We all want the best for our children. We are lucky in North Essex to have some tremendous Teachers, Head Teachers and Governors ensuring children receive the best possible education. But schools have come under increasing pressure from rising numbers of SEND students, as well as increasing pupil numbers. The Government’s increases to ‘per pupil funding’ have gone some way to evening out the disparity between schools receiving unequal levels of funding, but more needs to be done.
I have been campaigning on this and have visited many schools across North Essex, where I have heard from parents, teachers and pupils. I am heartened by the dedication from staff even in tough circumstances but I understand the very real pressures schools are facing. This is why I have been fighting for more funding for our schools.
Many residents of Harwich and North Essex have contacted me over the past year raising concern over school funding.
I have heard you, and so has the Government. I wrote to the Secretary of state for education this year asking for more funding for our local schools in Essex, and especially for Special Educational Needs funding.
The campaign is ongoing but with the Chancellor, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, pledging to boost £7.1 billion pounds over the next three years I am pleased that this campaign is seeing the results we all hoped for.
The school funding campaign really is one which never stops. I will keep pressing for better funding and support for our tremendous schools in North Essex so that every child can have the opportunity to succeed.
Colne Community School & Thrive
Parents in Brightlingsea and the surrounding area will be all too familiar with the recent problems faced by the Colne Community School and College. The issues were first brought to my attention by some concerned parents and from there a great many uncomfortable truths emerged about the school’s leadership.
This was a prime example of the need for good governance in our schools. Poor leadership and a lack of accountability can leave teaching teams feeling disenfranchised and isolated. This creates cultural problems that are difficult to address. I am incredibly grateful to the parents who were so persistent in raising their concerns with the school, as well as the staff who were willing to share their own experiences with me.
I am pleased to report that since this matter was brought to my attention, regulators carried out several inspections of the school, the leadership changed and now the school is run by a remarkable team who are turning things around rapidly. This has been an important lesson in school governance, leadership and the need for accountability and openness. I am pleased to have played my part in helping get the school back on track to being one of the top schools in Essex and I have no doubt under its new leadership it will be back there soon.
Market Field School, the school for SEN children, is an example for other schools to aspire to. Their tremendous Headteacher, Gary Smith, has fought tooth and nail for many years to secure bigger and better premises. It has been an honour to assist him in his campaign and to see the new school open was one of the highlights of my Parliamentary career.
Gary and his team set the standard for SEN teaching provision. We are lucky to have such a highly regarded and dedicated group of people in North Essex and I am glad to have helped in securing several million pounds to allow the school to open in a new set of buildings. Market field will always remain close to my heart and I will always support Gary in his ongoing efforts to provide children with additional needs with the best possible start in life.