Well done to those parents who do walk with their children to school! @pcctravelchoice

Commenting, local Lib Dem ward councillor, Darren Fower, said:

“Over the past 20 years, the percentage of children travelling to school by car has doubled, almost 40% of primary and 20% of seconday age children are now driven to school each day.

“In Peterborough, this factor was exacerbated by the Tory controlled City Council, when they closed down perfectly good schools a few years ago, eventually flogging off land for housing or supermarkets, such as Bretton Woods and Honeyhill.”

The school run can mean significant cost implications, with families spending over £300 annually on the drive to school in petrol costs and wear and tear to the average car.

Children who walk to school learn more about their local environment – they find out who their neighbours are and make friends as they chat to other children on the way to school.

Werrington Primary School

  • View YOUR local schools travel plan by CLICKING HERE! 
  • Nearly half (48%) of children would like to walk or bike to school even more if they could, says a new survey carried out by a specialist child research agency, ChildWise, in partnership with the Department of Transport (DfT) in 2004.
  • The younger children who walk use about 75% of the number of calories travelling to and from school that they would from two hours of PE.
  • The older children use over one third more in walking than they do in two hours of PE, especially the boys.

What do YOU think? Please leave a comment below!

How much extra money for our local schools? View the MAP! @pboroagainstpov

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In Coalition, the Liberal Democrats have created a £2.5 billion Pupil Premium, which targets extra money at pupils who need the most help. See how much extra cash your local schools are getting by CLICKING HERE!

Commenting, local Lib Dem ward councillor, Darren Fower said:

“In this area alone we have seen nearly £250k given to local schools in the last year alone to help address the needs of those pupils that deserve the most help!

“Whatever some may say, this is a unique project that both successive Tory and Labour Governments have failed to introduce, and thankfully our guys in Westminster and Parliament have succeeded in doing.”

View the map for this area by simply CLICKING HERE!

 

Peterborough has 3rd highest rate of statementing in country 4 pupils with Special Educational Needs!

The provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) is under review and a new SEN strategy is due to be developed and implemented in Peterborough sometime during 2013. Already the local authority have discovered:

• Too much funding is being targeted at high needs children.  This money is arguably better spent in early intervention services.

• We have a number of enhanced resource provision in schools supporting particular needs such as autism and behaviour.  These need reviewing.

• We do not have specialist support / provision for primary aged children with severe behaviour difficulties

• Our special schools are full and their specialist provision needs to be reviewed in light of the changing needs across the city.

• Outcomes for children with SEN need to be improved.

• We are sending too many children to out of city placements – there may be better options to support them within the city.

Commenting, local LIB DEM ward councillor Darren Fower, who attended the meeting where the report was presented, said:

“It’s one thing to know about a childs needs and another thing to actually address them. I’ve been involved in situations whereby young people with ADHD were not even statmented and then were removed from a school!

“Clearly we need a clear and precise plan to ensure the needs of children in this city are being met! It seems that we need enhanced resource provision for supporting autism and behaviour, for example, the Council has NO specialist support / provision for primary aged children with severe behaviour difficulties and yet our special schools are full!

“The Council even admit that they are sending too many children to out of city placements – but what at what cost and why are the local authority not providing simultaneous employment and services in the city? It really does make you wonder sometimes!”

What is a statement?

Peterborough City Council faces “sufficiency shortfall” due to extension of free early education places!

Members of the City Councils Creating Opportunities and Tackling Inequalities Scrutiny Committee were recently informed:

“From 2014, the government is proposing to extend free entitlement (15 hours) to 2 year olds. This support will be targeted at 40% of the children nationally with eligibility criteria focused on economic disadvantaged and those with SEN. In Peterborough this is expected to apply to 50% of children. This increased entitlement will place pressure on the Local Authorities to ensure sufficiency of placement. £100m has been made available nationally to support expanding provision. As information on future funding emerges, plans for dealing with the sufficiency shortfall will be developed alongside the PVI settings.” Source Page 12 5.17

Commenting, local LIB DEM councillor, Darren Fower said:

“Unless I’m missing a trick the Tories seem to be saying that they are going to be wholeheartedly reliant upon the Private, Voluntary and Independent providers (PVI)! Maybe that’s why I’ve started seeing so many new nursery’s popping up in the city at rates that make you think I wish these guys were involved with other areas of regeneration in the city!

“In my opinion its one thing to look at using the private sector and another thing to be outwardly reliant upon it to provide services that the local authority are legally charged with doing. What assurances will local parents receive that their children will be safe, what tests will be done, can we be sure that sufficient assessments will occur? Our city can ill afford another travesty in regards Children’s Services in the city!”

If you have a comment or view please do leave it below!

Councillor confronts cabinet member over “significant pressures on the school system”

The chart shows the growth result from rising birth rates and how they are impacting upon primary schools.

At the latest meeting of the Creating Opportunities and Tackling Inequalities Scrutiny Committee local LIB DEM ward councillor Darren Fower, asked the Tory Cabinet Member for Education, what he would say to those who suggest his decision to close schools like Honeyhill and Bretton Woods, was a mistake given the city’s expected shortfall over the next few years?

Commenting, Cllr Fower said:

“Cllr Holdich is always keen to talk about the millions his council has been handed or borrowed to try and rectify the schools shortfall scenario, but ask him about his ill judged decision to close and in some cases replace schools with supermarkets and he’s not quite so bold in his response. Basically, his argument is that he would have need a magic ball, but surely growth in population is something that we all expect with each passing year?”

Details in the report presented to the committee it states:

* “..the last 4 years have seen a significant increase in pupil numbers within the city.”
* “Since the 20th July, over 1,300 applications for school places have been received.  80% are new arrivals to the city.  This growth from outside the city equates to 2 large primary schools or 1 secondary school. ” – So basically about the same as what you closed???
* Under the Tory controlled city council “…we are now below the 5% surplus threshold on all year groups in the city with significant pressures in Year 1 and Year 11.”
* The present growth in pupil numbers “…is placing significant pressures on the school system in Peterborough.”
* Despite already spending millions of taxpayers money on school extensions etc The Tory controlled council “anticipate” they’ll need around £117m in the next 9 years to keep pace with  demand creating in excess of 6,000 places!
For more information please CLICK HERE!

Norwood School Field gates to be opened for remainder of the Summer Holidays

Following concerns raised by local residents, about the play field to the rear of Norwood School and that it had been consistently locked, the City Council have now confirmed that they will be unlocked for the remainder of the Summer holidays, allowing members of the community to access it, instead of jumping over the fence.

Commenting, local LIB DEM ward councillor, Darren Fower said:

“I received several queries as to why the gates had been consistently locked, despite the good weather and that the holidays are on, a time when young people are looking for somewhere to go and kick a football about etc

“It seems, having looked into this, that there has been something of a communication breakdown, but this has now been resolved. The school have agreed they will leave the gates open for the remainder of the holidays and the Council have said they’ll ask for a report on how things have gone from the school after that.

“Obviously it’s impossible to guarantee that they’ll be no problems, but the field is there for the community outside of school hours and therefore they should at least be able to access it and make use of the clean, green area for a bit of fun!”

Cllr Darren Fower tells us that he’s asked that the City Council copy him in on the subsequent report and hopes that a solution during school term can also be secured, adding that “… the School is part of the community and in reflection the community must be there for the school.”

What do you think? Please leave comments below.

£141,000+ 4 Schools in South Werrington & North Gunthorpe

Local Liberal Democrat councillor for South Werrington and North Gunthorpe, Darren Fower, has welcomed the coalition Government’s announcement that the final Pupil Premium figures for Norwood Primary School, Welbourne, Gunthorpe Primary, Ken Stimpson and Werrington Primary School, will see each school receive an extra £488 for each child on free school meals that they have on their roll.

The actual figures for each school are:

Norwood Primary School – £10,248

Welbourne Primary School – £18,056

Gunthorpe Primary School – £36,405

Ken Stimpson – £62,464

Werrington Primary School – £14,640

Commenting, Cllr Darren Fower Said:

“Lib Dems have always believed that education is the engine of social mobility, now we are making it happen.

Peterborough as a whole will get an extra £1731000 from the Pupil Premium to improve the education of the most disadvantaged children. This has to be good news!

“This is a real milestone for the Lib Dems ini government. The Pupil Premium is a policy that our guys devised and campaigned for, and put at the heart of our Coalition negotiations. Now it is more than good policy, it is a reality making a difference to the school down our way. It goes directly into classrooms and will benefit all pupils.”

Sarah Teather MP, Minister of State, Department for Education, added:

“It is also a milestone in breaking the link between poverty and achievement, tackling Labour’s shocking legacy where the richest 16-year olds are three times as likely to get five good GCSEs as the poorest.

“This is just the start. We know that some families eligible for free school meals don’t claim them, for example, because some don’t know they can, and so their schools are missing out on funding. We also need to find out what schools are doing that’s really making a difference.”

If you’d like to help, you could contact your local school to find out how they are using their Pupil Premium funding, and how they are making sure they are reaching every child.

Find out more about the pupil premium by clicking here!

Time Running Out to Apply for Secondary School Places

Parents of children who are due to move up to secondary school in September 2012 have until midnight on Monday 31 October 2011 to apply for a school place.

Applications for children who were born between 1 September 2000 and 31 August 2001 can be made online on Peterborough City Council’s website

Jonathan Lewis, Assistant Director for Education and Resources within children’s services, said:

“The admissions process is important for parents and it is vital that they apply before the closing date. Those who apply after the closing date may not get the school of their choice.

“Applying online for school places has proved popular with parents and feedback tells us that the system is well constructed and easy to use. Parents who apply online have extra flexibility because it enables them to make changes as many times as they like before submitting the completed form. It also means that they find out before those who make written applications which school they have been offered.”
 
Parents should have received a booklet from their child’s current school which gives all the necessary information and lists all the schools in the Peterborough City Council area. Forms are also available from Bayard Place on Broadway, Peterborough, or on the council’s website. Parents have until midnight on Monday 31 October 2011 to complete the form online. Paper forms are also available which need to be completed and handed in at Bayard Place reception by 5pm on the same date.

For a step-by-step to applying on line, or to apply for a school place online, visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/admissions.