I am pleased to enclose my latest newsletter, which is a snapshot of a few of the activities that I have been involved within the last week or so.
Visit to Bourton-on-the-Water Primary Academy
Continuing my consultations with Head Teachers, I visited Bourton-on-the-Water Primary Academy to hear their views on the proposed new national funding formula ahead of me taking a delegation of MPs to see the Prime Minister later this week.
All of the Cotswolds larger primary schools and all secondary schools will see their budgets cut in cash terms while costs rise in real terms.
A productive meeting was had with Head Teacher John ap Robert Jones and Chair of Governors Prof. Alan Gibbons. They explained that having to cut their budget would inevitably mean a cut in teacher and teaching assistant numbers. They emphasised that the Cotswolds has made great strides in the last few years in upgrading its Ofsted assessments to good and outstanding. There is a fear that these improvements could all begin to be reversed under the Government’s new unfair funding proposals and that class sizes would begin to rise again. I will be reinforcing these points that Gloucestershire’s heads have made to me to the Prime Minister.
(l to r) John ap Robert Jones, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Prof Alan Gibbons with pupils
I was very pleased to be invited to visit the newly revamped McDonalds at the Kings Meadow Service Centre with Manager Paul Hayes. Huge improvements have been made as a result of nearly £1million of expenditure. The business has seen a significant increase in custom since these renovations have been made which have enabled a quicker and better service to be provided. On this occasion I only sampled a cappuccino – no Big Mac!
(l to r) Paul Hayes, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
I was invited to participate in a high-powered debate on Brexit at King’s College London in front of about 80 students. A straw poll taken before the debate commenced indicated that about 80% had voted to remain and, somewhat surprisingly, another poll halfway through the debate showed that about 70% of the audience believe that the referendum itself was undemocratic.]
I made it clear throughout the debate that Brexit offered a wealth of opportunities for the UK in the wider world. I also said that it was simply unthinkable that EU citizens living in the UK legitimately would be made to leave following our departure from the European Union.
Geoffrey Clifton-Brown with fellow debaters
Fire Service College
I joined colleagues – including David Amess MP, Chair of the APPG for Fire Safety and Rescue – for a visit to the Fire Service College in Moreton-in-Marsh. Everybody was extremely impressed with what they saw and couldn’t believe that the Government has just arbitrarily withdrawn the National Resilience Capability contract. At my visit it was agreed the group would for its return but also that the college should be awarded the major defence fire training contract – I will be seeking to lead the debate on this subject in Parliament.
(front row l to r) Managing Director Darren Bance, David Amess MP, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, Sumari Duval
and members attending a brigade leaders course.
Minchinhampton Neighbourhood Plan
I visited the Neighbourhood Development Plan Roadshow at Brimscombe Primary School. I was extremely impressed by the quality of exhibits at the roadshow and above all the evident amount of hard work that had gone into preparing for the Neighbourhood Plan to get to this stage.
It is surprising that Minchinhampton and the surrounding parishes covered by the Neighbourhood plan covers are home to over 2,000 people. The plan will go through further consultation followed by a referendum in which 50% of local residents must vote in favour for the plan to proceed for approval by Stroud District Council and finally the Secretary of State – Rt. Hon Sajid Javid MP.
Seeing this amount of community involvement has absolutely reinforced my belief that a Neighbourhood plan is an excellent way of involving local people in the planning process and being able to shape the future of their communities.
(l to r) Phil Raby Smith, Nigel Parry, Cllr Dorcas Binns, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown
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Saturday 1st April 10am to 12noon
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