Working to Protect Endangered Species

On our summer holiday we did our bit for the conservation of the endangered sea turtles. We went to the mass release of hatchlings at Alagadi Beach by Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT – Kuzey Kıbrıs Kaplumbağaları Koruma Cemiyeti) and Exeter University students.

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”18″ display=”basic_slideshow”]The hatchlings we released into the sea were rescued from nests where they became trapped and would have died. By having the public assist in mass releases it greatly improves the chance that the hatchlings will survive over being released individually.

The volunteers were walked in darkness to the seafront and we were each given two hatchlings to release together. No white light was allowed as the hatchlings navigate their way to the sea by moonlight.

A wonderful experience!


Turkish exams saved!

In Turkey I was asked about our new Prime Minister Boris Johnson and what he could do for the Turkish community.

I told them how he had already helped the Turkish community in education.

I was fortunate to meet the PM during the 2015 General Election, when he was the then Mayor of London and he came to Enfield, on the train using the services he managed, to support Conservative candidates standing for election. I was standing in Edmonton and Nick de Bois was standing in Enfield North.

We met him off the train at the aptly named Turkey Street Station and he gave a rousing speech to supporters.

He was asked to support the Save Turkish Exams campaign which was threatened with retirement. He not only supported but used his influence to change policy and Turkish exams continue today.

He already has delivered for the Turkish community and will continue to do so.

Education & Arkadas in Istanbul

I was delighted to meet Prof Dr Zeliha Koçak Tufan, from the Turkish Government, Council of Education, in Istanbul, where I saw a summer school for overseas students in action. I was introduced to Prof Tufan at the T.C. Londra Büyükelçiliği / Turkish Embassy in London by HE Umit Yalcin last month, where we met to discuss initiatives to support Syrians.

The location for the summer school was in the historic building Rabi Madrasa, pictured below, constructed by the Ottoman architect and engineer Mimar Sinan and built in the 16th century and now used by the Turkish Academy of Science.

I was given the opportunity to speak to the students about the social action initiative I am working on, which brought me to the Education Department, Project Arkadas, and about my work as Conservative Friends of Turkey.

A lovely visit followed by a wonderful lunch at Istanbul University, thank you for your hospitality.

The start of #Arkadas

Bowes Southgate Green

I attended a meeting at Bowes Southgate Green School on Thursday 18th July at the request of a parent because the school has been threatened with closure by Enfield local authority.

The new 1FE Bowes Southgate Green School opened in September 2014 following a campaign I initiated due to the lack of primary school places in the local area. Parents and the local community were delighted by the proposals for a new school on land adjacent to Grovelands Park set out by Gary Barnes, a council officer from Enfield back in 2013. The new school would open on a temporary site at Broomfield School until the Grovelands project, plans below, could commence following a site survey by English Heritage.

Five years after the school opened a Bowes Southgate Green mum tells me that she doesn’t know where her child’s brother will go to school as Enfield are threatening to close Bowes Southgate Green. Enfield’s Neil Best said at the meeting that Enfield local authority don’t have a site for the school and renewal of the lease for the temporary site with Broomfield School is not guaranteed. There will be annual reviews to determine the site status.

At the meeting an Enfield Education representative ridiculed the proposal of a school on the land adjacent to Grovelands Park, proposals that were put forward by themselves. What better environment for a school than next to a park with green space for children to explore and thrive in. It is certainly better use of the Enfield owned derelict land than to leave it for bad behaviour and drug related activities that currently take place.

The Enfield Council representative gave the impression that a school would have an adverse effect on the park, either she has not done her homework or was trying to stop debate before it started. The school could have been built on land adjacent to the park but the Council admitted at the meeting that because of their lack of commitment no progress was made.

A new school would not impact on the current Grovelands Park boundaries and the project had the full support of the Friends of Grovelands Park group.

The meeting became very political with the Council implying that the process for funding a site limited them. I had to remind Enfield Local Authority that Ashmole Primary School, 2FE established in 2016 moved into brand new state of the art building in September 2018 following Government investment of £7.5mn, bringing investment and jobs into the local area. The school had been created because of the commitment of all of the stakeholders.

Ashmole Primary School is a free school that resides in London Borough of Barnet but due to its location on the Enfield border provides approximately 50% of its school places to Enfield children. The Enfield local authority is passing its responsibility for school places to other local authorities whilst expanding schools that are unpopular with parents in its own borough and threatening to shut down schools that are popular with parents.

Bambos Charalambous, MP for Enfield Southgate, refused to make any firm commitment to assist in resolving the issue and implied that the school at Grovelands was no longer required because Ashmole Primary School had met local demand. I offered to work with him to find a solution but he was reluctant to engage with me.

There were over 400 applications for 60 school places for the 2019 admission to Ashmole Primary School so I can inform the MP that there is more than enough demand for a new 2FE on the Grovelands site. The local authority and the local MP don’t seem to understand that parents want to send their children to outstanding schools near to where they live, not to schools where space has been created in a poorly judged Enfield expansion program.

Council vs Free School? The evidence is here, this is the reality for two mums who live near to each other.

Bowes Southgate Green Mum – is scared for the future of her family, will her child’s sibling be going to the same school as his brother? Uncertainty and fear is her future whilst Enfield holds annual reviews to determine what their future will be.

Ashmole Primary School Mum – is delighted, her three children will all go to Ashmole Primary School in a brand new state of the art building, built to accommodate 420 children which has just been rated outstanding by Ofsted.

This is about real people, not policy! Do the right thing Enfield!

Sign the petition to save Bowes Southgate Green…

100 Years of Conservative Women’s Organisation

100 years of the Conservative Women’s Organisation 
100 Conservative Women 
100 words

Day 101 – In this 100th year of the Conservative Women’s Organisation CWO London have featured 100 inspirational Conservative women, in 100 words, over 100 days on our Facebook page.

Thank you to everyone who contributed by suggesting women and providing data. It has been a joy researching those that were featured and learning about their achievements. One thing is obvious from all of the women is that hard work and determination can do great things.

Sadly the 100 days are over and there are many more women that we wanted to feature but couldn’t. Let’s continue to recognise women’s achievements.