Lynne Featherstone MP demands answers on Fairer Funding allocation

London Lib dems demand Fair funding now!Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, has today called on Labour-run Haringey Council to ensure that the distribution of new funding for education is truly fair.

After a hard fought five year campaign, Lynne Featherstone and the Haringey Liberal Democrats secured fairer funding for education in Haringey. As a result of this, an extra £7.3 million has been allocated for Haringey’s schools.

The additional funds from the fairer funding settlement have gone a long way to ending the long-standing funding anomaly – which saw local schools receiving outer London funding but paying inner London costs. Haringey Council will shortly be able to allocate the extra money directly to schools in the borough.

The £7.3million in fairer funding money is in addition to the £8.8million allocated to Haringey schools through pupil premium. The pupil premium is a separate amount based on a Liberal Democrat Government policy to give more money to schools in accordance with the number of disadvantaged children.

Katherine Reece, Haringey Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Children said:

“It’s fantastic news that Haringey will now finally receive fairer funding for education.

“We now want to ensure that the money will be distributed fairly and proportionally throughout the borough’s primary and secondary schools.”

Lynne Featherstone MP commented:

“Poverty and disadvantage are present all over the borough. All of Haringey schools already pay Inner London pay scales, so they should all get a share of the money to assist them.

“I have written to the Interim Chief Executive and called on the Labour-run Council to ensure that the money reaches every school in Hornsey and Wood Green, as well as those in Tottenham.”

Pupil Premium boost for Haringey schools – MP Lynne Featherstone

Lynne Featherstone with the head teacher of Highgate Wood School, one of the schools she visited over the summer to find out how the Pupil Premium funding is being spentLynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green, is urging local schools to share their experiences with the Pupil Premium funding given to schools by the coalition government.

Lynne Featherstone has written to schools in the area asking how they spent the Pupil Premium funding – calculated as £8.8 million for Haringey schools. She has also asked schools that ran summer schools under a related government scheme what their experiences have been.

Lynne Featherstone commented:

“I have heard from a number of local schools already. The Pupil Premium has been spent on increased pastoral support and in direct efforts to raise boys’ attainment; extra staff have been recruited to work on literacy and numeracy; Alexandra Park School has boosted its hardship fund and set up a youth group. One school in Wood Green plans to take on a careers advisor as part of its package of measures while another high school in the area has invested in providing literacy boosters for children entering the school with lower attainment levels.

“All of this sounds like great news but I want the full picture from all local schools.”

Councillor Katherine Reece, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on education issues in Haringey, added:

“The Pupil Premium is a powerful tool. The funding is linked to the child so people from poorer backgrounds are helped even if they live surrounded by relative affluence. And schools are free to spend the money as they think works best making it doubly flexible. It should make a real difference to local children.”

Lynne Featherstone and Haringey Liberal Democrats plan to publish a report sharing the experiences of local schools with the Pupil Premium later in the autumn.

Ten summer schools open in Haringey

Ten schools will be opening their doors this summer to help some of the most disadvantaged pupils in Haringey with the big step up from primary to secondary school.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg launched the government’s £50million summer school programme yesterday targeted at helping local children who are in care or receive free school meals

Local Liberal Democrats welcomed the scheme saying that this is exactly what is needed to ensure that children who are vulnerable to falling behind are not disadvantaged when moving to secondary education.

Cllr Katherine Reece, Liberal Democrat Children Spokesperson, comments:

“We welcome this government initiative to help some of Haringey’s most disadvantaged children. Summer Schools can be the key to a child’s success in later life. The step from primary to secondary school can be a really daunting one for many children. If your confidence is knocked back at this stage, it is difficult to recover as a child progresses through the school.

“Funding from the coalition government has been rightly targeted to help prevent Haringey’s young people from falling behind rather than trying to help pupils catch-up after the damage has been done.”

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“It’s great to see so many local schools throughout the borough opening their doors for two weeks in the summer holidays. This will let local pupils catch up on learning and get to grips with life in secondary school – in short, get in the starting blocks ready for the off in September.

“Those who struggle to make the transition are often among the poorest in society, but two weeks of activities can really help to bridge the gap.

“It’s good news for mums and dads too – no parent wants their child to be left out and fall behind.

“Summer schools will ensure pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds can start secondary school on an equal footing with their peers, setting them up to succeed.“

Survey shows residents concerned about school place shortage

The results of a survey by local MP Lynne Featherstone released this week reveals the level of concern amongst local residents about school places in Haringey.

Survey returns from over four-hundred homes in Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Fortis Green wards show that nearly half of those who responded felt that more school places are needed in their area. Places at primary schools were considered as the top priority.

Liberal Democrats have called on Haringey Council to take concerted efforts to do all they can to increase the supply of school places, including backing the campaign against Islington Council’s plans to turn the former Ashmount school site into a housing development.

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Hornsey and Wood Green, comments:

“Haringey Council needs to listen to local residents and look to see where there is the highest pressure for places.

“The Government has given Haringey an additional £1.7million this year to relieve the pressure on school places on top of their share of £800million nationally.”

Councillor Sophie Erskine (Fortis Green) adds:

“In the first round of applications this year 130 children in Haringey did not receive a place at any primary school. The Council must do all it can to ensure our families have access to good local schools.

“It is about time that the Council backed the campaign to keep the Ashmount school site for educational use.”

Primary school places

Lynne was recently contacted by a number of local residents experiencing trouble with their child’s primary school place. A number of children seem to have been allocated no school place at all, which has understandably caused a great deal of worry for the parents concerned.

It’s crucially important that these problems are sorted out urgently. Lynne has written to the Chief Executive of Haringey Council expressing her concerns, and you can find a copy of the letter which Lynne has sent below. Lynne will be sure to keep residents updated on the situation.

Letter from Lynne to Haringey Council Chief Executive, Kevin Crompton:

Dear Kevin,

RE:  Primary School Places 2012

I am writing with regards to the recent allocation of primary school places to children who are due to begin their education in the 2012/13 academic year.

I have been contacted by a large number of parents, and have been informed that many children have been offered places which are simply not practical. Of greater concern are the number of children (particularly in the Muswell Hill area) who have not been offered any school place at all. Many of these parents live in very close proximity (in some cases, less than 0.1 miles) to a number of primary schools, such as Muswell Hill Primary, Tetherdown, Rhodes and Coldfall.

I will of course be making enquiries on behalf of individual children and parents through the members’ enquiry system. There are, however, more general concerns and queries which I would like to raise with you.

I am keen to know exactly how many children who applied for a primary school place for the 2012/13 academic year have not been offered a place. I would also like to know how many have been offered a place that wasn’t in their ‘top 6’ choices. On confirmation of these figures, I would be grateful if you could let me know what the Council will do to ensure that these children will be given a place by the time term starts.

I would also be grateful if you could outline the policy used this year when allocating school places. For instance, were the places determined by distance to the school, or other criteria?

I would be most grateful if you could address the specific points that have been raised. Thank you for your kind attention in this regard and I look forward to your response.

Kind regards,

Lynne

Lynne Featherstone celebrates crucial funding victory for local schools

Haringey’s schools are set to receive additional government funding after an announcement today by the Department for Education. The announcement set out the end to a long-standing funding anomaly which saw local schools receiving outer London funding but paying inner-London costs.

Lynne Featherstone, Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, launched a campaign for Fairer Funding for Haringey schools in 2007.

Local Liberal Democrats have welcomed the announcement saying that this proof that the campaign led by Lynne Featherstone, which was backed by all parties, is finally providing results. But, Liberal Democrats also say they will continue to fight for the fairest deal for Haringey’s pupils.

Welcoming the victory for her long-standing campaign, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“This was a perverse funding rule that has deprived our schools of vital funding for decades and made it harder for our children to get the fair start they deserve.

“The parents, teachers and thousands of other local residents who have supported the campaign on this issue deserve massive credit. I want to say ‘thank you’ to them for their efforts.”

Councillor Katherine Reece, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson added:

“This is great news and a hugely significant first step to resolving the school funding problem in Haringey. It is also a great victory for Lynne Featherstone whose personal commitment was the most important driver behind this successful campaign. Labour took no action to stop this unfair funding system. Now, thanks to Lynne and the Liberal Democrats we have a government that is prioritising education.

“We will continue our campaign to ensure Haringey gets the best deal in the emerging National Funding formula when details are published.”

Haringey children can benefit as £50 million summer schools fund opens

More than ten thousand Haringey school children could be helped to attend summer schools under a new government scheme.

A £50 million Summer Schools Fund was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg last autumn. The scheme is now open for applications from local schools.

Head teachers will be able to design and run summer schools, targeting pupils who will benefit the most. The funding could be used for activities such as:

·         Transitional activities to help familiarise pupils with their new environment. Activities could include meeting teachers, having a tour of the school or learning more about their new curriculum.

·         Additional intensive support in English and mathematics to enable pupils who need it to make progress in these key areas before they start the secondary curriculum, both as catch up and preparation for the new term.

·         Wider enrichment activities such as arts, music and sports activities, trips to theatres and museums, visits to local higher education institutions and employers etc.

Liberal Democrat MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, Lynne Featherstone, commented:

“I have written to schools in my constituency urging them to apply for funding through the scheme.

“The Coalition Government is doing the right thing by helping heads and governors to build on their own plans and give children an extra hand.

“The Liberal Democrats’ commitment to the most disadvantaged children doesn’t stop there. As well as this £50m fund, we are making significant extra funding available through the Pupil Premium.

“This will help schools tackle the inequalities that have been a part of our schools system for far too long.”

More Pupil Premium money for Haringey’s schools

Next year, more than half a million additional children will qualify for the Pupil Premium. In Haringey, close to 15,000 pupils are expected to be eligible, meaning that our schools are set to benefit from an extra £8.8 million to support disadvantaged pupils, an increase from the £5.3 million local schools got this year.

The Pupil Premium will be extending its reach to cover any child that has been registered for Free School Meals (FSM) in the past six years. For 2012-13, the Premium will be worth £1.25 billion in total.

These are England’s most disadvantaged pupils, including looked after children, and they are set to benefit from £600 each after the Department for Education announced that next year’s Pupil Premium will increase by £112 for each pupil.

Commenting, Lynne Featherstone MP said:

“For too long, social background has been a deciding factor in a child’s chances for the future. As a Liberal Democrat, I believe that in a fair society, a Government should work to overcome this disadvantage and help children reach their full potential.

“That’s why I am delighted that next year, Haringey’s schools will get an extra

£8.8 million to support disadvantaged pupils through the pupil premium. That’s up £3.5 million from Haringey’s allocation this year. This will make a big difference to schools across Haringey, with schools themselves deciding how best to use the funds.”

Haringey Liberal Democrat Children’s spokesperson Cllr Katherine Reece adds:

“Children who have been eligible for Free School Meals at any point in their school career have consistently lower educational attainment than those who have never been eligible. Of students gaining three As at A-level in 2008, 30 per cent were privately educated, whereas only 0.5 per cent were eligible for Free School Meals.

“That is why thanks to Liberal Democrats, the Coalition Government is doing the right thing by supporting schools with additional money to support children from less well-off backgrounds. This will help whole classes work better together and move forward faster.”

Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Children’s Minister, Sarah Teather said:

“As we come to the end of the second term of the Pupil Premium we are seeing across the country how these extra funds are making a difference. Additional tuition, better IT resources and closer work with parents are all examples of how the Pupil Premium is being used to support the most disadvantaged pupils.

“That’s why I’m so pleased that, next year, we’ll be extending the Pupil Premium to another half a million children, and increasing the money that schools get to £600 per pupil. This means that, as a result of Liberal Democrats in government, more children will get a better start in life”.

Rhodes Avenue Student snaps up first place in MPs Olympic Christmas Competition

Lynne and Phoebe Xmas card winner 2011Phoebe Brady from Rhodes Avenue School is the 2011 winner of Lynne Featherstone MP’s Christmas card competition, which this year is Olympics themed to warm up for next year’s games.

The year 5 pupil snapped up first place with her drawing of the three wise men visiting Mount Olympus, and will now go on an Olympic tour with the Hornsey and Wood Green MP. Phoebe was closely followed by runners up Nagarey Samey (Nightingale Primary), Kacper Nikiel (Campsbourne Primary) and Molly Flora Drew (Rhodes Avenue) who have all received certificates and Olympics themed prizes.

Lynne Featherstone MP comment:

“Choosing a Christmas card winner is one of the highlights of my winter diary, and this year it was really tough with lots of strong contenders from schools across the constituency.

“Phoebe’s piece was something very special, it was very Christmassy, with a strong Olympics theme, and it was really beautifully created. But the runners up Nagarey, Kacper and Molly were all close contenders for first prize.

“Congratulations to Phoebe and the runners-up, and a huge thank you to all pupils and schools who joined in this year. Now I look forward to joining Phoebe for an Olympic Tour.”

Mayoral Candidate and local residents back Lynne in battle for fair funding

London Lib dems demand Fair funding now!

London Liberal Democrats led by Brian Paddick on Friday gave their firm backing to Lynne Featherstone MP’s long-running campaign for fair funding for the Borough’s schools.

The mayoral candidate joined the fight for better school funding as the second leg in a consultation to simplify the school funding system came to a close on 11th October. This round of consultation has seen an even stronger backing by residents, with close to 130 local people, teachers and schools making personal submissions to the consultation.

Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, GLA Liberal Democrat member Caroline Pidgeon and GLA candidate Dawn Barnes on Friday jointly backed the campaign during a visit to Haringey.

In addition to fighting for local schools to get fairer funding in a new funding formula, Liberal Democrats are already delivering more funding for local schools, through the pupil premium. It was last week announced that this year, schools will get close to £500 per deprived pupil, an increase on the £430 promised earlier in the year, adding up to an extra £2.2 million for schools in Hornsey and Wood Green. For the Borough, that adds up to a boost of £5.3 million this school year alone.

Lynne Featherstone MP comments:

“I’m delighted to have such a strong backing in the battle for fair funding, both from Brian and his team and from local residents who really have come out in force to respond to the consultation. Thank you all.

“I am sure that this strong support will make a world of difference and hopefully tip the balance in favour of our children.

“But local schools are already reaping the benefits of Liberal Democrats in government, by getting an extra £5.3 million to support deprived pupils this year alone. I’m proud to see us delivering for local schools already and I look forward to hearing the outcome of this consultation in the next few months.”

Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate, Brian Paddick, adds:

“I was appalled to hear of the long-standing unfairness in the way Haringey schools have been funded over the years.

“But it’s great to see the new government taking strong action to simplify the school funding system and looking specifically at the case of Haringey. I am 100 per cent behind Lynne in her long-running battle for this injustice to end. Give Haringey’s children fair funding now!”