Last week the Brexit saga continued as there was an amendment designed to make it difficult for the next Prime Minister to prorogue, or suspend, Parliament. Once again, we are in uncharted territory in the Commons. I believe a big part of the vote to leave was about returning sovereignty to the UK Parliament and it is the job of MPs to scrutinise and vote on legislation on your behalf. Therefore, I am against suspending Parliament as it would prevent us, as your elected representatives, from holding the Government to account.
We now have a new Prime Minister and I will of course support Boris Johnson in trying to deliver Brexit and hope we can finally move on to other key areas such as finding a sustainable model for social care and better funding for our schools and police.
It wasn’t all drama on Brexit and Leadership, I spoke in several debates on rural and village school funding, children’s mental health and radiotherapy treatment in England. In my education speech, I highlighted some of the funding concerns raised with me by local Headteachers during my visits. Many of our rural schools are struggling as funding is allocated on a per-pupil basis, and many village schools such as those in Bosham, Rogate and Compton have very small class sizes. The national funding formula is largely positive providing transparency when previous different formulas (over 100 of them!) only masked the inequality of funding across the country. So I, along with other West Sussex MPs have been calling for more funding for our schools which are the fifth-lowest funded at primary and sixth-lowest funded at secondary across the country.
I also spoke about some wonderful initiatives which are helping our local schools and recently met Lindsey Parslow, founder of a charity called Business2Schools. Her charity gathers items from businesses including desks, computers and chairs and donates them to schools. The charity works across the length and breadth of the UK, and almost 20 schools in the Chichester district have signed up. Their work is much appreciated and it ensures school budgets are spent on educational resources whilst businesses provide high quality furniture and the latest IT equipment. These donations can be transformative as this IT equipment provides schools with the resources they need to improve digital learning and coding skills which the next generation will need in the 21st century workplace. It is also good for the environment as it avoids perfectly good items going into a skip which is a win/win.