City schools sing for planet Earth

Six songs for planet Earth sung at St.Mary’s in the Lace Market, by 10 Nottingham primary schools, in an afternoon event organised by the Nottingham Music Service (the lead organisation for Nottingham Music Hub; t: @NottMusicHub).
Found our when I bumped into a crocodile of kids from Greenfields from The Meadows walking to the event.
Around 100 parents and carers attended.


Cuts to schools budgets

Conservatives to Cut £650 from Every Nottingham School Pupil

by Cllr. Sam Webster, Nottingham’s Portfolio Holder for Schools.

nottm-school-cuts-c2w7vq-xcaabwq-ab1035hOn Wednesday 14th December 2016 the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening announced a new funding formula for schools up and down the country.
The Conservative Government’s new method of funding, directly targets schools in Nottingham for potentially the biggest real terms reduction in budgets they have ever faced.
While our schools in Nottingham are set to lose tens of millions of pounds in the coming years, in keeping with a current Tory theme, schools in some of the wealthiest areas of England are set to gain.
By targeting Nottingham the Conservatives have demonstrated yet again that they don’t act in the interests of our children, our schools or our City.
This latest move quite simply takes money from children in Nottingham only to hand it to wealthy, rural and mainly Conservative-voting shire areas such as Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire.
Other large cities, urban areas and areas with the highest levels of child poverty such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool are also being targeted in the same way.

The graphics are from the Schools Cuts web-site.
Unless the Government allocates more money, schools will lose £3 billion a year in real terms by 2020.
98% of schools’ costs are rising faster than their income.
60% of secondary schools are running deficit budgets.
For each graphic-
[1]: The estimated reduction in the school’s annual budget by 2019 in real terms, under current Government policies. These include plans to reallocate school budgets according to a new national funding formula, and not increasing funding per pupil in line with inflation. Find out more about our calculations.
[2]: Amount that would be lost for every pupil at the named school as a result of the reduced budget. The school has 273 pupils according to the Government’s school census.
[3]: Equivalent number of teachers that would be lost based on the average teacher salary at named school, or £37,250 if the figure is not published.

Honours reflect well on The Meadows

Last time I reacted to the New Year’s Honours List, I sent a quote from Chamberlain (from Birmingham) to Dennis Pettitt (from Birmingham) when he was awarded a knighthood.
My favourte line on this is how all the Notts Conservative Agents for MPs who lost in 1997 got OBEs, and all of those who served the Labour MPs declined them in 2010.
Three of this year’s honours reflect on The Meadows.
Carol Norman – heateacher of Welbeck School;
Le-Roy Edwards – who has run an education, training and employment centre in Wilford Grove;
Marcellus Baz – who runs a youth boxing club from Portland Centre, and previously from QWCC.

Lilian launches Nottingham’s new electric bus fleet


A new fleet to support new services, including the new park & ride link to the 2 city centre shopping centres, starting in January.
Celebrated by winning posters from 10 pupils at Welbeck primary school, who have each had a bus named after them!
Fuller write-up by Nottingham Post available.
Some more photos available in Facebook.

If it seems smooth today, it’s because of the conviction and steel shown by those from the ’70s, who are most defibned by their belief in local public ownership. Cos –
The controversy was in the mid-seventies – when radical policies were first introduced – e.g. Bus lanes and zone and collar;
The controversy was in the mid-80’s when the City District rates wre doubled to provide free travel on buses for the elderly; (a national first);
The controversy was in the 90’s, using reserves to put Bulwell and Mansfield back on the railway map;
The controversy was pushing for a tram to serve the busiest bus corridor in the city;
The controversy was creating a clear zone in the city centre and re-organising the NCT buses (unchanged for decades), and more bus lanes;
The controversy was introducing a congestion charge so that commuter in cars paid for improvements to public transport, not the people who live in the city and suffered the commuting;
The controversy was expanding the tram system in the last few years when people projected an increase in deaths and injuries.
What seems like seemless now is cos of the values, vision and struggle from those of our recent and not quite so recent past.
Some of the names may surprise you – Frank Higgns, Betty Higgins, Terry Butler, John Taylor, Brian Parbutt, and there will be others.


Food for Life: Greenfields awarded Gold

A celebration of the end of a two-year phase of Food for Life, aimed at giving primary and secondary school pupils and their families the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to cook, grow and enjoy good quality, affordable food, and to use healthy school meals as a way to improve nutrition for school children.
Greenfields school have reached gold standard.  (I was at a launch event there last year.)
Currently 40 schools have been involved, and I met teams from Our Lady (Bulwell) and St.Augustine’s (Belle Vue).
One of the founders of the project prompted the idea whilst working at a Nottinghashire village school and has recently been recognised by BBC Radio 4 for her influence.


International Art Week at Welbeck School

Hugely entertaining display of art, drawing from Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Picasso, Japan, Estrada, Klimpt and Goldsmith.

Visited with Lilian Greenwood MP and Cllr. Nicola Heaton.


Forced Academisation debate

The leader of Nottingham Conservatives read out a briefing during a debate on the forced academies at the City Council, and it was clearly struggling.  In essence the Labour councillors could not relate to what was being described as real.  One colleague stated it was a briefing, but couldn’t see, like I could, that it was a letter from the Secretary of State.
Although I had one doubt, cos the signature was much clearer than the scrawny one shared recently when there was criticism of the SATs exam regime.
One the perceived u-turn – cos it isn’t – one former work colleague posted “She’s quoted by the BBC as saying ‘This is about being a listening government and I would consider myself to be a listening secretary of state. Better to have reforms than have none at all.’
I can’t make any sense of that last sentence.

Yep, as if it’s change for change sake.
But it isn’t.  It change to give control of schools to businesses.
It’s not abour education, and you can tell, cos what we learned under Labour was that there were four key things to look for – quality of leadership, quality of management, quality of teaching and quality of learning.  And those concepts were not in the letter.
Spending on schools almost trebled under New Labour and indeed, for the most soically challenged schools, it was more and it was quicker – wih big improvements in attainment.
Yes – you look back and think – if only we could have found a better way of assessing wider aspects of child development; if only we’d focussed harder on making the job market ready for the higher qualified children we were educating, if only we hadn’t put so much emphasis on the notion of super-heads, which has created a job spec for headteachers that so many seem to struggle to fulfil.
But it was a period of massive progress.  In contrast of what’s developing now – schools no longer being as inclusive, too many being expeled and taught out of mainstream, too many questions developing about the quality of the businesses being created to run our schools and too many being paid high wages out of proportion to the value they add, and too many teachers deciding the workplace is not a supportive enough environmnet, leading to both vacancies and to the employment of people who are not properly qualified.