Thursday, 15 December 2016

#MyScienceInquiry: Parliament's Science and Technology Committee wants your suggestions

Experimenting with flash cotton at
a Royal Society of Chemistry event
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has recently created an open opportunity for the science community, schools, colleges, and the wider public to suggest science and technology areas for scrutiny.

Our cross-party committee of MPs exists to examine government policy on science and technology issues and we want to gather suggestions for topics for our next inquiry.

This is a great opportunity to get involved with setting the science and technology agenda in Westminster.

If there's an area of science that you think isn't getting the attention it deserves or where the Government needs to do better, then this is an easy way to let politicians know about it.

I would be especially proud to see people from our local area in Essex taking part and telling MPs about an important science issue.

My committee is looking forward to learning about areas of science that we might not otherwise consider.

We have held inquiries into many fascinating topics recently and have more planned for 2017 - but we want to hear your ideas too.

I'm keen to open up this part of the process and get fresh input. We're encouraging scientists and the wider public to get involved by sending us 200 words or a 1-minute video. I'm particularly keen to hear ideas from schools and colleges.

Find out more about the #MyScienceInquiry and how to participate here. The deadline for proposals is Wednesday 4 January.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Please donate to St Luke's Hospice

Donate to St Luke's Hospice here
In March I will be dancing a tango and a jive in front of a live, paying audience in aid of our local St Luke's Hospice in Basildon.

As the local Member of Parliament, and with no ballroom dance experience whatsoever, I will quite literally be following in the footsteps of the erstwhile Shadow Chancellor, Ed Balls!

I do not profess to be a dance of any kind but am taking part in order to raise funds for an excellent cause.

All seriously ill patients and families should have access to the highest quality palliative support and end-of-life care which is provided so ably by the brilliant staff and volunteers at St Luke's.

Dance practice has already started with my teacher Joanna Ridley and we are on track for the event in March.

Please do consider giving what little you can through my JustGiving page and we will try to make a positive difference to such an important part of our community.

My target is to raise £1,000 but if I can exceed that amount it would mean even more support for a worthy charity.

Thank you!

You can also donate to St Luke's Hospice here.

Awards night at Woodlands School

Photo from Woodlands School
I was honoured to be invited to speak at Woodlands School and give out awards to some of its highest achieving Key Stage 4 pupils.

I visited just a few months ago, back in September, to see how the school was progressing following a record-breaking year of GCSE results and at the awards night I was pleased to see signs of that progression continuing.

It was very encouraging to meet both teachers and pupils and I look forward to hearing more from the school in future.

Monday, 5 December 2016

New figures show boost in good and outstanding schools in Essex

I welcome the recent news that more local children are being taught in good or outstanding schools.

New figures from Ofsted show that 60 more schools in Essex have been judged good or outstanding in their most recent inspection compared to 2015.

In the whole of the East of England, 210 more schools have been rated as good or outstanding.

Across the country the proportion of all schools judged to be good or outstanding at their most recent inspection was 89 per cent - the highest proportion ever recorded - with both the proportion of primary and secondary schools judged at these ratings continuing to rise in every region of the country. As a result almost 1.8 million more children are now in good schools compared to 2010.

Theresa May's Government wants to build a country that works for everyone - and that means providing a good school place for every child, one that caters to their individual talents, abilities, and needs.

That's why it is great news that the latest figures show that 471 schools in Essex are now rated good or outstanding.

Conservatives are making sure every child can access high quality education, so they have the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them, regardless of their background.

Locally, boosting education is one of the single most important things we can do to give young people the start in life they deserve.