Week Ahead- 1st April 2019
On Monday, I will be returning to Parliament where I will meet with Labour’s Brexit team. The main order of business is the second set of indicative votes by MPs to try to find a way out of the deadlock surrounding Brexit. At the time of writing, it is unclear which options will be put forward by MPs or which options Mr Speaker will call for debate. The one thing that is clear is that Theresa May’s deal is dead following its third defeat by Parliament. It’s time for MPs to work to find a solution that will allow us to Brexit or, if this cannot happen, to acknowledge that it is now time for a general election to break the impasse.
Outside of Brexit, I will be making a contribution at the Westminster Education Forum event on the Government’s Green Paper on Mental Health. I’ll be arguing that the Green Paper was a missed opportunity and fails a whole generation of young people. As a former teacher, I was particularly concerned about the way the proposals put more pressure on the teaching workforce without providing sufficient resources.
Later in the day I will be meeting with Beccy Earnshaw and the team from the Oracy Network to discuss the recently launched inquiry into how Oracy is currently taught in schools and how improvements can be made to the quality of its teaching. As part of this, we’ll be asking for contributions from members of the public and experts to the inquiry and I will let you know how you’ll be able to contribute in due course. I’ll also be meeting with the Samaritans and attending a reception to celebrate 20 years of the minimum wage, one of Labour’s greatest achievements and a policy that has definitely changed the lives of millions of working people in this country for the better.
On Tuesday, I will be attending a meeting of the Education Select Committee in the morning. The topic for this session will be the Fourth Industrial Revolution and we will be taking evidence from a delegation from Taiwan.
Later in the afternoon, I will be leading a Westminster Hall debate on youth inmates in solitary confinement. A report was recently published by the Children’s Commissioner which drew attention to the worrying rise in the number of young people who have been segregated in custody. The segregation of young offenders in secure settings receives significantly less attention than other issues within the youth justice estate. Restraint, for example, has been the subject of intense media scrutiny, independent reviews, and a thematic report from HMIP. I hope that raising this issue in Parliament will begin a conversation about the humane treatment of young offenders and allow us to build a better policy that will ultimately stop reoffending. Following this, I will be meeting the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations.
On Wednesday, there will be an accountability hearing of the Education Select Committee that will be attended by two Ministers- Anne Milton, the Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills and Nick Gibb, the Minister for School Standards.
Following this I will be attending the APPG for the prevention of adverse childhood experiences. The focus on this session will be around preventing relationship breakdown and the negative effect that relationship breakdown can have on children. Preventing adverse childhood experiences is an issue that I am particularly passionate about and I will be co-hosting an event on the issue in Hull in the coming weeks.
I will also be speaking in the Veterans Suicide Debate. Our veterans put themselves in harm’s way to protect our country and our way of life and it is right that we should honour them and support them when they leave the forces. I’m proud of the fact that Hull City Council has a Gold Award for the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) for employing veterans and former members of the armed services. I’m also proud that veterans organisations that we have in Hull and have often praised their work in the House of Commons but many of these organisations are run solely by volunteers. It is time for the government to step up and providing more assistance to prevent more veterans from contemplating suicide.
On Thursday, I’ll be in London for Brexit questions before returning to Hull to meet with constituents and assist them with casework. I also expect to release a press release for the results of the survey I conducted of headteachers in Hull West and Hessle. Please keep an eye on my Facebook to find out more.
On Friday, my meetings include Hull Training and Adult Education and The Deep.
Other things to note
I recently sent a letter to Simon Stevens, Head of NHS England calling for a day to be set aside to be ‘Bug Busting Day’. Headlice is a problem that is traditionally linked to schools. Last winter saw a big increase in the number of head lice outbreaks this winter with children from low-income families hardest and a UK study of 200 children found nearly half had been infested with head lice in the past five years – significantly more than the 2% to 8% estimated to have experienced nits in the past. Headlice treatment charities such as Community Hygiene Concern are linking this to the recent change in NHS guidance which recommended that treatment is not routinely prescribed. Repeatedly buying over the counter headlice treatments are expensive and we believe that unless the issue is addressed, it may lead to poorer children, who have parents who are unable to afford the treatments, being bullied or otherwise stigmatised. Headlice outbreaks can also be exceptionally disruptive to learning within schools and may harm the education of some children.
It used to be the case that schools were provided with free Bug Buster resources including a free bug busting wet combing kit, worksheets and lesson plans on how to treat headlice. The scheme proved to be particularly effective in Cheshire West where all schools were advised by the then Primary Care Trust (PCT) to take part in the Bug Buster control scheme. This scheme has, unfortunately, been discontinued because of government funding cuts.