Newsletter #16

The cold winter days have been considerably brightened this month by visits to some of my fantastic primary schools. I’d like to thank Barton C of E Primary School in particular, for inviting me to sample some mud delicacies made in their own playground mud kitchens! Barton are looking for a local sponsor to help them achieve their goal of 20 laptops for the children to use. If you know of anyone, perhaps a local business, or would yourself be interested in helping this fabulous little school get connected, please contact the Head teacher, Clare Coulson on 01223 262474.

I was pleased to go back to Guilden Morden Primary School with the East of England Regional Schools Commissioner, Dr Tim Coulson to see progress since they academised on 1st November. The school looks and feels absolutely fantastic and I would like to offer my thanks to the parents, governors and staff who have worked so hard. I was also fortunate to view their brand new Pre-School’s facility, which offers care to under 5’s in a modern, well-equipped setting. They still have a few spaces available, though I expect them to fill fast. Contact office@guildenmorden.cambs.sch.uk for further information.   

Our schools are our future and we need to invest in them. I continue to raise the issue of fairer funding in the House of Commons and directly with the Education Secretary, Justine Greening. Cambridgeshire has been historically under-funded and is now experiencing unprecedented growth, which makes for something of a perfect storm in the funding environment. The Government are now consulting on new national funding formula proposals and your contribution is really important.  

I have concerns, shared by all our schools, that the proposed formula is still not quite right, so please do join me in feeding this in. For information on the changes we need, please contact my office and to submit to the consultation before the closing date of 22nd March 2017, please go to https://consult.education.gov.uk/funding-policy-unit/schools-national-funding-formula2/.  

I’m committed to supporting initiatives that improve mental health within our communities, particularly in our youngsters. Over the past year, I’ve been following the progress of an innovative partnership developed with the Melbourn schools cluster and an organisation called Allyance. This scheme works on early intervention strategies to support young people with mental health issues in their own school environment. The project has been so successful that Cambridgeshire County Council have approved an extension to their funding for the next year. Furthermore, I hope Allyance will be asked to roll out their initiative all across the county. 

I was delighted to celebrate Addenbrooke’s great achievement of gaining an overall rating of ‘Good’ in their recent CQC report. This is a phenomenal turnaround for the hospital and is testament to the dedication and commitment of their outstanding staff. I visited with the Minister, the Rt Hon Phillip Dunne and witnessed just how far the team have come in under two years. We never stopped being proud of you for one moment, and were never in doubt that the quality of care and service was anything other than world class. I’m glad the CQC can now see this too!

Turning to roads, Highways England will shortly be publishing their plans for the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet upgrade. The Consultation opens in March. Work on this stretch of road is vital in supporting our growth and making our roads safer and more efficient. When it’s launched, I’ll include a link to it on my infrastructure page which can be found here - https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/a428-black-cat-caxton-gibbet.  Please contribute if this issue affects you.  

Thanks to those of you who took the time to contribute to my public transport feedback request. I received almost 100 responses. I’ll now be taking your opinions and evidence to key stakeholders, including the bus and train operators. There is no quick fix to our rural transportation issues but I intend to push for innovation and joined up thinking that can benefit South Cambridgeshire as part of the City Deal and Devolution package. Please keep an eye on my website for details. 

As always, if you have anything you’d like to share with me, you can find details of my upcoming surgeries here - www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/residents-drop-surgeries. I’ll be in Swavesey in March and Cambourne in April. Or call 01954 212707 or email me at heidi.allen.mp@parliament.uk.