Congratulations to all the students who have received their A level results – and to the teachers, staff and schools that have helped get them there.
Whether our students are going on to university, apprenticeships, further training, or joining the workforce, they have all made us proud with their hard work, dedication and resilience.
This year was particularly challenging. For many pupils, this was their first experience of exams in a formal sense, after GCSEs were suspended during the pandemic. Grade boundaries were also raised to return to 2019 levels.
However, our students and schools excelled, with a number of Tooting schools exceeding the London average of 30% A*-A grades – itself a pass rate that is the highest in the country. London schools are still benefitting from the London Challenge investment of the last Labour government.
Our Tooting students and our Tooting schools and staff are something to celebrate.
We are so proud of you.
All too often, children are stuck on long waiting lists for mental health treatment and thousands of people are having their referrals closed before an appointment.
This Tory Government caused the crisis in mental health services - when will they fix it?
Our exclusive data reveals that children in a mental health crisis spent more than 900,000 hours in A&E in England, last year. The total delays across England, in the past year alone, equate to 103 years of waiting time. This is a huge rise, up four-fold in the last decade.
The figures, made public through Freedom of Information requests, show the staggering number of hours that children have spent in a mental health crisis in Emergency Departments.
With nowhere to turn, children with a mental illness are left to deteriorate – at which time A&E is the only place left for them to go. Emergency Departments are incredibly unsuitable settings for children in crisis, yet we’re witnessing increasingly younger children having to present to A&E in desperation.
The next Labour Government will prioritise a truly preventative plan for mental health services and will put patient care first. We will ensure access to mental health professionals in every school and put an open access hub in every community, in addition to guaranteeing mental health treatment within a month for all who need it, by recruiting 8,500 new mental health staff to treat a million additional patients a year by Labour’s first term in office., funded by closing tax loopholes.
Read the full article here
For Children's Mental Health Week, I've written for LabourList about Labour's bold, transformative plan to deliver mental health care for children and young people. With children waiting days in A&E in a mental health crisis and more than one million people being turned away from mental health services without being seen, it is vital that we transform care by putting prevention at the heart of our plan.
This Government should not cut corners when it comes to young people’s mental health. Good mental health starts in childhood. Labour’s vision for future generations is one where mental health conditions are treated early. Adverse childhood experiences are the greatest driver of mental illness in adulthood – it’s just common sense to get mental health treatment right for young people in order to transform the future of the country’s mental health.
The next Labour Government will ensure access to a mental health professional in every school, and we will put an open access mental health hub in every community. Every child should have the ability to raise concerns about their mental health with someone they trust, in an environment in which they feel safe. All of this will be funded by ending tax breaks for private schools.
Read my full article here
Recently I visited the fantastic Balham Ballers holiday club, based at Ravensbourne Primary school.
Balham Ballers provide a sports programme for young people aged five to twelve over the school holidays, focusing mainly on football but also giving young people a chance to enjoy a wide range of other sporting activities. I have loved working with the Balham Ballers team over the last few years and it has been fantastic to see them go from strength to strength.
Balham Ballers are passionate about promoting a love of sports amongst both boys and girls. This is something that I am particularly supportive of. Following the Lionesses' fantastic win at the Euros earlier this month, the England football team have said "every girl should be given the chance to play football at school." However, currently only 63% of schools offer equal access to football, a number that falls to just 44% at secondary schools.
It was great to see so many young people in our community enjoying football, and I even took a penalty myself!
To find out more about the Balham Ballers, click here.
It was so nice to be at Smallwood Primary School to learn about the fantastic work of the Chefs In Schools. It's amazing that all catering is now in-house, with chefs cooking food that has been grown by the students themselves.
The children were so enthusiastic about their freshly cooked and nutritious lunches. I believe that the work we’re doing with Chefs in Schools will go a long way to promote positive attitudes and relationships with food and mealtimes for our young people. It was great to be able to support!
It was great to be joined by Lord Wajid Khan at Rutherford House School.
We met with the school's Pupil Leaders who had some insightful questions about our work in Parliament, and also taught us about their values of resilience and respect. What a credit to the next generation!
So glad that I was able to attend this event with Lord Khan.
Tom's Farm at Nightingale Academy is truly special.
From taking care of the animals to competing in national young farmer competitions, students here are provided with the very best learning opportunities. These kids have an outlet to learn about agriculture and animals in a supportive environment.
I’m so proud of the work the farm is doing, and I’m looking forward to returning to see everyone soon - especially the adorable animals.
This week the Council finally listened to us!
Our beloved Tooting Bec Athletics Track will be saved and get the investment it so desperately needs and deserves.
To lose such a valuable asset in our community would be a devastating blow to so many of our young people. Having this track will be useful for encouraging young people to be physically active and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Thank you to everyone who joined the efforts to save our track!