Millions of pounds in extra cash are coming to Stockport school children after a campaign victory for Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government.
Lib Dems want to close the gap between children from rich and poor families. Their manifesto called for a ‘pupil premium’ policy, which would pump £2.5 billion directly into schools with disadvantaged pupils.
The money would be used to confront the scandal that pupils from these backgrounds are three times less likely to achieve five good GSCEs than their more well-off classmates.
Lib Dems in Government have succeeded in making the premium a reality. Now more than £2.6m of extra money will go straight into local schools here in Stockport.
Lib Dem Children & Families Minister Sarah Teather said “The Pupil Premium will benefit poorer pupils, providing extra money directly for those pupils who need it the most.
“This extra funding will help tackle inequality and enable schools to provide the extra support their pupils need to reach their full potential.”
Every school in Stockport will now get nearly £500 for every child on Free School Meals.
Stockport Academy will get an extra £91,744, Stockport School £65,880 and Adswood, Bridgehall and Banks Lane Primaries a share of an extra £115,144.
The schools will decide for themselves how the money is spent, with options including cutting class sizes, extending school days or one-to-one tuition sessions.
“Instead of government targets, our schools will decide for themselves how the money is best spent for kids in our schools,” said Ann Smith.
“This is a great example of Liberal Democrat work at the local and national level coming together to help schools like ours in Stockport.”
Stockport’s Lib Dems are working hard to make sure the Council prepares now for our winter weather.
Teams from Stockport Council are working through the night to change bulbs in streetlights older than three years old, to head off any potential problems this winter.
Road repair crews are working on Stockport’s roads fixing everything from potholes to manhole covers, broken bollards to damaged flagstones.
3,000 repairs have been made to local roads, with the most popular routes targeted first to ensure disruption to travel is kept at a miminum.
The Council is also prepared for winter gritting and has stockpiles 4,500 tonnes of rock salt to make sure routes are kept clear and grit bins filled for residents to use on roads and pavements in their community.
“Residents are working with the Council by letting us know of any broken street lights or potholes so that we can prepare for winter,” said Sue Derbyshire. “They can report these to the local Lib Dem teams and we will pass them on for attention.”
Adswood’s local Councillor Ann Smith has scored a success in her campaign to stop cars parking in the Bus Stop in the centre of Adswood.
It is illegal to park in the Bus Stop and causes inconvenience to other drivers as well as residents whop use the buses that serve Adswood.
Ann, who lives up the road in Bridgehall, is just a short walk from the shops and sees the problems cars parking in the Bus Stop creates.
“This causes all sorts of problems for everyone else and I know a lot of residents, shop owners and bus users feel quite strongly about it,” she said.
“This is why I talked to the people at the Council responsible for transportation and to the local Police. I wanted to know what could be done to stop inconsiderate drivers parking in this Bus Stop.”
As a result of her action Stockport Council has recruited six new traffic wardens. Their job is to make sure the rules are being enforced locally. Ann has told residents to contact her if cars continue to park in the stop.
Davenport’s Lib Dem Councillor Ann Smith has written to residents in Davenport about her campaign to stop a proposed reduction of the service at Davenport train station.
Users of the station have a train every half an hour to either Manchester Piccadilly or Buxton between Monday and Saturday.
But Labour-run Transport for Greater Manchester has proposed reducing the service to Davenport on the Piccadilly-Buxton line to one train per hour in an effort to increase the speed of the service to Buxton.
Local residents have been critical of Davenport’s Labour Councillor, David White. They are asking what the Reddish-based councillor has been doing on the issue of the reduced service as he sat on Greater Manchester transport committees until recently.
Ann has written to Davenport residents saying that she is going to fight the proposals. She has initiated a petition residents can sign to make sure their voice is heard and that TfGM knows that the station is well used by local residents.
“If residents sign the petition I can show Transport for Greater Manchester that enough residents care about the service, and we will have a better case to stop our service being cut,” said Ann.
Councillor Sue Derbyshire has arranged a public meeting for local residents to discuss the future of the Woodbank nursery site.
The meeting comes after anonymous leaflets were seen in the area claiming that the former Woodbank nursery site will be used to accommodate ‘drug users and alcoholics,’ claims that Sue has described as “completely untrue”.
Councillor Derbyshire has written to local residents to invite them to the meeting to have their say and to ask questions if they have concerns as the claims are “alarming people needlessly.”
She has called on the people involved to stop spreading lies and to contribute positively to the debate about the future of the site.
Local charity CASU are looking to run a market garden on the site, growing fruit and veg which they would sell to people in disadvantaged parts of Stockport.
The charity is staffed by volunteers who have been helped to successfully recover from alcohol addiction and wish to put something back into the community.
“All volunteers are carefully vetted. None have criminal records or use drugs as has been claimed,” said Sue. “The charity already grows produce at the Torkington allotment in Hazel Grove. No problems have been experienced by other users. They have a very good track record. “
The meeting will be held at the Woodbank Community Centre on Turncroft Lane on Monday 17th October at 6.30pm. Residents who are interested in reading the Council report regarding the Woodbank Community Development can read this here.