Newsletter #8

As always, it has been an exceptionally busy few weeks with meetings with Ministers about Primary school testing, opening post offices and affordable housing schemes and a visit to a muddy Northstowe!

During recent visits to Swavesey and Hauxton Primary Schools, I chatted at length to staff, governors and Headteachers about Key Stage 1 and 2 testing. They expressed concern about the potential for excessive stress on the children and the appropriateness of some of the English grammar tests. Consequently, Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education kindly agreed to meet me and four ladies I now refer to as my “Super heads” to discuss their concerns. We left the meeting feeling positive and encouraged that the Secretary of State had listened to us. Indeed, I am delighted that in the same month, Nicky has reviewed proposals to force academisation on high performing schools. I am encouraged to believe that the Primary school testing regime may thus be reviewed too.

Looking ahead to our leaders of the future, I was delighted to be invited to take questions from the students of Sawston Village College’s Politics Society. It was fantastic to hear their passion and enthusiasm, and an impressive level of political engagement, far more that I displayed at their age!

Last month I also took a visit to Northstowe, to see the almost complete Primary school and general progress on site. I am pleased to report that at long last, we will see houses being built towards the end of the year. Housing as you know, is one of our greatest challenges in South Cambridgeshire, especially affordable housing. So I was pleased to be asked to officially open a scheme of part rent, part buy homes built by CHS in Whittlesford. Beautifully finished, they will be a great asset to the local community.

There were more reasons to celebrate as I opened the new post office in Cottenham and refurbished village stores and post office in Oakington. Post Offices provide a vital lifeline so I work on a regular basis with Post Office UK to ensure we keep ours going. I am currently working with councillors in Cambourne to try and identify a site there.

A final item worth mentioning as I sign off this month, is a meeting I had with Liz Truss, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. I asked to meet with her on behalf of a number of my farmers who were experiencing delays in their annual payments. I am told they should now all be completed by the deadline, but please do get in touch with Julia in my office if you are still waiting to hear.

You might recall from my last newsletter that I had been trialling a new “no appointment necessary” surgery model. I have held two further such surgeries in Cottenham and Queen Edith’s which proved very popular with dozens of residents attending to talk to me about various issues. Please see my website for details of the next dates in Whittlesford, Papworth and Bar Hill.

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can help you with anything. You can contact me by phone on 01954 212707 or via email at