Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why I am against ID cards

I am against the plan for ID cards which could cost the government as much as £20 billion. However, not only will the whole system be hugely expensive but it will also require

everyone in Britain to go to a regional centre to be fingerprinted and interviewed to prove who they are.
everyone in Britain to pay at least £93 for a combined ID card and passport package.
You will have to pay at least a further £30 if the card is lost or stolen, or if you get married and change your name.

No longer will people be free to be citizens of this country.

They will do nothing to improve our safety. They are not the answer to the threat of terrorism, to benefit fraud, illegal immigration, human trafficking or to identity theft. They are a waste of money, and so I am pleased a Conservative Government will abolish them.

Update on Science Review

Last year I reported that I was working on a review into how science is taught in schools in Barnet. The committee which I am on has decided to concentrate by looking at the affect of the new GCSE science curriculum which has been introduced for year 10 students this year, while comparing it to the old curriculum.

We are about to embark on looking at a few case studies schools where we will be answering the following questions.

Questions to Staff

1. What science qualifications do you have? What initial training did you undertake?
2. How well prepared are you for the new GCSE courses?
3. How well do you understand the new pedagogy for teaching science?
4. What are your views on the new GCSE compared to the previous curriculum?
5. What are resource implications of the new GCSE?
6. Apart from the new GCSE what range of science courses are available to students in your school?
7. Do you think the new programme is likely to increase science take up post 16?

Questions to year 10 students:

1. What difference do you find between science classes in Y9 and Y10?
- more internet access
- more use of computer programmes
- different resources

2. Is it helping you understand issues around you?
- global warming
- environment

3. Does this course help you to be enthusiastic about studying in science post 16 – even at college/university?

Questions to Post 16 science courses students

1. Why did you choose science (specific subject?)
2. What aspirations do you have for science after school (college/work?)
3. How relevant do you find science to the world around/you?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Scotland copies Barnet

Last night I attended a very interesting training session on the Looked After Children (children in care) services in Barnet.

We were told about the council's innovative Education Champions scheme, which the Scottish Executive have advised their local authorities to copy.

All of the senior staff in the Council are given a looked after child in order to monitor their educational achievements and ensure they are helped to achieve the best results that they are possible of achieving. The senior staff act as educational champions by encouraging all the staff that work with the child to work harder to encourage the child to succeed and ensure they get all the support they require.

This is helping the children most in need, while also benefiting the experience of council staff and at no extra cost to the taxpayer. It also ensures that looked after children in Barnet have been achieving better educational standards than children elsewhere in the country.

I think this is a really positive scheme and something that should be encouraged across the country.

NHS Failings

As I wrote about back in December, one of the reasons why it is not possible to cut council tax in Barnet is because the NHS is failing and is requiring local councils to carry out more work.

London Councils the representative body of local authorities in London is now highlighting this issue and is calling for an urget meeting to discuss this with the Secretary of State for Health.

Across London, local authorities are having to find an extra £15 million to cover the costs of NHS failings due to the NHS deficit of £120 million in 2006/7.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Congratulations Joanna

Congratulations to the newest councillor in Barnet.

On Thursday a by-election was held in East Barnet, following the sad death of Olwyn Evans.

I am pleased that the Conservative candidate had a resounding win, to that the new councillor for East Barnet is Joanna Tambourides. With a turnout of 31%, the result was

Conservatives - 1666 - 49.1%
Labour - 1025 - 30.24
Lib Dems - 552 - 16.28
Grens - 147

This huge support for the Conservative candidate shows that in Barnet as is the case around the country, the Conservative party is the choice for increasing numbers of voters, as we offer a positive and modern approach to the issues of the 21st century.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why doesnt' Transport for London care about Edgware?

Transport for London has rejected my proposal supported by the Conservative Administration of Barnet Council for Edgware Station to be reclassified from Zone 5 to Zone 4.

I proposed the rezoning idea so that the commuters to and from Edgware on the Northern Line would be reimbursed for the often horific service that commuters experience when travelling to and from Edgware .

The rezoning proposal would save a commuter £264 on their annual bill.

However, for no clear reason TfL have rejected this proosal, despite agreeing to rezone some other stations in east London.

If you want to support my campaign to get Edgware Station rezoned let me know.