18 April 2019 – the overnight press releases

Tories’ high-stakes testing culture pushing children out of school

Responding to the EPI report revealing that over 50,000 pupils who took their GCSEs in 2017 were removed from the school roll for unexplained reasons during their time at secondary school, Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

This is yet more worrying evidence that the Conservatives’ high-stakes testing culture is letting down our most vulnerable children.

The desperate drive to secure a better Ofsted grade or climb up the league tables has given schools a perverse incentive to push children they regard as difficult on to other schools, alternative providers, or let them fall out of the education system entirely.

No child deserves to have their future prospects torn apart because they’d make a bad statistic. Liberal Democrats demand better.

Liberal Democrats would abolish Government-sanctioned league tables, replacing them with a broader range of data such as survey feedback and comments from other school leaders, so parents get a well-rounded view of a school.

Lib Dems: School staff cuts a ‘tragedy’

Responding to a report by the Sutton Trust showing that two-thirds of secondary school head teachers have had to cut teaching staff to save money, Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

The schools funding emergency is having a disastrous impact on teacher numbers and on the life chances of our poorest pupils.

Liberal Democrats are proud of the pupil premium because it gave schools millions of pounds to support students who would otherwise be left behind. It is a tragedy that the Conservatives have put schools in the situation of relying on the pupil premium just to make ends meet.

Schools are struggling to provide a full curriculum or keep schools open on a Friday afternoon as they cannot pay the staff.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Liberal Democrats would bring an end to the schools funding emergency, investing over £2 billion a year extra in schools to reverse the cuts since 2015.

Revealed: DEFRA on “Brexit red alert” as thousands hired as deadline looms

The Liberal Democrats have today warned that DEFRA is on “Brexit red alert” as the party reveals the government have hired nearly 3,000 new staff to prepare for a potential fallout.

Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said;

This is a Conservative Government panic buying because, like farmers up and down the country, they know Brexit will only bring chaos.

A Liberal Democrat Freedom of Information request has revealed that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have employed 2,700 new staff to prepare for Brexit.

Of those hired, 320 come from other government departments and 400 from the arm’s length bodies, such as Natural England.

According to the National Audit Office, DEFRA is one of the government departments “most affected by EU Exit.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said:

Whilst the Welsh government will rightly have responsibility for most policy areas affecting rural Wales, DEFRA will gain several important powers from the EU should Brexit take place.

This rapid recruitment of staff suggests DEFRA are woefully unprepared for Brexit, yet we were supposed to have already left the EU by this point. What is DEFRA playing at and why should Welsh farmers trust DEFRA to look after them if Brexit happens?

Liberal Democrat Rural Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:

Hiring almost 3,000 new staff, particularly when it means taking staff away from the important work they do elsewhere, shows how unprepared Tory Ministers are. It doesn’t need to be this way.

At a time when Michael Gove should be cleaning up our air, cutting plastic pollution and tackling our biodiversity crisis he is instead scrabbling to recreate the wheel for things the EU currently help with.

Liberal Democrats demand better. We should stop the madness of Brexit and instead concentrate on the things that matter. That’s why Liberal Democrats are calling for people to be given the final say on the Brexit deal, with the option to stay in the EU.

Existence of child detention and pain-inducing restraints is shocking

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey has urged the Conservative Government to comply with international law and end the use of pain-inducing restraint techniques and solitary confinement of children in detention. He joins calls from the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

He said:

Detaining children and young people in inappropriate conditions and using pain-inducing restraints on them can have seriously damaging long term effects. The evidence spells it out in black and white: a cell is never the right place for a child.

The existence in 21st century Britain of child detention and pain-inducing restraints is shocking in itself but that these methods have been supported by Conservative Ministers is appalling.

Liberal Democrats opposed it when in Government and we will not stand for it now. We must protect our most vulnerable children and young people, and this report is a welcome route map to out of this broken system.

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  • If it was not for Liberal Democrat Voice I would not know the party existed, sooner we have a leadership election the better, hopefully a female leader with a new younger face and spirit.
    The party needs galvanising otherwise……….

  • I suggest we try writing letters to the press and comments to the other media about what our party says. I wrote to the Independent last week; it was in response to an article by Simon Kelner who asked the question where are the Lib-Dems. I pointed out that we are not heard partly because of the media ignoring us and urged the paper to print more of what we say and do. Yesterday they printed a small article reporting what Vince said about the need for pro-EU parties to work together; so I like to think my letter though not published had an effect.

  • Peter Hirst 19th Apr '19 - 2:14pm

    We need more transparency about school exclusions – the why’s, how many and what happens to them. Schools must bear most of the responsibility, not many parents want their children to miss out on an education and mix socially.

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