Categories
3 Featured Children & Young People Community Economy Office News

Liz visits Brightsparks Nursery in Crawcrook

 

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and indoor

I visited Brightsparks Nursery in Crawcrook last weekend, and was delighted to see all the fantastic work staff there are doing to make it an “Outstanding” rated Nursery.

Unfortunately, maintaining this standard is now going to be very difficult. The Government’s new funding regime has created a major shortfall for many nurseries -Brightsparks included- and staff are very worried about making ends meet.

I am therefore going to be doing what I can to put pressure on the Government to reconsider this appalling decision.

***

Today I asked the Minister for Children, Young People and Families how nurseries are supposed to remain open when facing such a shortfall under the new funding regime.

After staff at the nursery had told me how difficult they were finding it to make ends meet, I was determined press the Minister on this.

I hope the Minister will now take a thorough look at the costings of the new funding.

 

Categories
2 Featured Children & Young People Office News Schools & Education

Youth Parliament debate on Religious Education

36884113_2142674362679830_8912681558725361664_nThis afternoon I chaired a debate on the teaching of RE in schools.

Young people from across the country, including a group from Whickham School in my constituency, have come to Westminster to debate issues around religious literacy.

They have debated the right to withdraw from RE lessons, challenging extremism and whether there is still a place for the study of RE in a modern, secular society.

I’m pleased that MPs have joined us to listen to such an eloquent and stimulating debate.

Thanks to NATRE, RE Today and the RE Council for organising such an informative and challenging session.

36816470_2142674462679820_4919997428272201728_n

Categories
Children & Young People Office News Schools & Education

Visit to St Joseph’s Junior School in Birtley

Liz visited St Joseph’s Junior School in Birtley this morning as part of Parliament’s Education Service and the North East outreach programme.

Liz said “Thank you to staff and pupils at St Joseph’s Junior School in Birtley this morning for such a warm welcome. There were so many fantastic questions from key stage 2 pupils about being an MP and how Parliament works.”

Categories
3 Featured Children & Young People Families Health & NHS Social Care

Liz’s contribution to the “Autism Community: Mental Health and Suicide” debate

You can watch and read Liz’s contribution to the Autism Community: Mental Health and Suicide debate below:

“First, I thank the hon. Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Dr Cameron)—sorry for my pronunciation—for her thoughtful and comprehensive speech, and for setting out the difficulties that people with autism face. I am tempted to say, “What she said,” but I do not think that does justice to the situation.

I just want to touch on a few points. Earlier this year I met Autistica, a charity that does research into autism. If other hon. Members have not seen its report “Personal tragedies, public crisis”, which looks into why people with autistic spectrum disorders die early—up to 16 years early, as the hon. Lady said—I would encourage them to do so. It makes shocking reading. The key points include the point that autism in itself is not a mental health problem, but that eight out of ten autistic people will face mental health difficulties, such as anxiety and depression. Four out of 10 children with autism have two or more mental health problems. The research also shows that suicide is a leading cause of death among people with autism. Autistic adults without a learning disability are nine times more likely than others to die by suicide, and autistic adults with a learning disability are twice as likely to be die by suicide. Those are shocking figures. Suicide is preventable, and we need to do much more to reduce those figures.

We also need to recognise some of the specific problems people face. As other Members have said, many mental health problems can look different in autistic people. We need to recognise that and make sure that the issue is addressed, and that people have the appropriate treatments and are dealt with properly.”

“Intervention from Barry Sheerman MP for Huddersfield:

My hon. Friend is quoting from an excellent piece of research, but is she aware that the autism commission I chair has ​conducted a piece of work about the spectrum of obstacles and the difficulty that people with autism face in getting through to the right people in the health service? Those two pieces of research are so powerful.”

“I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention, and I absolutely agree that the two pieces of work go together and can help us to improve services for people with autism spectrum disorders.

As others have said, it is becoming increasingly obvious that some mental health therapies are not right for people with autism and do not work in the same ways that they do for other people, and we need to do more research into those areas.

It can be difficult for autistic people to approach services for support, and we have already heard about the issues with going to a GP surgery. Autistic people and their families are also left fighting the system too often, because information is not shared.

We need to do a number of things. First, as others have said, we need to diagnose autism much earlier so that appropriate interventions may be offered to people with autism and their families. Secondly, we need to record people who have autism on GP records and collect data so that we can identify the issues and develop appropriate services. It is good that, in the Westminster Hall debate in September, the Government committed to gathering data. I hope the Minister can update us on progress on that.

Next, it would be useful to hear from the Minister what progress is being made on developing the autism care pathway proposed in the “Five Year Forward View for Mental Health”, and whether it will address suicide specifically.

There is concern that suicide prevention measures are not well designed for autistic people. I hope that the Minister will look at what needs to be done differently to reach and support autistic people in crisis.

Finally, none of the recent Cross-Government suicide prevention strategies make reference to autism. Given that we now know that the risk of suicide is so high in the autism community, and that there are very different issues to be considered, as we have heard, will the Minister commit to ensuring that the next strategy looks directly at how to help autistic people in crisis?”

Categories
Children & Young People Office News

Winner of Christmas Card competition announced!

All primary schools across Blaydon constituency were invited to take part in this year’s Christmas Card competition. A huge thank you to all pupils who took part, we received some brilliant designs.

Kaci from Gibside School has won this year’s competition with a wonderful design featuring Rudolph and three of his festive friends.

Thanks to Jim, our local Postie, for judging the winning design.

Congratulations Kaci!

 

Christmas Card

 

Categories
Children & Young People Community Families Schools & Education

Further real-terms funding cuts for schools

NEU

Commenting on the Education Secretary’s statement to the House of Commons on the new schools National Funding Formula, Liz Twist MP for Blaydon said:

“Today’s announcement shows the Government has yet again failed to address the real issue at the heart of our schools; that there simply isn’t enough money going to schools in the first place. At the recent General Election school cuts came up time and time again on the doorstep, with many parents and teachers concerned that many schools were struggling to cope with the increasing demand and reaching a tipping point.

“The Education Secretary has now confirmed that, despite a record number of pupils in schools and inflationary pressures, there is no new money going into the system, meaning a real terms cut for schools.

“Schools across Blaydon constituency face real uncertainty about the future. Head teachers cannot be expected to make further “efficiency savings” when they are already struggling to set school budgets. Heads need to be able to plan for the future and this announcement gives very little detail about funding beyond 2020.

“This broken promise shows the true extent of Tory contempt for pupils, teachers and parents, many of whom are still waiting for new schools to be built seven years after the school building programme was cancelled. Only a Labour government can be trusted to reverse the school cuts and invest in our young people, to make sure that every child is given the opportunity to reach their full potential.”