Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham is one of 118 MPs and peers that has written to the recently-appointed Secretary of State for Education Nadhim Zahawi urging him to make an “early reassessment” of the Department for Education’s plan to remove funding for the vast majority of applied general qualifications such as BTECs.

 

Jon Cruddas MP has recently been contacted by The Booktrust who provided information about their newly refreshed Bookstart Baby programme, and how it will reach families across the constituency of Dagenham and Rainham.

 

A playgroup/pre-school in Rainham that was founded in 1971 is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.  Brenda Dorman, the original founder of Chandlers Chatters playgroup/pre-school, was inspired to open a playgroup because of her own children. Once she found a setting, she had to become qualified to be able to run the group, so attended afternoon sessions in childcare to get her qualifications. 50 years on and Sue Allen (who has managed the school for the past four years but worked there for many more) has also seen her own children attend the school.

 

This week, Jon Cruddas MP was contacted by Kellogg’s to inform him that their Breakfast Club grants programme for Schools has reopened this week.

Breakfast Clubs are critical for many schools, with research from Kellogg’s finding that 60 percent of teachers think they help children settle before class. A further 97% of teachers agree on the importance of having something to eat in the morning before school, especially when getting back into a routine after the summer holidays.

The ‘Big Deal Urban Arts Camp' is running until 20th August and offers a packed programme of streetdance styles, theatre, rap, songwriting and visual arts led by world-class, award-winning artists.

Based at the Park Centre, Dagenham, RM10 9SA there are still free places are available for children and young people eligible for free school meals as part of the Government's expanded Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme being delivered across Barking & Dagenham.

Corbets Tey at The Avelon is located in South Hornchurch Ward in Rainham and is an extension of Corbets Tey Specialist School in Upminster. Corbets Tey provide a flexible and personalised curriculum to students age 16-25 with additional and complex needs. Their aim is to provide a meaningful and relevant set of learning experiences which together provide an engaging curriculum, enabling both participation and achievement for all pupils - whilst preparing them for the future.

This week the Child Poverty Action Group held a briefing session for MPs ahead of the Westminster Hall debate on Child Food Poverty planned for Monday 24 May.

The session highlighted that there are currently 4.3 million children living in households below the poverty line, and that based on pre-pandemic data at least two in five children living in poverty across England were ineligible for free school meals.

New research from the education charity Teach First has found that over a third of parents say they have at least one child with no exclusive use of a device for schoolwork. The research found that 10% of parents say they have at least one child sharing with siblings, 13% sharing with other adults in the household, and 6% with no access to a device at all.

During the first lockdown the government pledged 600,000 devices for children so that learning could be moved online in the wake of school closures. However, almost a year later and the government has failed to deliver.

Last week Asda announced that they would be donating 7000 laptops to partner schools across the United Kingdom to tackle digital exclusion. This news broke after Jon Cruddas MP put out the call for local businesses to assist struggling schools.

According to Ofcom, around 9% of children in the UK – between 1.1 million and 1.8 million – do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home. These children are primarily from disadvantaged backgrounds and at risk of falling further behind with their education.

At the start of the first lockdown the government promised 600,000 laptops and devices for children across the country so that they could access online learning when schools closed. The majority of children across the country will be learning from home over the coming weeks and the government are still yet to deliver the devices promised to struggling communities.

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