Having a good local secondary school to choose for your child is rightly one of the most important issues for people living in Southwark. So every year I carry out a report looking at the number of parents in Camberwell and Peckham who are able to get their children into their first-choice secondary school.
The teachers and support staff in our secondary schools work incredibly hard. Parents, pupils, teachers, Southwark Council and the local community all want our schools to continue to improve. My report this year shows that 3 of the 8 schools serving children in Camberwell and Peckham – Charter, Ark All Saints and Sacred Heart – were oversubscribed. And St Thomas the Apostle increased their first-choice applications from parents living in Southwark by a third in just one year.
5 of the 8 schools serving children in Camberwell and Peckham were undersubscribed for first choice applications from parents in Southwark. The lowest were Harris Academy Peckham (23% of places available), Harris Boys Academy East Dulwich (27%) and Harris Girls Academy East Dulwich (37%).
Only 59.7% of parents in Southwark got their first preference secondary school in 2018, compared to the national average of 82.1%. That is the 8th lowest of all the local authorities in the country and means 1,180 children in Southwark were left without their first-choice school. In comparison 98.1% of parents in Northumberland got their first preference.
This is the story across the whole of London – indeed the bottom 10 local authorities in England are all London boroughs. A third of new pupils missed out on their first choice in London this year, compared to the national average of 17.9%. And this is a problem which only seems to be getting worse - 2% more parents in London missed out on their first-choice school this year than in 2017.
But I am concerned that the progress that’s been made is under threat as the Tories push ahead with the first real terms cut in Southwark school budgets for over two decades, despite the strong opposition voiced by local parents, headteachers, Southwark Council and myself and fellow Southwark MPs Helen Hayes and Neil Coyle.
The Government cannot expect schools to improve without proper resources. It is ludicrous to suggest that Southwark schools can manage with less, and somehow make cuts of £500 per pupil by just reducing electricity and IT bills. Local headteachers have been clear to me that they will not be able to make the cuts from those efficiency measures alone. They fear they will be forced to cut teachers, support staff for SEN children and after school clubs, and are looking at their budget sheets wondering how they’ll possibly maintain current standards.
While I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement in the Budget of an extra £400m for schools to provide what he called ‘little extras’, this hardly gets close to replacing the money local schools have lost since 2010. Many schools in Southwark don't have enough funding to deliver the essentials let alone provide 'little extras'. What they desperately need is improved central government funding - I am calling on the Government to end the cuts and back Southwark Council up in their action to improve schools in the borough. I have forwarded a copy of my report to the Education Secretary, Damian Hinds MP to ask what steps he is taking to ensure every school is a good school that parents want to choose.
 Source: Applications and offers for entry to secondary schools in England for the start of academic year 2018/19, DfE. Data collected from local authorities on Secondary National Offer Day - 1 March 2018.
Having a good local secondary school to choose for your child is rightly one of the most important issues for people living in Southwark. So every year I carry out...
Good to meet up with parents, children and staff at Brunswick Park Primary School today.
Good to meet up with parents, children and staff at Brunswick Park Primary School today.
The Mother of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman MP, has today published the findings from the first-ever Women MPs of the World Conference which saw women from 100 parliaments and 5 continents debate in the historic Chamber of the House of Commons on 8th November 2018.
The summit considered a wide range of issues and found:
- virtually all the women MPs face opposition to their participation in public life. That ranges from abuse online, threats in person and threats to their families.
- some women had fewer children than they would have wanted because of finding it a struggle to combine their political duties with their family responsibilities. Some women found that their husband struggled to accept their role in public life. One was told by her husband to choose her marriage or her politics. She said her choice was politics but when she became successful he relented, becoming happy to share the limelight.
- once in parliament, many women MPs find that they are overtly discriminated against - they reported not being called to speak and not being able to sit on committees let alone chair them. They spoke of being criticised for their appearance including having the temerity to wear lipstick.
- in many countries there was abuse and manipulation of the quota systems to support women MPs. This ranged from men putting their wives, girlfriends, mother’s or sisters into quota seats so that they could control them.
- women found that working in women’s caucuses across party was essential to ensuring their demands could be acknowledged and met.
- there was a strong strand of work by women MPs on women’s safety - at home, at work and on the streets. Many countries are bringing in tough new laws against street harassment.
- some younger women MPs reported being sexually harassed by older male members of their legislature.
Harriet Harman MP, Mother of the House of Commons said:
“There are now women in nearly every parliament in the world. We have fought our way in past prejudice and discrimination, often in the face of threats and violence.
“Women in parliament are pioneers. We have been elected to sit alongside men in our legislatures. But we are, as yet, not on equal terms. We are still in a minority and are relatively new arrivals in legislatures which are male-dominated.
“Most global summits are male-dominated or even men only. For men MPs the international network is well developed, but it isn’t for women.
“Out of our conference has come a powerful global network of committed women who want to work together for progress for each of our countries and all of our people. There was a strong desire to hold the conference annually in different parliaments around the world so we can continue to support each other and share ideas. Women in politics are a new force for global change.”
For more information contact Rachel Smethers [email protected] / 07852213922
Notes to editors:
- Full report attached.
- This conference was supported by the FCO, DFID, GEO, Wilton Park, British Council, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, IPU and CPA.
- The Chamber was used for the plenary sessions. The “breakout” sessions were in the Commons Committee rooms.
- The plenary sessions in the Chamber were broadcast live and a Hansard transcript was produced.
- The chairs of breakout sessions were women MPs from the UK and other countries jointly.
- Women make up 24% of global legislatures. The UK is ranked 38th in the world, with 208 women MPs (32%).
- Twitter: #WomenMPsoftheWorld
The Mother of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman MP, has today published the findings from the first-ever Women MPs of the World Conference which saw women from 100 parliaments...
The Attorney General has sought to establish a new principle that the Government can ignore the will of Parliament if the Government believes it’s not in the “public interest”. That cannot be allowed to stand.
Speaking in the debate in the House of Commons Chamber today on the Government's refusal to publish the legal advice they have received on the Brexit agreement Harriet Harman MP challenged the Attorney General on this point:
"Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman acknowledge frankly to this House that publishing this paper on the legal position on the withdrawal agreement and his statement to the House today does not represent compliance with the motion of this House that was passed unanimously on 13 November, and does that not represent the following fundamental point of constitutional principle?
"It would be serious for any Minister to resist a motion of the House, but it is more so for it to be the Attorney, going along with Government defiance of the House, when his very office is about our constitution—when he is the person in Government whose job it is to make sure the rest of them stay within the rules. How can he do that if he himself is acquiescing in breaking them?
"He has in his statement rightly acknowledged that he has a duty to this House as well as to the Government and that his duties involve giving legal advice to the House. It is in our Standing Orders that he is legal adviser to the Privileges Committee.
"So how can we have a situation where the Attorney allows the Government to openly defy the will of the House?
"The Government have a choice: they can either comply with the motion of the House or seek to change it, but they cannot remain in defiance of it. It is the Attorney General’s responsibility to tell them that; will he?"
Read the full debate here.
Read the motion of the House passed unanimously on 13th November requiring the Government to publish the legal advice on the Brexit Withdrawal agreement in full here.
The Attorney General has sought to establish a new principle that the Government can ignore the will of Parliament if the Government believes it’s not in the “public interest”. That cannot be...
“This new survey backs up our concerns and those of organisations like Rape Crisis and Limeculture who sit in court supporting rape victims through the ordeal of trial. The Criminal Bar Association survey shows in a quarter of all rape cases the defence makes an application to the judge to be able to cross-examine the complainant on her previous sexual history and in the overwhelming majority of those cases the application is granted so that the complainant faces interrogation about her sex life in open court. Reporting restrictions don’t save the complainant from the humiliation of having to answer questions about her previous sex life and now social media means that those reporting restrictions cannot effectively be enforced against those who choose to share the information online.
“The survey of 140 criminal barristers, directly involved in both prosecuting and defending in rape trials, proves that the Government are wrong to rely on the assurance from the Crown Prosecution Service that everything is fine. This is another serious dent in the deeply flawed CPS research published earlier this year by the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General.
“It’s clear that a change in the law is needed. The Courts and Tribunals Bill which is now being considered by parliament is the opportunity to do that and address a problem which undermines the prosecution and traumatises the complainant. The Government have launched a Victims Strategy consultation. But it has a big gap in it unless they tackle the problem of victims in sex cases being interrogated about their previous sexual history”.
Dame Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria said:
“We cannot allow rape trials to be inquisitions into the complainant’s sex life. The fear of a complainant being confronted with evidence relating to sex with other men in open court is, and has always been, a huge deterrent to reporting rape.
“The Criminal Bar Association’s study is further evidence that the Government’s review carried out by the CPS does not reflect the situation in court rooms across the country.
“The Government must use the Victims Strategy and Courts and Tribunals Bill to protect complainants and ensure they are treated fairly in the court room”.
For more information contact: Rachel Smethers [email protected] 0207 219 2057
Notes to editors:
- The Criminal Bar Association report found of the 565 complainants, 144 (25%) involved applications being filed under section 41.
- The report shows that of those 144 section 41 applications 105 (73%) resulted in questions by the defence being allowed, either by being agreed between counsel, or being granted by the court in full or in part.
- Harriet Harman and Vera Baird wrote to the Attorney General and Secretary of State for Justice on 8th January 2018 to challenge the Crown Prosecution Service’s research on section 41.
- On 29th January 2018 Harriet Harman and Vera Baird launched a cross-party coalition to challenge the Government to take action on the use of rape complainants’ previous sexual history in court.
- On 25th September 2018 Harriet wrote to Justice Minister Edward Argar to urge the Government to include complainants’ previous sexual history being dragged through the court in rape trials in their forthcoming Victims Strategy consultation.
- Harriet Harman raised concerns about the operation of section 41 in the Second Reading of the Courts and Tribunals Bill in the Chamber on 27th November 2018.
PRESS RELEASE: NEW CRIMINAL BAR ASSOCIATION STUDY CONFIRMS OUR CONCERNS ABOUT COMPLAINANT’S PREVIOUS SEXUAL HISTORY BEING DRAGGED THROUGH COURT IN RAPE TRIALS
“This new survey backs up our concerns and those of organisations like Rape Crisis and Limeculture who sit in court supporting rape victims through the ordeal of trial. The Criminal...
Today Stephanie Peacock MP and the Mother of the House of Commons Harriet Harman have called on Speaker Bercow to set in train parliament’s adoption of the GMB ‘Work to Stop Domestic Abuse’ Employer Charter to ensure that parliament is an exemplary employer in how it deals with employees who are experiencing domestic violence.
Adopting the policy would include adopting clear procedures for supporting staff experiencing domestic violence, notifying staff of the policy on posters around parliament and never saying “this is a private matter which must not be allowed to affect your work”. Ms Peacock, a former officer of the GMB union brought GMB members and officers to parliament last week to set out why the new policy is needed and how it would work.
GMB policy has been consulted on with trade unions, employers and organisations combatting domestic violence. And individual GMB members who’ve experienced dealing with domestic abuse while they hold down a job.
According to new data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales 2 million adults aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse in the last year.
Harriet Harman MP, Mother of the House of Commons said:
“When a woman (or a man) is subjected to domestic violence, their workplace can either make things worse for them by saying that it’s a personal issue which must not be allowed to affect their work. Or it can be a safe place to disclose and through which to find help.
“People suffering domestic abuse need to know where they can get help. Even a poster with a phone number on it can save lives.
“As a large employer of over 6,700 staff Parliament has the opportunity not only to help our individual employees when they need it most but also to be a high profile example to other employers around the country. That’s why we are urging the House to adopt the thorough policy developed by GMB.”
For more information contact Rachel Smethers: [email protected] / 0207 219 2057
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- GMB ‘Work to Stop Domestic Abuse’ Charter
- Domestic abuse findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales: year ending March 2018 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/articles/domesticabusefindingsfromthecrimesurveyforenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2018
- The GMB Charter launched at a House of Commons meeting on 26th November 2018, chaired by Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East and GMB member.
Today Stephanie Peacock MP and the Mother of the House of Commons Harriet Harman have called on Speaker Bercow to set in train parliament’s adoption of the GMB ‘Work to...
I’m working with Stephanie Peacock MP to press Parliament to lead the way & adopt GMB’s model policy to ensure employees suffering domestic violence get the support they need at work. Thanks to the brave survivors who spoke out in Parliament on 26th November.
I’m working with Stephanie Peacock MP to press Parliament to lead the way & adopt GMB’s model policy to ensure employees suffering domestic violence get the support they need at work....
To mark 100 years since women won the right to stand for election women from all over the UK including Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle came to Parliament today. Much work still to do — women are outnumbered by men 2 to 1 in the Commons.
To mark 100 years since women won the right to stand for election women from all over the UK including Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle came to Parliament today. Much work still...