By alister BRADY / Education / 0 Comments

Conservative Led Kent County Council have announced that the Conservative Government (department of Education) have removed the guidance from Local Authorities the ability to delay the selection tests. This is despite the huge disruption of learning and opportunities during the pandemic for children which is still ongoing that they wish to, again, put ideology before children.

Kent Labour believe that every child needs to be treated fairly based on their wide range of skills and knowledge gained throughout their primary education phase and if Kent wishes to continue using selective education then it has a duty of care to all children to ensure such a test is fair, open, inclusive, accessible and transparent.

County Councillor Alister Brady the Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Education and Skills says: ‘Any test should be a true reflection of the skills gained over a sustained period of time with everyone treated equally and fairly. This pandemic has exposed some of the deep rooted problems in Kent such as with poverty, including digital poverty and educational attainment and rather than helping to mitigate that and doing the right thing to, at the very least, postpone this test until they can prove all children have had the opportunity to catch up to pre pandemic levels the Conservative Administration together with Senior Officers at KCC are further entrenching this unfairness. We call on KCC to postpone this test and work with schools as well as children and the families to ensure that any such test reflect the need for fairness. If other systems are good enough for those at GCSE and A Level then what is the excuse this time here in Kent?’

Over this summer Kent County Council are planning to spend £10m on the Reconnect Programme to help young people catch up but serious questions surround its deployment and whether it will make a different. Kent Labour Group have supported plans for it to receive proper scrutiny. The Labour Group have published a detailed list of questions they believe need answering before the summer holiday.

County Councillor Dr Lauren Sullivan –Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Group at Kent County Council says “The fact that there are so many questions does call into question how this programme, while admirable in its aims, will be able to evidence the quality of delivery and sustainability of reconnecting children and young people with the possibility of snatching away this hope in 2022, when the program ends, along with the fear of all other universal open access children’s and youth provision being further eroded due to the continuing budget pressures.”

 

By alister BRADY / International Affairs / / 0 Comments

Kent County Council has announced today that it it, once again, is seeking to forgo its statutory Duty of Care legal duty for vulnerable children who happen to be unaccompanied asylum seekers or refugees. This move is the latest chapter in attempts by Kent County Council to get central government to accept a duty of care over those who land on our shores. It is a damning indictment that after eleven years of the Conservatives being in control of both Kent County Council and central government, no resolution has been reached.

In a joint statement by the new Kent Labour Group, our councillors noted that “whilst we hear a lot at Kent from the Administration and Senior Officers about the need for KCC to support only the vulnerable rather than universal provision. This rhetoric rings hollow when some of the most vulnerable are used in a political game by two Conservative Administrations.”

Dr Lauren Sullivan, Leader of the Kent Labour Group decried the decision as yet more evidence of an “ongoing failure”, and evidence that “politics is more of a priority than providing a duty of care in Kent”.

Whilst Labour agrees that Government needs to find a long-term solution with Kent County Council in relation to those vulnerable children and young people, including fully funding asylum seeker services so that other services do not suffer, we believe these young people deserve certainty first and foremost.

Newly elected councillor for Canterbury City North, Alister Brady said,  “once again we bear witness to the Conservatives inability to support and protect Children at County and National level. Actions speak louder than words and we see their actions falling far short of acceptable. A caring society is judge on how we treat children of all races, Kent County Council must do better, KCC must start to care!”