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  • Disabled Children - Vince
    Article: Dec 1, 2017
    By Kirsten Johnson in Liberal Democrat Voice

    Yesterday, the Disabled Children's Partnership campaign was launched in parliament. Lib Dem Leader Vince Cable came along to show his support, as well as many other MPs, peers, charities and family representatives. I was also pleased that former Care Minister Norman Lamb MP, was also able to come meet families.

  • Layla Moran (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Nov 22, 2017

    Teachers and police officers will be left £3,000 worse off by 2020 due to the Chancellor's refusal to lift the public sector pay freeze, Liberal Democrats have revealed.

    Liberal Democrat research based on OBR figures shows that:

    • A newly qualified teacher on £22,970 will be £3,032 worse off by 2020 as a result of the public sector pay freeze.

    • A newly trained police officer on £22,962 will be £3,031 worse off by 2020 as a result of the public sector pay freeze.

    • A prison officer starting on £23,572 will be £3,112 worse off by 2020 as a result of the public sector pay freeze.

    • A private starting on £18,488 will be £2,440 worse off by 2020 as a result of the public sector pay freeze.
    Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran said:

  • Vince Cable (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Nov 10, 2017
    By Kirsten Johnson in Liberal Democrat Voice

    The papers today have been full of Vince Cable's proposal that all 16-year olds should have access to an £18,000 endowment for education.

    Here is an extract from The Sun:

    Teenagers should get £18,000 to spend on further education to re-balance inequality between the generations, Sir Vince Cable has said.

  • Rebecca Taylor - Candidate for Morley & Outwood Constituency
    Article: Nov 8, 2017
    By Rebecca Taylor in Liberal Democrat Voice

    It is widely recognised that the UK has a mid-level skills gap, which means employers can struggle to recruit for medium skilled occupations. At the same time, it can be hard for established workers (those over 25) to retrain or upskill if they aren't supported by their employer or can't self-fund.

  • Swinson conference
    Article: Nov 7, 2017

    Talking about periods apparently is still taboo. In fact we have had to wait until this month, in 2017 for the first ad ever in the UK to show a hand pouring a test-tube of blood-coloured liquid onto a sanitary towel, in lieu of the standard sterile-blue.

    The advert, which forms part of a new campaign called 'Blood Normal', attempts to get rid of the embarrassment around the 'Aunt Flo' after a recent survey found that nine out of ten women attempt to hide the fact they are on their period, and 56% of girls said they would rather be bullied at school than talk to their parents about periods.

  • Jo Swinson (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Nov 5, 2017
    By Jo Swinson in Liberal Democrat Voice

    Talking about periods apparently is still taboo. In fact we have had to wait until this month, in 2017 for the first ad ever in the UK to show a hand pouring a test-tube of blood-coloured liquid onto a sanitary towel, in lieu of the standard sterile-blue.

    The advert, which forms part of a new campaign called 'Blood Normal', attempts to get rid of the embarrassment around the 'Aunt Flo' after a recent survey found that nine out of ten women attempt to hide the fact they are on their period, and 56% of girls said they would rather be bullied at school than talk to their parents about periods.

  • Jeremy Corbyn (By YouTube/exadverso [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Nov 4, 2017
    By Thomas Moule in Liberal Democrat Voice

    Governments should empower individuals to lead fulfilling lives. This principle is a cornerstone of liberal ideology and nowhere is it more important than in education policy.

    Whilst in government, The Liberal Democrats empowered disadvantaged pupils by providing schools with extra money to give these individuals the same life chances as their more advantaged peers. We empowered skilled young people by expanding apprenticeships- a move which recognised the rich diversity of talent and ambition we have in our society. Our policies for empowering individuals through education continue to be one of our greatest strengths. But not everyone agrees that the purpose of education is to empower people.

  • Layla Moran (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Nov 4, 2017
    By Layla Moran in Liberal Democrat Newswire

    Liberal Democrat education spokesperson and new MP Layla Moran writes exclusively for Lib Dem Newswire about her approach to her brief.

    Education sets people free, and knowledge is power. These well-known phrases have formed the basis for my passion for education all my life. They are the reasons I became a teacher fifteen years ago and again the reason I joined the Liberal Democrat's ten years ago. Now, as an MP and our party's education spokesperson, my passion is further ignited.

    The closer I get to government, the more convinced I am that our education system is in vital need of some vision and leadership. We have had nearly three decades of a market-inspired educational landscape. The emphasis on competition between schools has slowly and, in my view, fatally eaten away at the focus on the individual student experience. This is the moment for the Lib Dems to grasp the nettle. To look at the whole system from the bottom up and ask difficult questions about what on earth we are doing to the next generation, and if it is actually the right thing.

    The first step we need to take is to make the case to the electorate for why things need to change. One example of an area that has not been addressed by the government is how we prepare for a world that is increasingly being influenced by Artificial Intelligence. The science-geek part of me is actually excited by this prospect but we need to accept that the nature of work is going to change. If robots are taking our jobs, what should the humans do? I argue that our most valuable skills are our ability to engage in complex, emotionally subtle interactions. Creativity and being able to evaluate and question facts should trump rote learning and recall. Our current system, however, is moving is exactly the opposite direction. School funding shortages, workload pressures and the focus on data-driven targets mean these skills, often much harder to measure, are being systematically ignored.

    We must also question many of the basic structures in the system. League tables, selection, assessments and Ofsted. Nothing should be off the table. Our guiding question must be, 'how does this help the student?' If it doesn't we then we must then ask, 'so what will?'

    Ideas that are already emerging from our work include a renewed emphasis on teacher's professional development and school leadership, a broader curriculum and more pastoral care, and encouragement for schools to cooperate in the interests of the children and not compete for them to up their funding.

    We remain in early stages, but it's worth remembering we build on strong foundations. Our party has always been sound in this area, and if we do this right, I believe we can have an impact that will last for generations to come.

    I am working with a core group of Parliamentarians who have expertise from across the education sector, and with a Policy Working Group of dedicated party members. But we must also invite the wider party to engage with us. What are your big ideas? What are your fears? If you're a parent what do you really care about? If you're currently a student, what do you wish you'd had? We want to know and we are all ears

  • Layla Moran (Chris McAndrew [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)
    Article: Oct 19, 2017

    Over half of local authorities in England will see school spending per pupil fall this year in real terms, analysis of government figures by the Liberal Democrats has found.

    • 83 of 150 local authorities in England will see per pupil funding fall in in real terms during 2017-18, i.e. once inflation is taken into account.

    • England as a whole will see spending per pupil fall by £29 (0.65%) in real terms.

    • Local authorities with some of the worst school results in England, including Blackpool, the Isle of Wight and Poole, will be hardest hit by the funding cuts

    • The South East will see the largest real-terms fall, with funding per pupil falling by £131 (3%.)

  • Swinson conference
    Article: Oct 19, 2017

    Responding to the Social Mobility Commission's report which has found millions of workers remains trapped in low-paid jobs, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Jo Swinson:

    "This report shows that a whole section of society are being failed by this government and remain permanently trapped in low-paid work.