16 to 18-year olds have been the biggest losers in ten years of Tory cuts to education funding. Funding for sixth formers is now significantly lower than funding for students in secondary schools or universities, and it has led to course closures, reductions in student support services and a sharp increase in class sizes.
I took part in a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday in support of the “Raise the Rate” campaign calling for the annual funding rate to increase to at least £4,760 per student. Watch my speech here where I also urged the Minister to restore Educational Maintenance Allowance and give teachers and lecturers the pay they deserve to safeguard the sector.
On Wednesday I attended the Rare Disease Day reception and handed over the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rare, Genetic & Undiagnosed Conditions to my colleague Liz Twist MP. I also showed my support for climate education alongside several Hornsey & Wood Green residents at the Teach the Future campaign, a student led group calling for a climate emergency education plan. It’s frustrating that our young people are having to take the lead because there is no sense that Boris Johnson’s Government is treating this emergency with the urgency it needs whilst the gap between our emissions reduction goals and the Government’s policies to meet them is only increasing. But our youngsters are proving themselves more than capable of stepping up to the challenge. This week I also took part in a lively panel discussion with sixth formers at Fortismere School on what more the Government could be doing to tackle the climate emergency and joined the Model UN Conference at Highgate Wood School on the same subject.
In the constituency I held a busy advice surgery and met with the Chief Executive of Wood Green The Animals Charity. I presented him with a petition signed by over 2,000 people in support of my campaign against the closure of the Lordship Lane shelter which has been in our community for almost 100 years. I urged him to rethink – there’s still time to support the campaign at https://www.catherinewest.org.uk/latest-news/2020/02/17/sign-my-petition-save-wood-green-animal-shelter/
I also attended the excellent launch of Haringey’s Women’s History Month at Bruce Castle Museum where I spoke about the role of carers and the huge progress Haringey Council has made in expanding the Living Wage to include care workers.