We are fortunate in B&NES that all our schools are good and it is important that we continue our excellent record in education whilst meeting the growing demand for places at our schools. In looking at schools to expand we have consulted widely with parents, teacher, governors and residents. We are providing the capital to expand 6 schools subject to further consultation and revenue funding will be provided by the Government through the Dedicated Schools Grant on a per pupil basis. My administration is investing in the future of our young people across the district and all this whilst at the same time proposing for the second year a 0% Council Tax increase.
Liberal Democrats announce commitment to scrapping tuition fees
Many of us have been pressing for a while now for a clear policy to scrap tuition fees. It is welcome that the Liberal Democrat have now announced the party’s commitment to scrapping university tuition fees. The party has revealed plans which gradually phase out the fees over the course of six years. The commitment means that the Lib Dems are still the only one of the three major parties promising free university education for all. In contrast, Labour and the Conservatives refuse to address the issue of fees, leading to worries that they may rise.
University should not be elitist or only available to the wealthy. It should be open to all on ability only. Fees simply saddle young people with debt. Not all graduates go into high wage jobs and those that do will pay more tax over their working life.
However here in Bath we also want to see better regulation of housing for students and believe that Universities should be obliged to ensure that all first and final year students are housed in purpose built student accommodation. The Government could help by taking the simple step of allowing councils such as B&NES to count student housing units in their housing targets.
Spent this morning at Hayesfield School this morning spending two sessions with groups of gilrs answering questions about being a Councillor, the role of the Council and politics in general.
There was a clear understanding about how they wanted society to move on but plenty of confusion as to what exactly a Council was responsible for and delivered. We do not deliver hospital and police services as some thought. They clearly wanted better housing provision and safer parks and better play areas.
The issue of safety in parks was a big concern especially a concern about the behaviour of older teenagers. (The groups we met were 12 and 13)
We also discussed the role of women in politics and the need to make being a Councillor both attractive and acheivable for young women to consider as a possibility. We also discussed the failure of MPs in leadership and their disgust at the behaviour of claiming for non-existant mortgages, flipping and the one that really got them annoyed was the Conservative MP Viggers and his claim for a duck island.
Well done to Hayesfield school for asking 6 Councillors in to meet with young students and talk about being a Councillor.