Author Archives: Barry Holliday

Hate crimes up 42%, but Tories give discrimination helpline contract to controversial G4S

With hate crimes up by 42% since the EU referendum result, the Conservative government is privatising the EASS (Equality Advisory and Support Service) which is a lifeline for people facing human rights issues or discrimination.

After a tendering process, they are awarding the contract to G4S. The same company which has demonstrated shocking track record of human rights breaches, and for failing government contracts wasting millions in taxpayers’ money. Prime Minister May wishes to put them in charge of the national helpline responsible for providing support to people facing discrimination, something which is deeply concerning considering their history.

This would be like putting BP in charge of enforcing environmental protections. On top of that, there are claims that the government may have failed to follow all the necessary steps before awarding the contract to G4S. Online campaign group SumOfUs is currently trying to fundraise to bring a legal case to reverse the decision to award G4S the contract.

With G4S’s very public failings, surely the company has no business anywhere near a contract like this. 

Posted in News | Tagged , and | 7 Comments

Opinion: Electoral reform – How to

House of Commons at NightWe all know that electoral reform to both houses is important to us a party, quite rightly so. The current system is appalling, First Past The Post for the Commons does not bring fair votes for the electorate and at best only around 40% of voters voted for any government of the day (meaning of course 60% didn’t). The House of Lords is even worse, un-democratic and reeking of an old boys’ network.

However, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t have a two house system – of course we should. The scrutiny of a second chamber of government is vital to well thought out and properly debated laws and policy. But how do we get to the utopia of two proportionally elected chambers?

The answer is, I think, remarkably simple: piecemeal.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 19 Comments

Opinion: An end to OFSTED

old schoolThe dissolution of OFSTED is a policy we as Liberal Democrats need to support and implement to ensure our young students are being offered the best education possible.

I am not saying that schools shouldn’t be inspected and checked.The public needs to have confidence in the school system. Parents have the right to be informed about teachers abilities and performance. Most of all we must be able to ensure that teaching meets the needs of our children.

OFSTED for too long has been nothing but a political football. School inspections should be …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged and | 39 Comments

Opinion: New school curriculum

schoolsignI have recently written a couple of articles on Liberal Democrat Voice around changes to schools (here and here).  Please read them, as they go with this one. To follow on from them I believe we also need Lib Dems to get behind changes to the curriculum in secondary schools.

The National Curriculum in England gives standards for each subject, but not which subjects (beyond the core subjects of Maths, English and Science) must be taught. If a mainstream school offers History they must follow the History national curriculum standards, but if they don’t have a History teacher then they don’t have to offer it, that needs to change. We need a balanced curriculum for all students, irrespective of which school or local authority are students attend.

The changes we should bring are that all secondary schools (including academies or free schools) to offer the following GCSE options (options being subjects that are not core subjects):

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged , and | 16 Comments

Opinion: How the “extras” of school life can raise attainment

school mealsI recently wrote this article about staffing in our schools. To follow on from that I’m moving on to some elements of school ‘life’. These ‘extras’ to the daily job of educating our children are all too often seen as not important, but in my experience they have a HUGE impact on the achievements and wellbeing of our children. (For info – I personally work in a secondary Academy, years 7-11).

Liberal Democrats need to strive to improve the life chances of our most vulnerable children, this can be done by:

Free

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 10 Comments

Opinion: We need unqualified teachers and assistants to become qualified

Teacher In ClassroomWe’ve just launched our parent guarantee about ensuring that all state funded schools should only use qualified teaching staff. A great idea, of course we want all teachers to hold a subject related degree and their post-grad certificate in education (PGCE) and their QTS (Qualified Teacher Status). But what about those unqualified teachers already in a teaching role? What about the other staff which support and help educate our children?

I personally work in a secondary Academy (years 7-11) which has some non-QTS staff. Most are excellent educators of children …

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 15 Comments
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