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Sign: Letter to the Prime Minister to stop holiday hunger

Many constituents have got in touch after reading Marcus Rashford’s open letter to all Members of Parliament. Stephen welcomes this letter and supports calls for Government to make sure no child goes hungry this summer by funding Free School Meals.

Please add your name to Stephen’s letter to the Prime Minister to lobby Government to stop kids going hungry:

 

 

Thank you for signing the letter. Stephen Morgan and the Labour Party will use the personal information you provided for the purpose of the Holiday Hunger campaign. Where you have opted in, Stephen and the Labour Party may contact you via the communication channels you have chosen and for the purposes specified. We may also contact you by post using the electoral register, which Stephen is entitled to use as an MP and the Labour Party is entitled to use to further its objectives as a political party. You can opt out of communications from us or manage your preferences at any time. For more information about how we use personal data please click here

 

 

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City MP responds to SAGE verdict that it is unsafe to reopen schools on 1 June

On 28 May 2020, the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies stated that it there was not evidence suggesting that it would be safe for schools to reopen. Despite this, Government remains committed to opening early next month.

Alongside teachers’ unions, and after listening to constituents’ concerns, Portsmouth South’s Stephen Morgan MP has taken a number of important actions to hold the government to account for this decision-making.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Government continues to repeat that we must be led by science but continues to ignore the advice of Independent SAGE when it comes to school reopening.

Returning to school is a priority for the sake of pupils’ education and well-being however I believe schools should only open when it is safe to do so.

Teachers do a fantastic job in educating our children and young people and have been working throughout this pandemic to support the families they work with.

Whilst I welcome efforts made by the city council in engaging schools and teaching unions, I remain concerned that the Government has failed to provide assurances to parents, school staff, and pupils, only publishing their plans a few days before the end of half term”.

On 28 May 2020 the Prime Minister said the Government will move forward with its plan for some pupils to return to schools in England from 1 June 2020.

On the same day, the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies stated that “decisions on school opening should be guided by evidence that there are low levels of Covid-19 infections in the local community in which the school is situated and the ability to rapidly respond to new infections through a well-functioning, coordinated, local test, track and isolate strategy.”

SAGE argued that it has “seen no compelling evidence that these conditions have so far been met across the country”. They continued to say, “Until they are, it is not safe to open schools everywhere on June 1.”

The city MP added:

“The Government has repeatedly been asked to set up a taskforce of education unions, parents’ organisations and health experts to agree upon a series of practical safety measures that must be met before any date for reopening was confirmed.

It is vital that the Government carries the confidence of trade unions, school staff and parents. It must work closely with them to ensure safety concerns are addressed.

I will continue to hold government to account for, what has been so far, deeply misguided decision-making.

The need to get this right could not be more important, all choices must be informed by evidence and fact. Pupil and teacher safety must come first”.

Stephen Morgan MP has been taking a variety of actions on schools returning for some time, concerns over the safety and well-being of pupils and school staff.

Already he has written out to all schools in the constituency during this crisis, hosted a ‘School Call’ open consultation with parents; liaised with teaching unions and city council; written to the Education Secretary with local concerns; and continues to raise the matter in Parliament.

He continues to join frontbench colleagues in calling for government to set up taskforce. A copy of the report from Stephen’s School Call and the concerns raised by participants can be found on his website.

 

 

 

 

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City MP hosts ‘School Call’ bringing together parents, teachers and unions over concerns on school reopenings

Last night, Stephen Morgan MP teamed up with NEU President Amanda Martin and brought together parents and teachers for an open consultation.

The constituency-wide conversation – which took place via zoom – follows Government’s controversial proposals to send some pupils back on the 1 June, a decision slammed by unions and parents alike.

The conference call included addresses from the National Education Union  President and the city MP about the national lobbying effort to make sure that when schools reopen, they are safe for both pupils and staff.

City MP Stephen Morgan set out his parliamentary actions before opening up for questions and agreeing to take forward a set of actions in support of concerned parents and schools’ staff.

Amanda Martin, the President of Europe’s largest teaching union, spoke on the NEU’s 5 tests, current gaps in evidence and the problems with comparing the UK with nations such as Denmark and the Netherlands.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“Government’s current proposals for reopening schools put pupils and teaching staff at risk. The consensus among teachers, unions and parents in the consultation revealed deep set and justified concerns.

We all want pupils back at school, but everyone loses if the proper preparations are not made. Lack of accurate guidance on workplace safety, unsubstantial scientific evidence supporting the proposed return date and the non-existent national testing strategy need to be addressed before dates are set.

There is a lot at risk if this is not done properly. I have already taken action alongside teaching groups in holding government to account for this decision. I will continue to work on the set of actions agreed through our discussions yesterday.”

Prior to the meeting, Stephen Morgan MP had already written to the Education Secretary, submitted a string of written questions and established communication with every school in the constituency.

NEU President, Amanda Martin said:

“Lack of published scientific evidence, patchy workplace safety guidelines and an absence of a testing process mean that reopening schools in early June runs the risk of harm coming to teachers and pupils.

I will continue work alongside Stephen to apply pressure on government to meet the NEU’s 5 tests, which have been backed by the British Medical Association and Parentkind.”

Over 40 attendees took part in the consultation. The main concerns raised included transparency in government decision making, the need for science-based evidence, importance of ongoing communication, and the lack of planning for the looming mental health crisis.

Mr Morgan added:

“This is not about making government’s job harder. It is about highlighting the areas they must address to keep pupils and teaching staff safe.  

The agreed set of actions yesterday will build upon the work that we have already done to hold government to account.”

Actions agreed yesterday included lobbying government to meet the NEU’s 5 tests through parliamentary questions and ministerial engagement, maintaining regular communication, applying pressure to government to implement a strategy for dealing with mental health implications, and continued use of parliamentary process to access scientific data.

 

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Stephen’s School Call report

Lots of parents and school staff have been contacting Stephen over the last few days about schools reopening.

Stephen believes the Government didn’t think this through before making the announcement, and many headteachers – while trying to plan – are still uncertain what they are being asked to do. As an MP Stephen is doing what he can to help worried teachers and parents.

On Wednesday 20 May Stephen held a ‘School Call’ for parents and teachers from across the constituency to discuss views and concerns over the proposed plan by Government for children to start returning to school in the first week of June.

Stephen is calling on Ministers to work with trade unions and local government to agree safety measures, publish the scientific evidence and get much more of the test, trace and isolate system in place.

We all want to see children back in the classrooms but only when we’re confident it is sensible and safe.

The zoom call saw 40 parents and teachers join a discussion with Stephen Morgan MP, Amanda Martin, President of the National Education Union, and Cllr Suzy Horton.

A report from the discussion can be found here: School Call report

 

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Portsmouth schools visit Parliament as part of The Girls’ Network empowering mission

For the third consecutive year, Stephen Morgan MP has hosted a delegation of over 30 girls in Parliament.

The Girls’ Network, an organisation whose mission is to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities, focuses on mentoring to improve confidence.

The city MP orchestrated a tour of parliament and addressed the delegation before engaging in a question and answer session. The Girls’ Network then took organised a workshop focusing on female empowerment and aspiration.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“The Girls Network do outstanding work in combating female underrepresentation, bolstering confidence in young women, and demonstrating to a generation that they can aim high.

I am honoured to host, for the third time, a delegation of girls in parliament and make this often-inaccessible institution available to young Portsmouth people.

We need to see more women in high office and the centuries of structural sexism redressed. Girls Network are leading the charge and I remain committed to supporting to them in their work.”

93% of girls on the programme last year said it had improved their confidence, and 96% believe the programme has helped them feel more positive about the future.

Fiona Walsh, Portsmouth Network Manager from The Girls’ Network’, said:

Access to parliament and showcasing democracy in practice to young women from The Girls’ Network has the potential to inspire a generation.

We are delighted that Stephen Morgan MP has organised this visit and continues to support our vision of a world with more empowered women.

We look forward to continuing to champion greater access to opportunities for young women and working alongside Stephen Morgan in this endeavour.”

The city MP has long supported Girls’ Network via their Portsmouth branch, supporting them through organising visits, tours, meetings and securing them access to parliament.

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“Education is key to tackling climate change” says city MP as he joins students in Parliament for Teach the Future

Stephen Morgan MP joined a parliamentary climate change event alongside students from across the country, including Portsmouth.

The city MP today attended Teach the Future, a parliamentary campaign seeking to urgently reform the education system to focus further on climate change.

Mr Morgan said:

“I believe that we need to ensure that the education system is at the heart of the Government’s plan to tackle climate change, so the next generation can lead society to safety.

That is why for some time I have been campaigning alongside local activists, XR, Friends of the Earth and youth movements to put pressure on government to act.

We have already seen leadership from youth movements across the nation and it is now time government matched this commitment. As we draw nearer to the UK hosted COP26, the need could not be greater for government action.”

This is not the first time Stephen Morgan MP has taken action to promote the need for educational reform. In 2019, the city MP wrote a targeted letter to the Education Secretary demanding climate change be considered a core subject. A request refused by the Conservative government.

The city MP said:

“If we do not undertake a major structural overhaul of our education system, we are clipping the wings of future generations ability to tackle the world’s greatest issue.

75% of teachers surveyed by teach the future say they feel they have not received adequate climate change training. 4% of students say they feel they know enough about the issue. Cleary government needs to make changes.

That is why I remain committed to applying pressure and scrutiny to all government decision making on this matter and will continue to fight for increased education on our environment in schools.”

The city MP has been a climate ambassador both in Portsmouth and parliament. He has worked alongside XR and Friends of the Earth, played a crucial role in the declaration of a climate change emergency locally and nationally, has applied scrutiny to government decision making and continues to organise major community. 

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Stephen Morgan backs Labour’s plan to improve education standards for all children

Labour is today announcing a plan to improve education standards for all children following the The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed on Tuesday that children in the UK are worse off than those in other countries.

The total additional investment in schools over three years will amount to £25 billion compared to £14 billion promised by the Conservatives.

The extra funding will be used to raise school standards across the country, with a range of new policies aimed at improving educational outcomes.

Stephen Morgan said:

“The first stage of the battle against inequality is ensuring that every child gets access to a first-rate education. I am a firm believer that if children work hard and aim high they should be able to achieve.

Sadly, in Portsmouth our schools have lost £34.9 million since 2010 and each of the 51 schools in our patch is set to lose £4 million following recent Governments austerity measures.

I am proud to represent the only party with a comprehensive plan for tackling the crisis in our schools. I welcome today’s announcements which is another positive plan for Portsmouth.

I went to schools in Portsmouth. I want future generations to have the same, if not better, opportunities than I did. Education spending has declined a staggering 25% in seven years. I’ll keep fighting for our city’s schools. It is what our children deserve.”

From lobbying Government Ministers with Portsmouth teachers in parliament to going out and visiting every school in his patch, Stephen Morgan has a record of delivery when it comes to standing up for funding our city schools. He needs your support on the 12 December to carry on this vital work.

Stephen Morgan said:

“I went to schools in Portsmouth. I want future generations to have the same, if not better, opportunities than I did. Education spending has declined a staggering 25% in seven years. I’ll keep fighting for our city’s schools. It is what our children deserve.”

Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“Labour will transform education standards in this country for every child, capping class sizes and ensuring every child is taught by a qualified teacher in a safe school building.

“We will invest in record per pupil funding, restore the Pupil Premium and close the gap in support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, to give every child the support they need.

“The Tories cannot be trusted to do this. They have slashed school funding for the first time in a generation, leaving pupils taught by unqualified teachers, crammed in to super-sized classes, and not receiving the support they need.”

Labour will:

• Cap all class sizes at 30 by recruiting nearly 20,000 more teachers
• Guarantee that every child is taught by a qualified teacher, ensuring around 25,000 currently unqualified staff are fully trained during Labour’s first term in office
• Ensure teachers will have more time for lesson planning and professional development
• Invest in ensuring that all school buildings are safe, with a new fund of over £7bn to tackle the backlog of vital but overdue repairs and install safety measures such as sprinklers
• Close the gap in funding for pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, with extra funding to reverse deficits in the High Needs Budget
• Fully reverse cuts to the Pupil Premium, and increase spending on it above inflation to support the most disadvantaged pupils.

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New charter for arts another positive plan for Portsmouth

Eddie Izzard joined Stephen Morgan on the campaign trail to back Labour’s new charter for the arts as part of its commitment to transform the country.

Labour promises support the arts at the “heart of government” with £1bn of new investment in a renewed cultural strategy.

Welcoming the proposals, 2017 winner Stephen Morgan, standing for re-election as Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, brought Eddie Izzard to the city to promote the positive plan for our city’s communities.

The Arts for All policy charter sets out a comprehensive programme of support for Britain’s arts and culture sector, promising to radically expand access and increase funding for the arts.

Labour’s new charter for the arts sets out ambitious plans to:

• Invest £1billion to transform the UK’s cultural landscape by upgrading and building new libraries, museums, galleries and arts venues across the country
• Invest £175 million a year in an arts pupil premium to give every primary school student in the country access to creative and cultural experiences
• Launch a new ‘Town of Culture’ competition
• Invest £1 billion in Youth Services
• Maintain free access to national museums and galleries
• Introduce greater transparency in lottery funding and ensure grants are shared out fairly between all our communities

Eddie Izzard said:

“The cohesive affect that the arts have on our communities could not be more needed at this time of uncertainty and division.

Only Labour have a manifesto pledge to recognise this and I sincerely hope that Portsmouth South residents back Stephen Morgan as the only candidate to carry on the vital work that he has been doing for the city.”

Stephen Morgan said:

“Portsmouth deserves a government with a wide-ranging programme and unwavering commitment to support and fund the arts.

I want to ensure that every child in every part of our city and our country has the opportunity to learn an instrument, engage with the arts and develop their creativity.

I am really pleased proper funding for the arts will be central to Labour’s commitment in Government to enable Portsmouth people to lead more enjoyable and fulfilling lives.”

This follows local authority funding cuts meaning that national portfolio organisation funding has fallen by £14 million in the past year, according to new data from Arts Council England.

The 649 applicable organisations in ACE’s portfolio received £113.3 million in funding from local councils in 2016/17, down 11% from £127.5 million the previous year.

In Government, the party would establish a co-ordinating committee for arts and culture working across government departments to drive a national cultural renewal.

Eddie Izzard then joined Stephen Morgan and hundreds of local Labour activists at a major public event hosted at a local business.

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Stephen Morgan – “People in Portsmouth South have been denied adult education – but Labour’s going to throw open the door to lifelong learning.”

With nearly 60% per cent of people in our region not educated beyond an A-level-type qualification, Labour will today announced plans to ensure everyone has access to education and training throughout their life to end skills shortages and “allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future”

Stephen Morgan said:

“People in the South East have been denied adult education –so often it’s costly or difficult to access. That’s why the next Labour government’s going to throw open the door to lifelong learning.

Our economy is transforming so rapidly, and governments have got to step up and support workers in these turbulent times.

That’s why we need a government that makes it as easy as possible for us to build the skills we’ll need in the future. It’s why we need a government that’s for the many not the few.”

Britain has a severe skills shortage, particularly in higher technical skills. According to the CBI, two thirds of businesses worry they won’t be able to fill skilled posts. The Conservatives have slashed funding for further education and skills training by 47 per cent and overseen a 25 per cent decline in adults enrolling in education.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, said:

“Labour will throw open the door for adults to study, whether they want to change career, are made redundant or didn’t get the qualifications they needed when they were younger.

For many, adult education is too expensive, too time-consuming or too difficult to get into.

People have been held back for too long. We will make free education a right to ensure we have the skills we need to allow our economy to rise to the opportunities of the future.

In a speech this week, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Rayner pledged to put vocational education on a par with university degrees and deliver a radical expansion of lifelong learning to make sure “no one is shut out of education.”

The party says its plans are vital to meet the changing nature of industry – ensuring automation doesn’t leave people without work and we have the skills we need to tackle the climate emergency.

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City MP continues calls to Raise the Rate as Love our Colleges week begins

Stephen Morgan MP has renewed support and made fresh calls on Government to ‘Raise the Rate’ of funding for 6th form colleges. The campaign seeks to urgently address underfunding in further education by increasing the basic rate from £4,000 to at least £4,760 in line with inflation.

The MP’s actions come amid the Colleges Week which is taking place from Monday 14 October to Friday 18 October 2019 and is part of the ‘Love Our Colleges’ campaign. It is an opportunity to highlight the brilliant work that goes on, and the brilliant staff that tirelessly work within the sector.

Mr Morgan said:

“I went to Portsmouth college and therefore know they are transformational for people, communities, places and employers.

They help people make the most of their talents and ambitions and drive social mobility. They help businesses improve productivity and drive economic growth. They are rooted in our communities and drive cohesion and well-being.

It is essential that they are properly supported, currently the Government is failing in this capacity.

Colleges have had to deal with an average 30% funding cut in the decade from 2009 to 2019, teachers in colleges are being paid about 20% less than teachers in schools and we have seen a drastic drop in adult enrolments.”

After making great efficiencies over the last decade, there is a strong consensus amongst the Education Select Committee, HM Inspectors and other experts that colleges need major investment to put them in a position to be able to thrive and maximise the benefits they have on communities.

Mr Morgan said:

“I took part in this event last year and sadly, I find myself making fresh calls on Government to raise the rate and show colleges the respect they deserve.

We need to see anincrease to the 16-to-18 rate in stages to £5,000 and fund 18-year-olds in further education at the same level as younger sixth formers so that colleges can continue to educate future generations of skilled workers and ensure the UK economy is fully supported by a capable workforce.

I will continue to stand in solidarity with Association of Colleges and make sure that the voice of these vital educators always has a platform in Parliament.”

This is not the first time that Stephen Morgan MP has worked with Association of Colleges, he has taken part in a rally with college Head’s, met with local colleges and pledged his continued support for the campaign.