Changes at Suffolk County Council The recent election has brought significant changes to the dynamics of the County Council. The current political makeup is: Conservative 39; Green 2; Independent 3; Labour 15; Liberal Democrat 7; UKIP 9. This means the Conservative group have an overall majority of three on the county council as opposed to their past overwhelming majority.
Additionally there have been changes to the Cabinet – the most significant being the appointment of Graham Newman as member responsible for Transport and Lisa Chambers as responsible for Education.
I have kept my place on the Education Transport Appeals committee, and am substitute on the Rights of Way Committee. I continue as LibDem spokesman for Transport and Highways.
Hackney to help improve Suffolk’s Education Standards Suffolk will be working with the London borough of Hackney to improve educational attainment in the county following a 10-month independent inquiry into school performance in Suffolk. Although in Woodbridge, the schools are doing well (last month Farlingaye was rated outstanding in all areas by Ofsted), Suffolk is rated 148th out of 151 councils at primary level, 141st out of 151 at secondary level. THis is a rapid drop. EIght years ago, Suffolk schools were rated as being in the top thirties.
Hackney has turned its schools around. Between 2005 and 2012, the percentage of children achieving Key Stage 2 (level 4 or above) in English rose from 69% to 86% – matching the national average for the first time in seven years. In the same period, the percentage of children achieving the equivalent level in maths rose from 64% to 86%, beating the national average by 1%. The rise in GCSE performance was equally significant with the percentage of children gaining A*-C grades (including English and maths) increasing from 34.2% (10.5% below the national average) to 60.2% (0.8% above).
The new Hackney-Suffolk partnership will include a cultural, professional and educational exchange programme which is intended to enrich pupils’ learning, broaden teachers’ professional expertise and strengthen leadership at all levels. A new exchange programme for teachers tipped to one day become heads will also be set up.
More bus losses More bad news for the bus users of Suffolk – especially those who cannot, cannot afford to, or are prevented by health and/or age considerations from driving a car. Confirmation that the very popular Anglian bus 164 and 165 routes are to finish on June 28 arrived almost simultaneously with the news that First were practically withdrawing the Framlingham-Ipswich Service 63 at the end of May. Suffolk County Council are now providing a replacement Framlingham-Wickham Market-Woodbridge Service –62 – which commenced in the last week of May. This provides 4 buses a day in each direction, Monday to Friday only. No weekends, no bank holidays. People wanting to visit Fram for purposes of tourism will have to go by car.
Users of the 164 and 165 have mounted a petition against the cut of this popular and useful service which provides the only bus service direct to Ipswich rail station.
First are now reacting to the withdrawal of Anglian Bus by making some further intended changes (effective 1st July 2013). First will be providing some buses diverting through Linden Road in Aldeburgh (Service 65). Some buses will also divert through Fentons Way in Kesgrave (Service 64). Additionally there will now be a later bus (1747 from Aldeburgh-Leiston-Saxmundham-Ipswich). SCC supports a late bus from Ipswich (1905) to Woodbridge and Melton which they are now are now going to extend to Rendlesham . This bus returns to Ipswich providing a later evening journey (New Number 65B).
However these additions are no match for the service that was lost. I have received a lot of emails nd calls from people along the route, all of whom are devastated at these changes.
Surgery dates for 2013 As you know, I hold a regular monthly surgery on the THIRD SATURDAY of every month. This is held at Woodbridge Library, 10am – 12 noon. Dates for the rest of 2013 are:
- 15 June 2013
- 20 July 2013
Please note: there will be no surgery in August 2013
- 21 September 2013
- 19 October 2013
- 16 November 2013
- 21 December 2013
Locality and Quality of Life Budgets Very good news for Woodbridge: in this electoral cycle there is a new system for allocating locality money. Instead of receiving a sum dependent on the number of the electorate -as happened in the past – there is now a flat- rate sum for all councillors. This means that more Woodbridge every year.
The last expenditure from last year’s Locality budget are now going through. SCDC have ordered a replacement bench for the junction of Grundisburgh and Hasketon Roads, and I believe the funding for the materials for the wall/shed in Elmhurst Park has now been released.
Please do come to me if you have something that I could help fund.
Suffolk Walking challenge for Just 42 At the end of May I walked from Felixstowe to Lowestoft with Just 42′s fundraiser Julia Hancock and her dog, to raise funds to support the young people of Woodbridge and the surrounding rural areas. Thanks to a lot of very generous sponsors we’ve raised nearly £2500. You can hardly believe the sheer amount of good that Just 42 will be able to do with such a sum!
- On day 1 Julia Hancock, Celine the Dog and I raised enough to support 20 kids with complex needs for 3 weeks worth of Just42′s Mimic club;
- On day 2 we raised enough extra to also support 30 kids at one of Just 42′s rural youth clubs for 6 weeks! ;
- Day 3 we raised enough funding to also keep one of Just 42′s mobile youth clubs running for FIVE weeks;
- On Day 4 – enough money to ALSO run a holiday club for 100 youngsters for a week!
- Day 5 has raised enough to train 5 mentors who will support 15 young people in crisis every year!
Huge thanks to the many who sponsored us. And if you didn’t – there is still time to do so via Just Giving https://www.justgiving.com/Caroline-Page1/
Cycling festival and bicycle amnesty The second Woodbridge cycling festival is on 15 June at Kingston Field. There will be a bicycle amnesty there, as there was last year – so if you have old bicycles or parts that have clogged your garage for years, please bring them along. They are sent by container to Africa where they have the potential tochange the lives of all sorts of people: traders, healthworkers, students.