Developing Local Schools

Today, I visited Walton Oak School, in Walton, which has just had funding approved for a new Breakfast and After School Club and Nurture room, which will provide a range of opportunities for local pupils and parents. I toured the school with the headteacher and governors, and had a look at the site for the […]

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The Guardian plugs Esher Neighbourhood Fund

The Guardian carry a thoughtful piece today on the Big Society, Community Foundations and the work of Dr Helen Bowcock in Surrey. The article, available here, highlights the long ignored local diversity of incomes and need in areas with high ‘average’ wealth (like Surrey) and points to the Esher Neighbourhood Fund as an example of […]

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Talent Spotting

Today, I visited Saville Consulting, another great example of an innovative business on our doorstep. Set up by Professor Peter Saville, the business is based in Claygate and pioneers innovative ways to recruit staff – including devising pyschometric and competence based tests. His techniques are used to recruit talent, from commercial leaders to specialist roles, […]

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Standards in Schools

On Thursday, we had a debate on educational performance in Parliament. I raised a number of local issues – pressure on school places, the funding formula – with Schools Minister, Nick Gibb. We also had an interesting wider debate about teaching standards and core learning. I argued that ‘ the recipe for success is not […]

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Election Week

This week, we have local elections and the referendum on AV. On Sunday, I debated local elections on the Politics Show with Tom Brake MP (Lib Dem) and Kelvin Hopkins MP (Lab). You can watch the show here (from around 30mins). One of the interesting points often overlooked in the South East is the comparison […]

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Fire and Rescue

Today, I was given a tour of Walton Fire and Rescue Depot. Les Dodd and Paul Kenny explained how the station operates, including the mix of fire response and water-based incidents they have to deal with, coupled with the preventative side of their work in the community. I met with local officers (pictured below), and […]

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Fact-Checking Channel 4

I am a big fan of Channel 4 News. It offers a different take on things, with its self-styled ‘edgy’ analysis. Channel 4 run a FactCheck report that goes ‘behind the spin’ to ‘dig out the truth’. So, it was disappointing to see their stilted analysis of the application of the new Homes Bonus on […]

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Sport in State Schools

Last Saturday I went along to support Paul Reynold’s pioneering efforts to get more young people involved in sport across the community. He organised a POP Lacrosse day at Claremont Fan School, bringing in a whole range of local schools and youngsters, from those playing for the first time to England internationals. Claremont Fan School […]

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Roads and Parking

There has been progress on a couple of bread and butter local issues. Surrey County Council have agreed that the default position for smaller villages and parades, in their parking charges review, will be half an hour free on street parking. They will look at the evidence for each locality – and consider the case […]

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Esher Neighbourhood Fund

I have regularly commented on this blog about the neglect of areas of lower income and relative need across the county, identified in Dr Helen Bowcock’s excellent Hidden Surrey report. Tomorrow sees the launch of a project to help address the issue. I have been sitting on a steering group with members of the Community […]

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