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Pat McFadden MP Labour News

Summer Newspaper 2014Pat McFadden MP summer newspaper 2014


Visit to new housing development, Ettingshall

Housing 2

Pat went to visit the new housing development off Thompson Avenue in his constituency. These will be the first new council houses to be built in Wolverhampton for almost 30 years.

Housing firm Kier Group will be building 120 houses on the 7 acre site off Thompson Avenue in Ettingshall, which should be completed by 2018.

Mr McFadden said:

“Since I was elected nine years ago the issue of housing has been raised with me constantly by local people. There is a desperate need for more affordable good quality housing in Wolverhampton. This new development is the first new council housing to be built in Wolverhampton for many years and will be one small step towards addressing the acute shortage of housing that we face. But nationally we need to be building far more houses than we do.”

(11th July 2014)

Walking for Health

Walking for Health

Pat with ladies who participate in the Walking for Health programme each morning in Phoenix Park, Blakenhall.

(11th July 2014)

Bilston in Bloom

Bilston in Bloom 2

Pat went to visit St Martin's Church in Bradley, as part of this year's Bilston in Bloom competition.

(11th July 2014)

Speaking in the Commons Debate on Technical and Vocational Education, 9th July

Mr Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East) (Lab): The debate is timely: timely because it is about opportunity and life chances, and timely because the discussion about opportunity and life chances in this country has become tied up with the discussion about immigration and our place in the world. It has been argued that opportunity will somehow be enhanced and pressure on public services will be eased by our keeping out workers who were born overseas, whatever steps that would require in terms of Britain’s place in the world.

The debate takes place against the backdrop of the publication of two important reports that shed light on that argument. The first—published a couple of weeks ago by the Education Committee, chaired by the hon. Member for Beverley and Holderness (Mr Stuart)—is entitled “Underachievement in Education by White Working Class Children”. The second, published yesterday, is the Migration Advisory Committee’s report on the labour market impact of EU migration. I want to say a word about both reports.

According to the Education Committee’s report, the proportion of white children receiving free school meals who attain the benchmark standard of five good GCSEs including English and maths is only half the proportion of white children as a whole. Among other ethnic groups, the gap is much smaller. Among children from an Indian background it is just 15%, and among children from a Chinese background there is almost no attainment gap at all. Indeed, Chinese children receiving free school meals are, at this stage, the highest-achieving of any group at school—except for Chinese children who are not receiving free school meals, and even then the gap is tiny. So the attainment gap between children from low-income families and better-off children does not affect all children equally. Although there is an attainment gap, the fatalistic argument that deprivation can be used as an excuse to explain away educational failure does not hold up, because deprivation has such contrasting effects among different groups.

While the Education Committee’s report may give us cause for despair, it also gives us reason for hope. There is hope because the report draws attention to things that make a difference. It found that how highly a school is rated by Ofsted makes a “dramatic” difference to the performance of pupils. Just 25% of children receiving free school meals at a school that is rated “inadequate” will get five good GCSEs, but in schools that are rated “outstanding”, the figure is 50%. The more “good” and “outstanding” schools an area has, the more opportunity it will be providing for the children who need that opportunity most. The issue is urgent for cities such as Wolverhampton, which last year was judged by Ofsted to have a lower proportion of children attending schools rated “good” or “outstanding” than any other area in England. I believe that changing that situation should be the absolute top priority for the city that I represent.

In fact, despite that harsh verdict, there is hope and there is excellence in Wolverhampton. Holy Trinity Roman Catholic primary school in Bilston, which has twice as many pupils on the pupil premium as the national average, recently received an Ofsted report which states:

“This is an outstanding school. School leaders and governors are relentlessly focussed on securing the very best for their pupils. From the moment they start in the nursery, children achieve exceptionally the time pupils leave in year 6 they are extremely well prepared for their next stage, educationally and personally...pupils eligible for the pupil premium make phenomenal progress and outperform all pupils in the school and all pupils nationally”.

Holy Trinity is a success because from the brilliant head, Carroll McNally, down, failure is not accepted. The school has the highest ambitions and wants the best for its children, and if Holy Trinity can do it, other schools can, too.

Let me turn to the Migration Advisory Committee report. Not only did that report show that migrants add £22 billion to the public purse, are less likely to be in social housing than UK-born citizens, and pay in more than they take out in benefits, but it stressed that the difficulty faced by some UK workers was lack of skills and qualifications. People are shut out of the labour market because employers do not feel they are equipped to take part in it and do the jobs that are there. That is the heart of this: not blaming others, but increasing the life chances of children born here.

The debate on these issues is a debate between the politics of grievance and the politics of hope. Constant attacks on Britain’s openness to ideas, people and talent from around the world do not add a single job to this country. They do not add a single qualification. They do not help a single young person. They provide someone to blame, but they do not provide anything else. We should be the champions of hope: give young people a chance, not an enemy; give them an opportunity, not a target for blame; and let us have passion for achievement in all parts of the education system, from the top to the very bottom.

Hansard, 9th July


Last week the House of Commons Select Committee on Education produced an important report entitled Underachievement in Education by White Working Class Children. It charts a story of opportunities lost and potential denied to a huge number of children in the UK because they do badly at school relative to other children. In a world where education and exam results...

PAT VISITS NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARBORETUM WITH LABOUR FRIENDS OF THE FORCESPat and fellow MPs including Shadow Secretary of State Vernon Coaker on a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield. Pat recently visited the National memorial Arboretum near Lichfield. The visit was organised by Dan Jarvis MP, who runs Labour Friends of the Forces. A number of MPs and parliamentary candidates were present. The visit began with a talk...

Whenever interest rates eventually rise from their current historically low levels – you’ll have heard it first from the Bank of England. Mark Carney was the right appointment as Governor of the Bank of England. He is hugely talented and it is good that the UK went for the best person for the job. But the whole forward guidance story...

BLAKENHALL COMMUNITY AND HEALTHY LIVING CENTRE OPEN DAYPat with ladies from Cruse Bereavement Care at the open day. (20th June 2014)...

VISIT TO SIKHI EXHIBITION, UNIVERSITY OF WOLVERHAMPTONPat visited the exhibition which was being held at the University of Wolverhampton. The exhibition was a celebration of Punjabi culture, with exhibits including The Khalsa, Introduction to Sikhi and Sikhs in the World Wars. Pat said: “Thousands of Sikhs live in Wolverhampton and I am glad the University is staging this exhibition. It’s a good opportunity for people from...

Shankly. Busby. Stein. The holy trinity of managerial greats. Football men. West of Scotland men. Labour men too. David Peace’s The Damned United recreated Brian Clough’s disastrous 44 days in charge of Leeds United. In Red or Dead it is Bill Shankly’s time as Liverpool Manager, from 1959 to 1974. A novel, and an archive. A story and a sharing...

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