In recent weeks and months I’ve been working to visit as many local primary schools as I can, to see some of the fantastic work they are doing, as well as to hear about the many challenges that they face.
Every primary school has a different challenge, some with academic things like SATs results, others with poor quality buildings or lack of space, or even some which have had beautiful new buildings but don’t have all the equipment they need inside.
I’m trying to help in some of these cases where I can, but the most regular challenge I see across our local schools is having the capacity to properly support those children who have additional needs.
As an area, statistically we have a lot of health issues, a lot of deprivation, and a lot of social challenges.
That can also mean we have more children who need more help to be able to properly engage with school, and to access the basic learning they need for their later life.
Helping these kids early in their lives is so vitally important, to make sure that they can lead happy and healthy lives, and of course to make sure that they come out at the end of school with some qualifications too.
I’m pushing the Government to find more help for this early intervention, and to offer primary schools more support.
There are some brilliant examples, like the ‘nurture’ provision at Forest Town Primary, which means so much to so many children and parents for the support it has given to those families.
It’s even won awards, and it’s vital in giving those kids the best possible chance in life.
The Government’s mantra is about ‘equality of opportunity’, and I think this needs to play an important part.
Ensuring that our children can all get to the point where they are able to learn and be happy at school is so important to their chances in later life, and is the only way to ensure that they are able to compete on a level playing field – to have equal opportunities – in the future.
This is one of my key priorities to support our schools in Mansfield.