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Articles about ‘Education & children’

Support Sport this National Obesity Awareness Week

It’s two weeks into the New Year and we’re at the point where many of us forget about our resolution of shedding a couple of pounds. With that in mind, this week is National Obesity Awareness Week.

Almost a quarter of children in Birmingham (23.4%) are classified as obese, compared with 10.1% nationally. Meanwhile the number of recorded cases of diabetes is double the UK average, affecting almost 8% of Brummies compared to a 3.5% national average.

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The Conservatives and Bournville College, “Nothing to do with us Gov. Blame everyone else”

Next week I will be meeting the Chair and Acting Principal of Bournville College to run through the financial and strategic issues they are facing. We will be discussing what needs to be done to safeguard opportunities for young people in the South Birmingham area and beyond, and to build a secure future for the college itself – a keystone of the redevelopment of the Longbridge area.

I don’t want to pre-empt that meeting. However, both common sense and what is already known suggest that there is neither one single cause of the problems the college is facing nor one single solution.  By the same token it would be utterly shallow for anyone to try to divert attention away from some of the real problems the college is facing for no better reason than self-interest.

That however, seem to be precisely what the Conservatives are now trying to do. Writing on Facebook today, the Tory Parliamentary candidate for Northfield had this to say:

“Any suggestion that it is government funds that has led to these problems is highly inaccurate. Government funding settlements are agreed years in advance and whatever problems the college faces are not linked to this.”

You can’t get clearer than that, can you? Whatever has gone wrong – it’s nothing to do with their gang. Blame someone else.

Really? Consider this:

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The Edge Academy Edges Closer

It will not be revealing too many trade secrets for me to say that I am not a big fan of the Government’s “free schools” programme. I put that in quotes because I think that a lot of what Michael Gove is doing to education in this country has very little to do with freedom. In many cases, the reverse is the reality.

However, one less well known approach to free schools comes from  “Alternative Provision” free schools. Here in South West Birmingham, a group of exciting schools have come together to develop that approach with their proposed creation of  The Edge Academy.

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Commons Select Committee Report on White Working Class Education

The House of Commons Education Select Committee have published an important report on educational underachievement by children in white working class communities. This is a key issue for the Northfield area, and one that I’ve been looking into for years.

In 2009 I held an adjournment debate on the problem after a report funded by Birmingham City Council revealed that a high number of white pupils on free school meals in Birmingham were performing poorly at schools. I raised my concerns about the severe gap in educational achievement between poor and better off white children and calling for recognition of the problem in the mainstream political debate. So in 2013 I was pleased to see the Select Committee launch an inquiry into the problem, which I submitted evidence to.

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Mothers day – the Coalition con on childcare

On this Mothers day, families would be forgiven for thinking they’re in for a £2000 subsidy on their childcare costs under plans recently announced in the Budget. Whilst any new money to help families facing soaring childcare costs is welcome, this Coalition con should not fool mums and dads in Birmingham.

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