Harlow Labour candidate: “Harlow schools are succeeding despite the Tories not because of them”

General Election 2024 / Tue 19th Mar 2024 at 01:45pm

HARLOW Labour’s candidate for the next General Election has questioned MP Robert Halfon’s view of special education needs in the town.

Chris Vince said: “Harlow’s parents are being presented with two very different pictures of schooling in Harlow. On the one hand the town’s current MP recently wrote a letter to Your Harlow congratulating himself and saying “this Conservative government has boosted the life chances of thousands of young people in Harlow”.

On the other hand we saw a teacher and many parents respond by describing dilapidated buildings, staff shortages, a lack of essential equipment and an education service that is struggling onwards thanks only to the hard work of school staff and the pupils themselves. Academic success in schools is coming despite this government, not because of it

Last week the BBC reported that Essex, under the Conservatives, is the worst place in England for completing children’s special educational needs assessments. Shockingly only 1% of Essex children with SEND receive their assessment for an educational health care plan within the legal time limit of 20 weeks. Without an assessment, proper support cannot be put in place.

Parents left waiting, with their children delayed in getting the additional help they are entitled to, described the system as being “completely and utterly broken” with “thousands of children being failed”.

When confronted with these statistics the Conservative Cabinet member responsible for education, Tony Ball said that parents “want the best for their children”, but then went on to insult and upset parents by blaming the education department failures on “parents being badly advised by ambulance chasing lawyers”.

There seems to be a pattern developing here. Mr Halfon ignores the testimony of teachers and parents who say things are at crisis point in schools. Mr Ball deflects the blame for failing 99% of SEND children onto lawyers and parents.

In 1997 the Labour government promised to focus on education, education, education. I was a teacher at the time and I can remember the sigh of relief that was palpable in schools when, after years of underinvestment by the previous Conservative government, money was made available to fix school roofs, to buy essential equipment and to provide the SEND support that some children needed to enable them to succeed in life.

“If Labour have the privilege of forming the next government, the Chancellor will be Rachel Reeves, she is somebody who said the cry of “education, education, education” was what inspired her to become involved in politics. Education is my inspiration too, Harlow’s children deserve the best and I will work tirelessly to ensure that they get it”.

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22 Comments for Harlow Labour candidate: “Harlow schools are succeeding despite the Tories not because of them”:

2024-03-19 13:52:34

Well said Chris. At least Labour is grounded in reality, unlike whatever planet Rob Halfon (Half on maybe?) is on.

2024-03-19 13:55:56

Both Robert and Chris support lockdown and school closures all of which are now acknowledged as a mistake. See for example https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/oct/06/children-in-uk-will-be-living-in-long-shadow-of-covid-for-next-two-decades-inquiry-told

2024-03-19 14:23:19

Never forget it was a labour government that introduced university tuition fees, Labour also have plans to apply VAT to private school fees, that could force around 40,000 extra children back into state schools that are already stretched by class sizes and budgets, Be very careful what you wish for

2024-03-19 15:41:53

It is literally not true to claim that the VAT on private schools will force 40,000 students into state schools. The IFS has refuted this claim. Private schools should not be tax-free. Why should rich kids get special treatment whilst state-school kids have buildings crumbling around them?

2024-03-19 16:12:40

Putting VAT on private school fees is, in my view a big mistake. Private school parents are probably already paying tax at higher levels, these taxes contribute to our services including the cost of education which they don't benefit from. So why tax them again and risk more kids going into the state schools (Alex, if not 40,000 how many do the IFS think will be affected?). Of course, many of the public schools have been been developed on the backs of poor people (slaves included perhaps) both here and abroad so there may be a case for bringing them into the national education system to the benefit of all

2024-03-19 16:36:19

Voteforme - it is a tax on hard work and achievement. I send my son to private school and it is hard to fund it, we do make sacrifices. Labour know one thing only and that is levelling down. All this will do is make the private schools truly for the very well off and keep away those who can just afford it, but maybe that is the plan after all most of labour are privately / grammar school educated and multi millionaires, they just pretend to be the party of the worker and poor that has long since past. These days they are party of the champagne socialists and public sector

2024-03-19 17:54:22

A lot of kids in private schools are not from Rich families, lots of families make sacrifices on things like holidays and take 2nd jobs to provide better opportunities for their children (trust me I know) The left with their politics of envy is not a pretty sight and sums up labour completely.

2024-03-19 18:05:02

I went to state school , as did a lot of my friends , and we have all done well , some with their own business and employing staff . Don't Diss state schools

2024-03-19 18:19:56

Adam, I looked up some of labour's shadow cabinet. Grammar schools did not feature strongly. Even if they had I don't see that it is too relevant. You want ability. Personally I have more of a problem with how Eton contributes so many tory prime ministers.

Tony Wiseman
2024-03-19 18:42:01

Voteforme. The only way to stop having more Eton educated Tory PMs is for more people to vote for Labour! Need I say more?

2024-03-19 19:27:23

Tony, looking at recent tory leaders only Johnson was an Etonian so perhaps the tied has turned.

2024-03-19 19:30:31

Eddie I went to a state school and everything I have achieved, businesses, advanced degrees in engineering, satellites in orbit and other cool stuff was despite the education I received and down to my parents paying private tutors. My kids will never set foot in a state school.

2024-03-19 19:55:09

Annie, you have fallen into the trap of believing the establishment piffal, the establishment that for years treated black people (and Irish) as not human, that made people worship a probably non existent God, that created a class system that even in our Great Victorian Age sent children to work. The establishment would have you believe that sex is binary, nature has created far more possibilities. Read "Fake History" by Otto English.

2024-03-19 22:17:44

The 40,000 figure is…from the IFS report.

David Forman
2024-03-20 03:43:45

It is shame that Chris Vince mentions something both interesting and disturbing, yet no one takes any notice. I am, of course, refering to the sentence: "Shockingly only 1% of Essex children with SEND receive their assessment for an educational health care plan within the legal time limit of 20 weeks. Without an assessment, proper support cannot be put in place."

Iain Lindsay
2024-03-20 07:14:31

Looking at the appalling use of grammar and the destruction of the English Language on display here, perhaps some of the contributors should consider going back to school of some kind.

2024-03-20 08:46:34

State schools need funding. The entire argument about private or state schools is a smoke screen to distract: state schools need more teachers, far better facilities, small classes and to be well supported so much so no that one would want to pay for a private school. BTW academies snd MATs are classified as private schools, that is not run by the local education authority. Of course one of the main reasons people send their children to particular private schools and universities is not so much about what they will learn and more about who they will meet: the British Class system in action. Closing all private schools would create a massive demand from parents of the displaced children to rapidly improve state school provision. Otherwise as for health, a private sector for the rich ruling class creates a two tier system and it's very clear that's why the nhs has been trashed. Maggie Thatcher's policy privatisation by stealth surprisingly supported by Blair..

David Forman
2024-03-20 10:25:29

Nostradamus, Labour's leader Sir Kid Starver is ideologically the 'lovechild' of Tony Blair as is Wes Streeting, the Shadow Health Secretary. Therefore, we should expect more privatisation of public services, which Streeting has already promised for the NHS. Likewise, Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves only this week promised "supply-side reforms" in a way like Margaret Thatcher. See Independent article: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/rachel-reeves-margaret-thatcher-speech-economy-b2514949.html

David Vincent
2024-03-20 10:33:52

A more damning review of Rachel Reeves Mais Lecture speech this week can be seen at Tax Research: https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2024/03/19/the-depravity-of-rachel-reeves-mais-lecture/

2024-03-20 11:59:42

David then you are really looking at a dead end: rampant raving Tories trashing education, nhs, squandering money by throwing it at edf nuclear and foreign speculators privatisating everything for short term profits to the rich and a Labour party according to you, following Thatcher and Blair. Guess you'll follow the Conservative sheep then and believe the propaganda spewing out of newspapers that don't really give a care as long as they sell more rubbish. Vote Tory and get rampant austerity to prop up the ruling class and big business eg oil. Think I'll follow the nhs workers to NZ or you could vote for a better electoral system. Let's face it and remember who has been in power for the last 13 years, 13 years of decline.

2024-03-20 14:40:29

Adam. Well done for your achievements , you were fortunate even to have parents who could pay for your private tuition. There's nothing quite as good as blowing your own trumpet. Alan Sugar went to a state school , did you do better than him. Anyway it does not matter if you when to state school or private school , you only get out what you put in.

2024-03-20 19:24:06

Iain the English language doesn't really exist as such, it is what we speak but it is a conglomerate of European and beyond language. It is also a language that is constantly evolving. As for grammar, is it really that important, it is only what our establishment dictates. Communication is the important thing. Me, I was crap at English but fortunately could do sums.

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