As part of the local Lib Dem Education for a Fairer Future Campaign, Judith Bunting, the Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Newbury and West Berkshire, recently visited John O’Gaunt School in Hungerford to see the changes being made by Head Teacher Sarah Brinkley and her team using funds from David Law’s Pupil Premium.
Judith is campaigning to improve education outcomes across West Berkshire, against the backdrop of falling GCSE results for all students, and the worst results in the entire country for disadvantaged children at primary level.
Local educational outcomes have been in decline for some years, and last year alone GCSE English results in West Berkshire fell by 10%.
Describing the negative trend, Judith said: “The massive drop in standards in such an affluent area should be a stain on the conscience of Tory-controlled West Berkshire Council.” Judith also commented, “Our children deserve better. Let’s work together to force the Council to do more to support the future of young people in West Berkshire.”
The extra cash for schools comes from the Pupil Premium – a Liberal Democrat policy that was adopted by the coalition government. The Pupil Premium delivers targeted additional money to schools depending on the number of children from disadvantaged backgrounds that attend.
“This money does not just help the poorest children,” Judith said. “It helps every child. Fewer children falling behind will mean less disruption in class and a better education for everyone.”
Under the Pupil Premium, schools will receive £900 in extra funding for each pupil that has been eligible for free school meals forthe last six years. John O’Gaunt School receives an extra £51,000 every year as a result of the scheme.
During her visit, Judith met with head teacher Sarah Brinkley and learned how the Pupil Premium was helping students. At John O’Gaunt, the Pupil Premium has enabled:
• Group tuition in Maths and English
• Early intervention in Year 7 for literacy
• The purchase of laptops for loan
• Music tuition
• Free equipment for students
• Access to ICT room after school
• Drama workshops
• An intensive 12-week ‘World of Work’ programme
Judith commented: “It’s simply inspirational to watch Lib Dem policy deliver better educational facilities, extra tuition and new equipment – all of which are absolutely key to driving up standards.”
You can join the Education for a Fairer Future campaign today by signing our online petition here: www.change.org/petitions/increase-education-provision-in-west-berkshire
You can read Judith’s open letter to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, here: http://westberkslibdems.org.uk/en/article/2013/679180/open-letter-to-michael-gove-secretary-of-state-for–education
You can keep up-to-date with Judith’s views and activities around West Berkshire here: http://www.facebook.com/JudithBuntingforNewbury