Labour’s opposition spokesperson on the Children, Young People & Skills (CYPS) Committee, Cllr Jackie O’Quinn, on Labour’s positive work on behalf of pupils, teachers, parents and families at the recent committee meeting:

There is much good news to report on the Children and Young people front as Labour members have pushed for better pay for teachers, more money for disadvantaged young people and families and their previous work on improving Home to School transport has reaped major dividends.

Labour was able to acquire £35,000 of an underspend in the council budget for disadvantaged, Special Needs young people and their families via a Labour amendment to the budget at a Policy and Resources meeting, and we have kept a close track on how that money is being spent.  The money has gone on supporting the above group and assisting families with home learning and to enabling extra support for two additional educational practitioners with a focus on improving literacy and language.  Labour is also supporting the bid to gain additional funding for Literacy and Language and Special Needs from the Department for Education.  The extra funding for Early Years Special Needs children has been especially welcome due to the impact of COVIID on such children and their families and Labour is delighted to have acquired this extra funding.

At the recent Children and Young People’s Committee Labour was also able to vote through a previous Labour amendment made at Full Council which recommended a report into “Revising Schools pay policy and Performance Related pay in schools”.   Labour was keen to know what was possible at local level to support teachers in these two areas. Both the Greens and the Conservatives abstained on the vote for this, and we were disappointed at the lack of support from the Greens on this important issue.

Another area where Labour had been particularly successful was in resolving the issues that arose from Home to School Transport system.  A new system was brought in two years ago and proved immensely problematic. There was considerable input from Labour when John Allcock was Chair of CYPS to ensure the problems were resolved and it was satisfying to see that Home to School transport is now running exceptionally well, especially as it has developed a strong partnership with parent groups such as AMAZE and PaCC.

Brighton and Hove are also facing major issues regarding a reduction in the number of children entering primary/infant schools.  We are deeply committed to not losing any school in the city, but this will require all schools acting with regard to the fact that we are a ‘Family of Schools’ in the city.  In other words, the more successful schools in what tend to be the more prosperous areas of the city will need to help and support schools in more disadvantaged areas of the city if those schools are not to face financial difficulties and be pushed to closure.  This will be a challenging process, but Labour is determined that no area of the city will lose its school.

Cllr Jackie O’Quinn

Picture by Kimberly Farmer via Unsplash

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