Parents take action

The first meeting for the parent action group is scheduled for next Tuesday 25th June. There is a good deal to discuss:

  • The School Expansion Programme Phase 2 Report that was approved by Enfield Cabinet on 19th June
  • The setting of clear objectives for our group
  • The name of our group (my suggestion is SWEAT – South West Enfield Admissions Team, we’re sweating for our children)
  • When, where and the regularity of meetings
  • Analyse and understand the Council’s responses to questions raised at the meeting on Tuesday 30th April
  • Decide next steps

There are 6 members of the group at the moment and we would welcome further members. If you are interested in joining please use the Contact Us page on this website, wewantlocalschools.wordpress.com or Foxlane.net to get in touch with me.


Primary Schools Open Meeting

Last night I chaired the meeting on Primary Schools Admissions held locally and facilitated by the Fox Lane and District Residents’ Association, of which I am a committee member.

The meeting was in two parts:

  • Understanding Central and Local Government strategy on Admissions
  • A forum for the audience to express opinions and concerns and to question the panel.

I want to thank the panel and the audience for attending the meeting and participating in a lively debate. The panel were:

  • David Burrowes MP
  • Cllr Ayfer Orhan (Cabinet Member for Children & Young People)
  • Andrew Fraser (Director of Schools & Children’s Services)
  • Jenny Tosh (Assistant Director for Education)
  • Neil Best (PEP Stakeholder Engagement, Schools & Children’s Services)

David Burrowes spoke first on local issues (he is a local resident) as well as on the national picture and he was followed by Neil Best presenting for the Local Authority.

This was followed by a lively and emotive debate. The audience consisted of parents, local Councillors and FLDRA residents. Many of the audience were residents who had been disappointed by Walker admissions, and the cancelled expansion that was proposed for the school. We were able to provide an update on the Walker position as the Walker Chair of Governors had hand delivered a letter to the FLDRA chairman, two hours before the meeting was due to start. The letter will be published on the FLDRA website http://foxlane.net/ in due course.

I will be posting again after I have gone through all of the content of the meeting. My twitter feed gives an impression of what happened as my husband, Jon, kindly posted as me throughout using the #EnfieldSchools.

The meeting may be over but I see this as the start.


Update–Open Meeting Tuesday 30th April 7.30pm

Did you know that 250,000 school places will be needed by September 2014?

Did you know that a family who live a 90 second walk from Walker School cannot get their children admitted to that school based on the distance criteria?

Did you know that there are plans to build over 300 family homes in the Southgate area? Where will all these incoming families send their children to school? Something needs to change!

I have organised a meeting facilitated by FLDRA (Fox Lane and District Residents’ Association) to debate this problem.

The following representatives of Central and Local Government have agreed to attend this meeting on Primary School Places (or the lack of them):

  • · David Burrowes MP
  • · Cllr Ayfer Orhan Cabinet Member for Children & Young People
  • · Andrew Fraser (Director of Schools & Children’s Services)
  • · Jenny Tosh (Assistant Director for Education)
  • · Michael Toyer (Project Director for the Primary Expansion Programme)

Local Councillors have also been invited and I anticipate there being many parents who will have just received notification of the school that their Reception aged child will attend in September 2013.

The meeting will be in 2 phases:

  1. Understanding Central and Local Government Strategy on Primary School Admissions
  2. A forum for parents to express concerns, views and opinion

If you have a question that you would like the panel to answer then please attend the meeting or submit an advance question to the website http://wewantlocalschools.wordpress.com/ which has been set up specifically for this meeting. There is further information on this website.


Open Meeting Tuesday 30th April

I am organising an open meeting on Tuesday 30th April to debate Primary School Admissions. FLDRA (Fox Lane and District Residents’ Association) are facilitating the meeting of which I am a committee member.

In our residents’ association area there are insufficient Primary Schools and Primary School places. There is one good community school, Walker, which is Ofsted 1 and an Outstanding school. Many parents cheat to get their children into this school by taking out a short term let on the school’s doorstep and then moving once their child is in. Most admissions each year are siblings so someone who lives in Finsbury Park, for example, can send their 3 children to Walker School because of the Sibling criteria. Maybe the sibling criteria should be changed?

The meeting is in its early stages but if we get the buy-in from local and central representatives then we will have a panel to debate with. The meeting will have 2 parts:

  1. Understanding Central and Local Government Strategy on Primary School Admissions
  2. A forum for parents to express concerns, views and opinion

The details of the meeting can be taken on the website I have created for the Campaign We Want Local Schools.

More content to follow soon.


Red Nose Day

2013-03-15 19.45.43Thank you lovely bakers Jon, Mum, Liz, Flavia, Lorraine, Lucille and Julie whose delicious cakes helped raise £165 for Comic Relief.

Thank you also to all those people who supported us in the Bake Off by either sponsoring us or paying to eat our cakes.

It was funny, but also heart breaking to watch Comic Relief on the television whilst we Baked Off. As a mother with young children I got angry hearing about the preventable illnesses that the children in Africa are suffering. My anger is directed towards the Government’s of the countries which are rich in natural resources but allow their people to suffer. Thank goodness for charities like Comic Relief that improve lives.

I am fortunate to have generous friends and family who have helped to make a difference.

The title of Great Bourne Hill Baker went to the only male baker …. the odds were 7 to 1 against … and he is now the official baker in our house …. my Jon!


The Great Bourne Hill Bake Off

 

The Great Bourne Hill Bake Off …. well maybe not great …. and maybe not everyone lives in Bourne Hill … and maybe not funny (although we haven’t seen my daughter’s baking yet) …. but a few of my friends have committed themselves to raising money for Red Nose Day. If you are in the area on Friday 15th March at around 7.30pm and fancy some tea and cake , then for a donation you can sample our wares after a winning cake has been selected.

If you’re not in the area but want to support the cause please sponsor me. Thanks.


International Women’s Day 2013

Today is International Women’s Day; It falls on March 8th every year and has been observed since the early 1900’s.

I was asked to represent David Burrowes MP at an event to celebrate International Women’s Day. David Burrowes is the Conservative MP for the constituency I live in of Enfield-Southgate. I feel proud to have been asked and that David Burrowes has shown faith in my ability to speak publicly for him.

The event was being celebrated by Enfield Saheli and Naree Shakti. Naree Shakti is an organisation that aims to provide an informal advisory service for Asian women who are isolated, by language and cultural barriers. They also provide a number of activities for Asian women, including regular social events, yoga, and an elders drop in club. Naree Shakti have focused on women suffering from domestic abuse and have been very influential within the Asian community in Enfield.

The day to celebrate women was inspiring to say the least, all of the women speakers gave interesting talks or readings. Vijay Rattan gave an informative talk on the historical landmarks in Women’s history and how women have forced change.

The Mayor of Enfield spoke of personal experience, about being widowed and finding the strength like many other women in similar situations to carry on.

My talk gave a bit of background about me trying to progress my career in a male dominated profession and then a message from David. I then summarised the action that the Government is taking to tackle violence against Women and Girls and finally I read parts of a letter from Justine Greening MP written in celebration of International Women’s Day.

The message from all of the speakers was of encouragement to women and of the strength of women.

I am a school governor and mother so my favourite quote of the day was “Educate a man and you educate one person, educate a woman and you educate a generation”.


Eastleigh By-Election

Do the same again and get the same result

Conservatives need to appeal to a younger audience. The Eastleigh By-Election has proven that the old tried and tested campaigning methods aren’t working.

I was involved in telephone canvassing and that is one method of engaging with a specific demographic of voters; voters who have a landline. Other methods of engaging with younger voters are needed. If I had been standing in Eastleigh I would have used a Facebook ad and targeted the area for my advert and targeted a specific age group of 18 – 40 years. I would have been tweeting everyday and made sure all my literature had my Twitter details so anyone could follow me.

Generation Y communicate differently to the older generation and Generation Z (those born after 2000) will communicate differently from them; we Conservatives need to revise our communication strategies accordingly.

I admire Maria Hutchings for her honesty and making clear what her opinions were; for example being opposed to same sex marriage, and I’m sure that would appeal to the old Conservatives. I also think that it would have the opposite affect on younger voters.

I have read that during the lead up to the election and during the day the Conservative Association offices in Eastleigh were closed and unmanned, which appears to me to be a strategical mistake. The Association office  should have been open and welcoming constituents in the lead up to polling day. My own constituency has an Association office however whenever I visit the office it is never open and it is not obvious when it will be open.

In my opinion an Association office is the public face of the Conservative party and shouldn’t be run like a charity shop.  We need to shake up our image? If there is an Association office then it should be obvious when it is open and what its purpose is.

The Association offices need to be welcoming and encouraging the local community to get involved.

I would like to set up or participate in local a Conservative’s Women’s Organisation but because there is a regional office that exists I have been rebuffed. The regional office has invited me to a Christmas lunch which I appreciate however my type of organisation will be the one that teaches new skills, that raises money for charity, that appeals to mothers of younger children as well as older children and has a local community focus.

In summary new ideas, new people and new suggestions should be welcomed. We Conservatives should try out new things and then maybe we’ll appeal to a wider audience. It doesn’t matter if new ideas fail, failure is part of life, however doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is madness.


Eastleigh By-Election

Today is voting day in the Eastleigh By-Election caused by the resignation of the Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne, and I have been telephone canvassing for the Conservatives up to the last ….. Well nearly up to the last. My mother taught me that it was bad manners to telephone anyone after 9pm … We’re talking landlines now, so I stopped phoning before then.

The TV news has reported how fed up Eastleigh constituents are with the limelight squarely focussed on them and the number of political leaflets they have had come through their letter boxes. I’m sure the quiet will be restored again in Eastleigh next week.

Eastleigh have a Lib Dem Council, and up until Chris Huhne’s resignation, a Lib Dem MP. It will be interesting to see how the Eastleigh constituents voted today and find out the result of the Eastleigh By-Election tomorrow morning.

My own opinion is that it will be a Conservative win. If you had asked me two weeks ago I would have said that the Lib Dems looked like they would win the seat (this is my own opinion again).

In another twenty minutes it will all be over, bar the count. Fingers crossed for a Conservative win.