Park Cakes workers to strike

first_imgWorkers at Oldham-based bakery manufacturer Park Cakes will walk out on strike for four days this month, following a branch meeting with union members.Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU), confirmed that around 70 staff, present at the meeting on 29 October, voted to walk out for 24 hours on 11, 14, 22 and 30 November. Workers at the meeting claimed that changes to employment contracts could result in them losing up to £4,000 a year in pay. In September, BFAWU claimed that Park Cake Bakeries was attempting to bypass new legislation covering agency workers. It also claimed that the firm was planning to introduce new contracts without consultation and without agreement. A spokesperson for Park Cakes said: “Despite the fact that the new contract has no effect on the pay of any employee recruited by the company before September, a small minority of 80 people turning up to a branch meeting determined that strike action should be taken. “The union is already aware that the forthcoming strike action will have no affect on the company’s position, but may damage the business to such an extent that employees jobs may be put at risk.”He added that the company had introduced the new contracts for new employees in order to control costs and remain competitive following the effects of the recession, and in order to safeguard existing jobs at its Bolton and Oldham sites.>>Park Cakes staff vote to strike>>Bakery union makes claims against Park Cakeslast_img read more

Premier still facing big challenge, argues analyst

first_imgA leading City analyst has welcomed the move by Premier Foods to dispose of its under-performing subsidiary Brookes Avana for £30m but warned the embattled company still “has much to do”.The own-label meals and cake business was sold recently by Premier to rival 2 Sisters Food Group for £30m in cash, in a deal that should complete by January.But according to Martin Deboo, analyst at Investec Securities, the deal made sense. He said: “We see the disposal of Brookes Avana as a positive step on Premier’s path to recovery. In exchange for £30m in cash, Premier loses a major distraction and an asset that we were forecasting to lose £25m this year. There remains much to do if our 15p target share price is to be realised, but this feels like good business to us.”Commenting on the disposal of Brookes Avana, newly appointed chief executive of Premier Foods Michael Clarke added: “The sale of Brookes Avana underlines our commitment to focus the business on growing a smaller number of brands. Brookes Avana will have a better opportunity to grow with 2 Sisters Food Group given its focus in the chilled food sector.”Premier Foods has experienced a torrid year in 2011, and proceeds of the disposal will be used to repay its extensive bank borrowings, currently running at £1.2bn. Premier announced in October that it would be focusing investment behind eight Power Brands, including Hovis and Mr Kipling, and would dispose of selected businesses “further enabling it to deleverage the business”. Shares in Premier, which have plunged from a high of 288p in 2007, have been hovering around 6p.Brookes Avana has around 2,000 staff and Premier said that “all the employees will transfer with the business”.last_img read more

Elkhart’s Flotilla will take place as scheduled for its 44th year

first_img Pinterest Facebook Facebook Twitter Google+ WhatsApp Previous articleGoshen Police looking into attempted kidnapping on TuesdayNext articleFour Winds Invitational rescheduled for September Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. Photo from COVID isn’t going to stop one annual tradition n Elkhart. The 44th annual Flotilla will happen as scheduled July 4th The flotilla is  a parade of boats all decorated for the occasion; hoping to win the approval of judges that will be looking on from the famous Elkhart River Queen.Unlike previous years there is no theme this year and they want boaters to decorate however they would like and use their imagination. The flotilla will start at the Six Span Bridge near Sr. 120 and Cr. 17 and will end at Martins Landing where the judges will announce the winner.Its free to compete and non-river residents are welcome. You can find more at By Jon Zimney – June 18, 2020 0 426 CoronavirusIndianaLocalNews Twitter Elkhart’s Flotilla will take place as scheduled for its 44th year Pinterest Google+ WhatsApplast_img read more

Indiana BMV wants to suspend fewer licenses

first_img Indiana BMV wants to suspend fewer licenses Twitter Facebook (Photo supplied/Elkhart Truth) The B-M-V wants to suspend fewer licenses.Legislators approved an amnesty program last year to cut people’s reinstatement fees in half. Governor Holcomb is backing a bill to revive that program for another year, and make the B-M-V slower to suspend licenses in the first place.Chris Daniels with the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council says nearly half-a-million Hoosiers have had their licenses suspended — many of them more than once. More than 70-percent of those aren’t for reckless driving, but for not showing up in court, not having insurance, or not paying reinstatement fees after a suspension.Daniels says that creates a catch-22 where people who don’t have the money to get their license back just keep driving, rack up additional suspensions and fees, and dig a financial hole they can’t get out of.The House has already voted 93-3 for a bill giving you a six-month grace period to get insurance and a job, and dropping the suspension if you do. The bill also creates a three-year grace period for nonviolent offenders freshly released from prison, as long as they get a job or are enrolled in a training program.Ogden Dunes Senator Karen Tallian (D) says northwest Indiana unions have told her in the past that license suspensions are the single biggest obstacle to getting people into apprenticeship programs.The bill has received the first of two required Senate committee approvals before going to the full Senate. Twitter Pinterest Facebook IndianaLocalNews Pinterest Google+ Previous articleBall State shuts down all in-person social eventsNext articleFire that destroyed Forest River plant in Goshen caused by space heater Network Indiana WhatsApp By Network Indiana – March 17, 2021 1 249 WhatsApp Google+last_img read more

Press release: Environment Agency confirms Blue Green Algae in three locations across the Lake District

first_img As always, if people see any environmental impacts due to dry weather, such as fish in distress, or Blue Green Algae, please report it to the Environment Agency incident line on 0800 80 70 60 open 24/7, so we can investigate and take appropriate action to protect people and the environment. The Environment Agency continues to work with water companies, businesses and farmers across the country to provide advice, helping to balance the needs of water users and minimise impacts on the environment of any dry weather. If our sampling confirms Blue Green Algae is present in a lake or river, we inform the landowner, and they are encouraged to take the necessary steps to inform users of the water, by way of posters, notices or other means. Water bodies affected by Blue Green Algae, or Algal Blooms may be green, blue-green or greenish brown and can produce musty, earthy or grassy odours. Blooms can also cause foaming on the shoreline, which can sometimes be confused with sewage pollution. During a bloom, the water also becomes less clear, blocking sunlight and stopping plants in the water from growing.Blue Green Algae naturally occurs in inland waters, estuaries and the sea. Blooms can form when their numbers become excessive. Once algal numbers are high, the bloom is likely to persist throughout the season, declining only on the onset of winter conditions.Bloom and scum forming blue-green algae can produce toxins. Toxin producing blooms are called Harmful Algal Blooms. These toxins can be harmful to wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets. In humans, they have been known to cause rashes after skin contact and illnesses if swallowed. Not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic, but you can’t tell just by looking at them, so it’s best to assume they are.For further information visit is a precious resource and it is always helpful, in terms of future supplies and protecting the environment, for everyone to follow advice on saving water from their water company and use water wisely– especially during a period of dry weather.Advice on what to look out for, and the effects of blue-green algae, can be found at Following hot, dry, weather across Cumbria, the Environment Agency has confirmed reports of Blue Green Algae in three locations across the Lake District.Ullswater, Coniston and Killington Lake have all tested positive for potentially toxic Blue Green Algae which can have a negative effect on the appearance, quality and use of the water.Throughout the summer months, the Environment Agency test water samples and confirm if Blue Green Algae has been found. They then inform landowners of the blooms, so they can take the necessary steps to warn the public of any potential dangers. This could may be the local authority, or a private landowner.Jim Ratcliffe from the Environment Agency says:last_img read more

Speech: Amanda Spielman’s speech to the Policy Exchange think tank

first_img the struggle between Church and crown Magna Carta and the emergence of Parliament the English Reformation and Counter-Reformation (Henry VIII to Mary I) Britain’s transatlantic slave trade: its effects and its eventual abolition the French Revolutionary wars women’s suffrage …this does not imply that no other country can share them in whole or in part, but that they are civic values which should be adhered to by all people in Britain. Values which stand in opposition cannot and should not be described as British. The government believes that promoting British values in schools helps young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain. If that is our aim then it must be right that Ofsted inspects against this policy. We know that this belief is shared by many people in education, yet we do not go unchallenged in our work.The Lords Committee noted that many people regret the context in which these values were originally formulated − in the context of a counter-extremism strategy. It suggested that they need to be re-framed in a non-securitised and more positive context. They expressed a desire to rename them as Shared Values of British Citizenship, as well as broadening the scope of ‘respect’ beyond matters of faith and belief.The most frequent criticism expressed to me is that the values are universal, and not exclusively British. People who make this criticism often prefer a model grounded in individual human rights. But I am not aware that any claim has ever been made for British ownership of the list. And indeed, as the Lords Committee said in its argument for renaming them: Many non-faith schools could probably learn a lot from Eden School’s approach.Another school – Simon Marks Jewish Primary – had a report that said: The development of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Pupils’ faith systems lead to their participating in worship at start of lessons and demonstrating respect and understanding of the values of the other faiths studied. Pupils live diversity…. They are insightful about what it means to uphold British values…. They are exceptionally well-prepared to live and serve in modern Britain. And I’m not saying here that it is a problem for people to belong to a well-defined group, whether political, religious, cultural, geographical or simply social. Indeed, there are well-documented advantages to belonging to communities. Where it becomes problematic is when a particular identity is taken to preclude or, at worst, justify hostility to any other group affiliation.The increasing fragmentation of the media probably makes this problem worse. Rather than engaging in and debating a common narrative – for instance the one provided by broadcast news at 6 or 10 − people use social media to follow news sources that reinforce rather than challenge their views. Among majority communities, this can lead to a desire to blame ‘the other’. It can lead to the backlash against minorities, and against liberalism, that we’ve seen across the globe in recent years. Combined with economic malaise, it can lead to a rejection of the move towards social liberalism of the past half century. As Robert Putnam says, ‘social dislocation can easily breed a reactionary form of nostalgia’. Where minority communities are already feeling isolated and alienated, they can themselves be preyed upon by extremists, making the job of schools even harder.The third practical difficulty for schools, is that education, rightly, is seen neither by policymakers nor by teachers as indoctrination. Education should not and does not aim to force children to adhere to British values and to disclaim all others. Nor does it try to turn children against their parents or their cultural heritage.Yet, we know that some teachers feel unclear about, or even uncomfortable with, what is expected of schools. So, let me explain what I think is being asked of them. In my view, teachers are expected to give children a proper understanding of British values, and of what these values have contributed – and continue to contribute to – the strength and success of British society.The Lords Committee sees the need as being for better citizenship education. It calls for a statutory entitlement with (inevitably) extra focus by Ofsted and an explicit link to the outstanding judgement. That, of course, is a question for the government. Regardless, I would argue that there is much more that can be done within the existing school curriculum and, in particular, across all the humanities.Taking the history curriculum first: the key stage 3 statutory programme of study includes as suggested topics: The promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is a key strength of the school. It permeates all subjects and all aspects of school life. Leaders map out topics and enrichment experiences to ensure that no opportunity is missed to discuss and learn about key values, including the fundamental British values of tolerance, respect, democracy and the rule of law….For example, following the terrorist acts in London and Manchester, pupils reflected on all the religions they have learned about and decided that no religion would condone such actions. Many of these topics show how the 4 values have come about, and can bring home how many lives it has cost to establish and protect them. For example, the persecution of Catholics in England in the 16th century highlights the suffering that can follow from the absence of religious freedom. And some topics in modern history, such as the study of the Holocaust or Stalinist Russia, serve particularly well to illustrate the terrible human cost of totalitarianism and of prejudice against minorities.Similarly, the study of geography can also be used to look at where physical, political, ethnic and religious borders coincide, and where they don’t, and at how the resulting distributions of people and of economic and political power translate into accommodations and conflicts, economic development or its absence, and into patterns of migration.Religious education can contribute a great deal to mutual understanding in a multi-ethnic state. And while it can be quite straightforward to cover the factual information about the rituals and observances and meeting places of different faiths, there is far more that it can do. During my time at Ofqual, the exam regulator, we worked on the new religious studies GCSE, which for the first time is requiring students to study 2 religions. This means that they study at least one that is not their own, so they arrive at some understanding of the differences between faiths. And religious education also has the potential to develop children’s understanding of the diversity that often exists within as well as between faiths: after all, most faiths actually encompass a spectrum of views, from liberal to conservative.Religious education done well helps children understand where values overlap and where they diverge, and hence the basis for the tensions that can arise between and sometimes even within faiths. It can help them understand the tensions that can arise between faith and other legally established rights, such as the rights of women and rights relating to sexuality. And done well it allows children to understand how their own faith relates to the wider world, both in terms of attitudes and the prevailing law. Again, this is not about indoctrination, rather about making sure that young people have the knowledge to make their own informed choices.This is one of many reasons I have been putting so much emphasis on the importance of the curriculum: the real substance of education. I’ve talked before about why I believe a rich and deep knowledge-based curriculum is a vital driver of social mobility. But there’s another reason that the curriculum is vitally important in preparing young people for life in modern Britain − a shared body of knowledge constitutes the building blocks of a coherent society. It gives young people an understanding of the forces that have shaped and continue to shape their history and nation. It helps them be discriminating about fake news and siren voices. The EBacc isn’t just about helping young people fulfil their academic potential: it’s about the various branches of knowledge that are vital to the functioning of a shared society.We’ve seen first-hand the consequences of locking young people out of that shared corpus, of denying them the opportunity to engage with the best that has been thought and said. I believe that the alienation that we see in some communities, whether segregated ethnic communities, or isolated White working-class communities, is in part the result of an education that has not given their young people the tools they need to be active and engaged and constructive citizens.I want to turn now to our recent experience, drawing on our inspection findings. Ofsted is of course on the front line in observing and reporting on individual schools and on whether the government’s education policy is translating into good practice.When it comes to British values, we often see an oddly piecemeal approach, which too seldom builds the teaching into a strong context. One strange example I saw that illustrates the tendency to superficiality was in a prison classroom. The lesson was on writing a business plan: perfectly sensible stuff about setting out clearly the business idea, who the customers were, how it was going to be sold, how it would be priced, and so on. And then the teacher said ‘and of course you have to make sure that the plan reflects British values’ and started asking students how they would build each value into their plan.In another (non-faith) school’s policy that I saw recently, they explain that one of the ways they teach fundamental British values is through looking at the seasons and weather, which is surely stretching the definition a bit.More generally, we see a lot of wall displays and motivational assemblies, but not much coherent thinking about how a real depth of understanding can be built through the academic curriculum, such as the history examples I gave a few minutes ago. Though, as ever, there are some excellent counter-examples. I have learned that I cannot give a speech that mentions a common but not universal deficiency without some expressions of outrage that I have claimed that everyone is deficient, and at least one follow-up invitation to see a school that does that thing particularly well. I only wish I could visit everyone who writes to me.I am, however, hoping that our renewed focus on curriculum will encourage schools to think more about what they are teaching, and about what they aim to get from that teaching.And we should remember that, for some children, school may be the only time in their lives that they spend time every day with people from outside their immediate ethnic or religious group, or at least where the values of people outside their own group can be explained and openly discussed.This is a good point to discuss faith schools and our inspections of them. I’ve mentioned in other speeches that almost all faith schools do a good job of explaining any tensions between the tenets of their own faith, and the framework of law and policy. Ofsted recognises and indeed frequently acknowledges this publicly. More generally, I want to be absolutely unequivocal: Ofsted has no anti-faith bias or secular agenda.Where faith schools are performing well, they will continue to be recognised and celebrated by Ofsted. We’re also working with a variety of faith groups to help them understand our work better, and to make sure that our inspectors always have the right level of understanding of how those groups practice their faith. To give an example, we have a collaboration with PaJeS (Partnerships for Jewish Schools) to run information sessions for Jewish school leaders on how they can comply with requirements around equalities and British values in a way that is in line with schools’ religious teachings.Overall, my view is that the accommodation of religion in state education that was put in place in 1870 has worked remarkably well for nearly 150 years. Today, we see many faith schools playing a pivotal role in promoting integration. Through accidents of history, many Catholic and Church of England schools are quite ethnically diverse – Catholic schools because the Catholic Church is one single international church, and CofE schools because alongside the traditional village primary, a large number of church schools are concentrated in historic centres of population where immigrants form a large proportion of the population, and so have intakes that are quite diverse, both ethnically and religiously. Simon Burgess’s recently published study shows that pupils from one ethnic group feel more positive towards another group if they encounter more pupils from that group in their school. Even small moves away from mono-ethnic schools towards more mixed ones produce positive changes.In fact, for all of the UK’s major religions, the values of kindness, charity, fair treatment and respect for others are integral to the faith ethos they inculcate in their schools. In most faith schools, that ethos encourages integration and a sense of community that goes beyond the confines of the particular religion.These strengths are borne out in our inspection judgements. Muslim state schools are almost 3 times as likely to be outstanding than the national average, and Jewish and Christian state schools are more likely to be good or outstanding than their secular counterparts. The suggestion that Ofsted has an anti-faith school bias is simply not true and does not fit the profile of our judgements.Digging into some inspection reports clearly shows that it is possible to adhere to a faith while respecting the requirements of equalities law.So, for example, the report for Eden School in Waltham Forest, a Muslim girls’ school, reads: And therein lies the point: while these values are not unique to Britain or British society, they are integral to our ethos.And these values are in fact far from universal. A few months ago, after similar points had been made to me for the umpteenth time, I did a little empirical investigation of my own. There are a number of international surveys by credible organisations that compare different countries on things like democracy and the rule of law. I looked for and found fairly recent surveys covering all 4 values.For democracy, there is the EIU Democracy Index; for the rule of law, the World Justice Project Index; for liberty, I found the Cato Institute Freedom Index and for religious tolerance, a Pew Center index of religious restrictions. While religious restrictions are a slightly different thing, their existence generally goes along with unequal treatment of different religions, so I have taken this index as a proxy measure. Each of these surveys covers a number of countries. They cover not just intent – whether a value is recognised and publicly endorsed – but also whether it is realised in practice.These 4 surveys give some perspective on the universality or otherwise of the 4 core values.The EIU Democracy Index is an interesting place to start. It surveys 167 countries, which between them account for the vast majority of the world population. It categorises 19 countries, which between them have less than 5% of the world’s population, as full democracies, and a further 57 countries, with a further 44% of the world population, as flawed democracies. That puts more than half the countries covered, and more than half of the world population, in either the ‘authoritarian regime’ or ‘hybrid regime’ categories. About 32% of people live in authoritarian countries. It is a sad fact that in recent years more countries have moved away from full democracy than towards it.The World Justice Project Index for the rule of law similarly finds that surprisingly few countries get a clean bill of health – 11 are graded ‘very high’ and a further 11 as ‘high’. The Pew Center looks at all 198 countries and territories, and scores about half as having low government restrictions on religion, but a surprising number even of European countries are deemed to have moderate or even in a couple of places high restrictions.Now one can always quibble with aspects of the classification in these surveys, and the boundaries are obviously not clear-cut. But a surprisingly small number of countries come out consistently in the top group on all of these criteria: on the particular set of surveys I looked at, they were Australia, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK. The World Justice Project didn’t include some smaller countries: Ireland and Luxembourg might have joined the select group if it had. The other Scandinavian and German speaking countries all missed out by reason of the Pew Center scoring of religious restrictions. Widening the top 2 categories across the board would have brought them in along with the United States, a few in the far East, and, interestingly, Uruguay.But what is striking is how many countries would still be absent from the list. There are a lot of countries that are not democracies, and a lot that do not permit their citizens religious freedom, or do much to protect individual liberty. And the rule of law is so imperfectly implemented in many countries that it is hard to attach a great deal of value to it.That such a small handful of countries fall into the category of fully embracing what we call ‘British values’ should be proof enough that we cannot simply take them for granted. And nor can we assume that because they exist now, they always will. To illustrate this, consider a recent US poll, commissioned by the Bush and Biden Foundations. It found that a majority of Americans, 55%, now label American democracy as “weak”, with two-thirds saying it is getting weaker. A startling study of attitudes to democracy by Yascha Mounk and Roberto Foa found that while in Britain almost 70% of those born in the 1930s think it is essential to live in a democracy, that figure falls to just over 25% for those born in the 1980s. That bears thinking about: barely more than a quarter of so-called millennials in this country believe that democracy is essential.Some of the reasons for this are well documented: poorly managed economic dislocation, combined with the abuse by some of their positions of wealth and authority, have led to disenchantment with the status quo. That disenchantment can so easily be exploited by extremists, who promise a better tomorrow by scapegoating and blaming minorities today. This is why it is right that the Prevent duty also focuses on tackling the growth of the far right. At the opposite, but strikingly similar, end of the spectrum, Islamist extremists – particularly fuelled by the online propaganda of Daesh and others – prey on a sense of isolation and alienation in some minority communities.This poses a number of problems for schools. The first is that schools with the job of promoting British values and equalities are sometimes teaching young people who get conflicting or even downright contradictory messages outside school. For example, freedom of belief is inimical to the prevailing view in some communities. Similarly, the acceptance of the equal rights of women or of gay rights may not fit with the views a child hears at home. No wonder, therefore, that some young people feel torn between different identities.Yet, in many ways this is not a new challenge but a constant one. Attitudes can and do shift over time, but they don’t change in an ordered way, and the studies I just quoted show how they can move in both directions. Just look at how much British society has changed in the past century or two. The dismantling of restrictions on Catholics was completed less than 2 centuries ago; legal equality for women was achieved in my lifetime, after a century of gradual progress starting with the Married Womens’ Property Act; equality for gay men and women more recently still; and transgender rights are still not fully secured, something last week’s government action plan seeks to address. Social attitude surveys from 50 or even 20 years ago show a dramatically different picture from today. For example, in 1987, only a generation ago, just 11% of the British public said that same-sex relationships are not wrong at all, and yet by 2016 this had reached 64%.A second problem for schools is that history, culture and experience can lead to a strong identification by a child with their family’s cultural group to the exclusion of all else. To quote a recent piece by Andrew Sullivan: The problem with tribalism is that it knows no real limiting principle. It triggers a deep and visceral response: a defence of the tribe before all other considerations. That means, in its modern manifestation, that the tribe comes before the country as a whole, before any neutral institutions that get in its way, before reason and empiricism, and before the rule of law. It means loyalty to the tribe – and its current chief – is enforced relentlessly. And to give one more example, from St Damian’s RC Science College, Ashton-under-Lyme: The title of this speech, ‘The Ties that Bind’, is not an original phrase. And indeed, as soon as the invitations for this Policy Exchange event went out, we had a call from an understandably bemused Lords Committee clerk wondering why they had not been consulted, because their Committee on Citizenship and Civic Engagement published a report with this title earlier this year, and for which one of my colleagues gave evidence. So, apologies to Lord Hodgson and his eminent fellow peers – I had not then seen their excellent report, though I have now read it with great interest.And of course a great deal of overdue thinking and discussion has happened in many quarters in recent years on the difficult subjects of community cohesion, integration, citizenship and British values, by minds far more distinguished than mine. Indeed, when I took up the job of Chief Inspector, I hardly imagined this was a subject I would be spending quite so much time on. But having spent 18 months in what is a fairly hot seat at Ofsted, I have seen quite how much these challenges directly affect our schools.That is my topic this evening: to explore why the promotion of British values is important in encouraging cohesion and integration, and so why responsibility for promoting them must fall to our schools. And I also want to talk about Ofsted’s role in making sure that schools do this well.Taking a step back for a few minutes, it was the experience of living and working in the United States, more than 20 years ago, that made me recognise how much the development of a society, and the formation of its public policy, is driven by the values that underlie that society. Even though the UK and the United States are more similar than most, I came to realise how different their underlying values and assumptions were, and still are. And I’m not talking about guns and abortions here – I was most struck then about things like the welfare settlement, and the idea of what education is for. The version of egalitarianism that has been the bedrock of NHS provision and of the English state school system for many decades looks quite strange to many American eyes. And I was genuinely surprised back then by how very differently the word ‘liberalism’ was perceived in America. All this made me look back at and think about Britain in a whole different way.But despite these differences, what marks out both the UK and the US as successful societies is that they have each developed a core of values shared by a large majority of their citizens, and built systems of public provision on those values, safe in the assumption that, despite the range of political opinion, enough consensus exists around values for people to compromise where necessary in the collective interest. Though perhaps the limits of that consensus are being somewhat stretched by the current occupant of the Oval Office.This assumption of shared values has worked well for a couple of reasons. The US has famously put a strong emphasis on national unity and assimilation, to an extent that actually makes many British people feel slightly uneasy. So, for example, the pledge of allegiance must be recited regularly in schools, in all but 4 states.In England, the nearest analogue is the requirement for a daily act of collective worship, which if we are being honest gets lip service, if that, in many schools. More generally, England has had a more laissez-faire approach to integration, with multiculturalism and assimilation both valued.But the context has changed in recent years. Immigrant populations are quite unevenly distributed, and so in many parts of England we now have schools that educate mainly or almost entirely children from relatively recently arrived families, or that at least use another language at home. For instance, across England, there are just under 2,000 state-funded schools where more than half of pupils have English as an additional language. More than 40 percent of EAL children are in the relatively small minority of schools where half or more of children are EAL. Even the accidental segregation resulting from geography makes it less likely that integration will happen by default.In December 2016, the Casey Review was published. More recently, the government’s Integrated Communities Strategy green paper, published in March this year, sets out starkly the scale of the challenge and the need for all organs of the state to play an active role in fostering integration. That strategy is a clear recognition that the current approach to integration needs strengthening, and that our efforts to promote community cohesion must involve a common vision; a sense of belonging; valuing diversity; and ensuring equal opportunities. The work of schools in promoting British values sits at the heart of that strategy.The current meaning of the term ‘British values’ was first defined in the 2011 Prevent Strategy. The role of schools in promoting them was formalised in Department for Education guidance in 2014, to help both independent and state schools understand their responsibilities. This guidance set out the duty of all schools in England, state and independent, to ‘actively promote’ the 4 British values of: democracy the rule of law individual liberty mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs The spiritual, moral, social and cultural education of pupils is impressive. Pupils are regularly immersed in rich, well-organised opportunities. As a result, pupils are well prepared for life in modern Britain. Leaders organise theme days, ‘Aspire Days’, to enable pupils to understand the concept of British values. Pupils have the opportunity to learn about and discuss cultural diversity and faiths such as Hinduism and Islam. Our first conclusion is that, while a variety of faiths, beliefs and customs can enrich our society, and respect for the values of others is a high priority, respect for the law must come first. There is no place for rules or customs whose effect is to demean or marginalise people or groups – equality before the law is a cornerstone of our society. This is why the rule of law, together with a commitment to democracy, individual liberty and respect for the inherent worth and autonomy of all people, are the shared values of British citizenship from which everything else proceeds. These are “red lines” which have to be defended. Like many, I recognise the wider significance of these values. They ensure the legitimacy and effectiveness of government for all citizens, and they provide a unifying framework for a multi-racial society, to build on what is already held in common. They are values that promote both trust and the willingness to contribute to the common good. They create a space in which minority beliefs, lifestyles and cultures can exist freely and in harmony, but also a common set of values that help to strengthen the bonds of our shared society. They therefore have an importance far beyond preventing extremism and terrorism.For Ofsted, making sure that the next generation understands, respects and is willing to adopt these values is essential. They are values that give a simple message to our young people: in Britain, no matter what your background, you can fit in, you can succeed and you can belong.The Lords Committee, in its response to the green paper, endorses the values strongly: Yet, we have seen worrying developments in a small number of state schools, as well in some independent schools and in unregistered provision. As I have previously had to report, we do find schools where teaching materials and practices are directly at odds with the requirements of the law, especially the independent school standards and equalities law. But there are other problems too that have been less well aired.First, we see an expanding sense of religious and/or cultural entitlement to have aspects of a school’s provision dictated by the preferences of a particular group, whether or not members of that group even constitute the majority of a school’s intake. This can affect what is taught and what is not taught, what children take part in and what they are withdrawn from, and what children wear or don’t wear.And people have even questioned why Ofsted has expressed a view in some recent cases. So, here are my reasons.First, we need to recognise that where this kind of pressure builds up, it can not only undermine the authority of a head, but also limit the extent to which schools can help build community cohesion and encourage integration. Ofsted must support schools that make justifiable decisions in the interests of all the children who attend their school.Secondly, we see in some of the more extreme cases that religious group identity and authority are being systematically built up and used to limit individual liberties, such as the right of a girl to enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as a boy. We made a difficult call in the case of Al-Hijrah School in Birmingham that the segregation practised there infringed the law, and our inspectors’ view was upheld in the Court of Appeal.Thirdly, we see a few schools that set out to withhold from children the knowledge of aspects of science and society that fall squarely within the national curriculum that is the default expectation for all children, but that are deemed incompatible with the relevant faith. And here I’m not just talking about issues related to evolution, reproduction and sexual orientation. A recent state school inspection found that Elizabethan history, chunks of GCSE set texts such as a Sherlock Holmes novel, and most works of art were considered unsuitable for the girls to know about. For a time, exam boards allowed some schools to censor exam papers, even where this meant breaking the rules that protect the integrity of tests.Again I want to stress that we are talking about a small minority of faith schools here. Most faith schools introduce relevant knowledge at the appropriate time, with clear explanations of any differences between the principles of their faith and British law and the beliefs of others. Indeed, it is worth being clear here on the difference between the requirements around British values and of equalities law. British values must be actively promoted, including the mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs. But schools are not required to promote social practices, opinions or lifestyles that they disagree with. Instead, the requirement is for them to convey that these differences exist among us, and are recognised and protected in British law.In the context of these developments, it is clear that there is a tradition of liberal tolerance across the whole education system that defaults to accommodating religious preferences. Faith itself is, to use the somewhat clunky language of equalities law, one of the 9 protected characteristics. And we often take this preference for accommodating religion in particular quite far: even non-religious people often feel that the preferences of religious groups must be accommodated, even when this means that some children will not receive their full curriculum entitlement.So, when I have talked about muscular liberalism in the past, it has been about the confidence to sustain our openness and tolerance, and not allow them to be used to accept models of education in this country that close minds and narrow opportunity. All children are born equal, and should know this and know what life opportunities they have – whether or not they choose to take advantage of them in their adult lives. That should apply just as much in Scunthorpe, as in Hackney, as in Cheshire. The draft advice to schools on the independent school standards is rightly clear that the requirement to promote the value of respect for others is not met by encouraging respect for other people in a general way, without any explanation of the protected characteristics.It is regrettable that we at Ofsted are experiencing increasing hostility from a few schools to law and policy that do not fit well with the preferences of the most conservative religious groups, and to the parts of government that inspect and regulate. Some groups are quick to allege bias or antagonism on the part of inspectors, and sometimes simply to misrepresent the inspection process. The fact that we have found significant shortcomings in a relatively high proportion of schools in the independent sector is alleged to be evidence of a bias against religion, even though no such difference is identifiable in outcomes for schools in the state sector. Our inspectors find and report on truth as they see it, in line with the law.And one part of that law, the Equalities Act, is a relatively new piece of legislation. Resolving tensions between the different protected characteristics is never going to be clear cut, but as with so much of the messy British constitution, the law probably gets the balance about right. If people have a problem with it, they should lobby MPs to change the law, not blame Ofsted for carrying out its duty to apply the law as it stands.I hope all this has explained why Ofsted has a role in this sensitive space, and the importance of us reporting honestly on what we are finding. Because this is how the next generation is being shaped to enter society.And my final point is to emphasise the importance of making these subjects discussable. For many people, the things I have been talking about today are too sensitive and too difficult for them to want to risk giving offence. They are easy things to skirt, yet the risk of doing so is great. If we leave these topics to the likes of the EDL and BNP on the one hand and Islamists on the other, then the mission of integration will fail. To quote Robert Putnam once more, “people divorced from community, occupation, and association are first and foremost among the supporters of extremism”. Putting this back into the more concrete language I used earlier, schools have an extraordinarily important role in making sure that children can fit in, succeed and belong. Ofsted’s role is to apply the lever of inspection to help make sure they do it well.Thank you.last_img read more

Press release: Advisory Committee on Business Appointments publishes Annual Report

first_imgThe independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments has today published its annual report for 2017-2018. The report records advice that the Committee gave on outside appointments which were advised on in 2017-2018 by former Ministers and senior Crown servants under the Government’s Business Appointments Rules.The report shows that the Committee considered 93 applications from former Ministers and 137 applications from former Crown servants during the reporting period.The report is available here.All appointments listed in the report are published on the Committee’s website.Notes to Editors Media enquiries about the work of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments should go to Maggie O’Boyle on 07880 740627. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments is a non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the Cabinet Office. Members are appointed by the Prime Minister. The Committee provides advice on applications from Ministers, Permanent Secretaries (and their equivalents) Directors-General (and their equivalents) for any new paid or unpaid appointment within 2 years of leaving ministerial office or Crown service. Applications from all other levels of Crown servant are handled by their employing departments. Advice given by the Committee on appointments taken up or announced by former Ministers or Crown servants is published on the Committee’s website. More information about the work of the Committee is available on its website. The current members of the Committee are Baroness (Angela) Browning (Chair), Sir Alex Allan, Jonathan Baume, Lord (Michael) German, Terence Jagger, Dr Susan Liautaud, Baroness (Helen) Liddell, Richard Thomas and John Wood.last_img read more

Press release: UK Minister for Africa visits Ghana to show support for Ghana’s vision to move beyond aid

first_img Follow the Foreign Office on Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn For journalists Media enquiries Minister for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development Harriett Baldwin has announced a major new jobs creation and investment programme during a visit to Ghana on 28 August 2018. The UK’s £20 million Jobs and Economic Transformation (JET) Programme will help create over 15,000 jobs for Ghanaians and is expected to facilitate over £50 million of additional private sector investment.No country can defeat poverty and leave aid dependency behind without sustainable economic growth, jobs, trade and investment. As part of their vision to move beyond aid, the Government of Ghana have welcomed this UK support which will trigger long-term economic growth which will allow them to provide vital services for their own people and become a key future business partner for the UK.Minister Baldwin also announced a three-day UK-Ghana Investment Summit which will be held in Accra this October. More than fifty British companies and major investors will be brought together to explore new commercial opportunities in sectors such as financial and legal services, agriculture, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. The UK is already Ghana’s second largest trading partner and this Summit hopes to open up further opportunities between the two countries.During her visit Minister Baldwin met President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Minister for Foreign Affairs Shirley Botchway, discussing the UK’s continued support for the President’s ambition to move Ghana beyond aid and to a modern partnership with the UK.She also met Minister for Trade and Industry Alan Kyerematen to discuss diversification and industrialisation in the economy and how the UK and Ghana can best work together to deliver prosperity and long-term growth for both countries.Minister Baldwin said: The UK and Ghana have a long-standing friendship based on shared values, our Commonwealth ties, and strong links between our people. Our new Jobs and Economic Transformation programme will attract millions of pounds of private sector investment, including exciting opportunities for UK businesses, as well as creating thousands of new jobs here in Ghana. Under President Akufo-Addo, the country is making remarkable strides towards a Ghana beyond aid. This is why we are building a modern partnership which will deliver prosperity and growth for both of our countries, by unlocking new opportunities for UK and Ghanaian businesses and investment. Email [email protected] Follow the Foreign Office on Twitter @foreignoffice and Facebook Follow Foreign Office Minister Harriett Baldwin on Twitter @hbaldwin The Minister visited the Blue Skies factory to see how UK investment through CDC, the UK’s Development Finance Institution, is creating jobs and spurring business in Ghana. Blue Skies is a British business founded in Ghana that works with small agricultural producers to export fruit and fruit products to the UK and elsewhere. The factory now employs over 3,500 Ghanaians and supports many small businesses through its supply chain.Further informationlast_img read more

Press release: New UK support to boost long-term stability in Somalia

first_img Somalia is at a critical juncture and sustainable, predictable funding and support for the troops who are building stability in the region is vital to support a transition to Somali-led security, when the conditions for a handover are right. more than £60 million to help over a million people cope with and recover from the impact of conflict and drought. Lifesaving food, clean water and medicine, along with support to find stable jobs, will help Somalis to look after themselves and their families in the long-term, reducing their dependence on humanitarian aid more than £25 million to support Somalia as it works to establish a stable and democratic political system. This will include advice to help develop rules on resource and power-sharing, and to prepare for landmark elections, including through support for voter and political party registration Last year the UK contributed £385 million towards international efforts to help the Somali people build an increasingly secure, stable and prosperous country.The Prime Minister hosted the London Somalia Conference in 2017 which agreed the international community’s new partnership with the Federal Government of Somalia.While in Kenya, she will announce further funding to support Somalia in a range of areas, including:center_img The international community must do more to help the African Union lead the fight against al-Shabaab as Somalia takes on greater responsibility for its own security, Theresa May will say today.The UK has a strong track record both in supporting the African Union and helping Somalia rebuild its police and military forces after decades of insecurity.On a visit to a UK-backed Counter-IED training centre in Nairobi the Prime Minister will see British troops helping prepare soldiers from Kenya and the region to deploy as part of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM).British instructors and their Kenyan counterparts are training troops in the tactics and techniques needed to identify and destroy the home-made bombs which are increasingly the weapon of choice for terrorists in the region.Announcing over £7 million of new UK funding to support the AU’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia, she will call on international donors to contribute more, setting out that an unstable Somalia has a knock-on effect on stability across the region and further afield.Prime Minister Theresa May said:last_img read more

Press release: More than £400,000 awarded to organisations increasing diversity in politics

first_imgToday’s winners:Women’s Resource Centres £64,992Women’s Resource Centres (WRC) is the leading umbrella body for women’s charities nationally, representing over 500 women-focussed organisations. This project will see the development and delivery of a social leadership programme for BME women engaged in the women’s sector, either as employees or volunteers, aged between 20 and 30. The project is a two-day Personal and Organisational Leadership course; establishing a peer support network to discuss learning and engage local MPs; and a showcase event at the Palace of Westminster, organised and led by the peer support network.Partners in Creative Learning CIC £35,000This project will engage 60 young women in three post-16 educational settings in Stoke and North Staffs. They will:* Explore opinions on politics, gender and civic life* Discussions with female leaders and MPs about their own routes into democratic and civic participation* Action learning groups around celebration of an individual or issues participants feel need to be campaigned on* Working with artists to develop a piece (may be a film, production, exhibition) and showcase these to an audience made up of the community and key stakeholders.Breakthrough UK Ltd £34,246Breakthrough UK is a Manchester-based disabled people’s organisation led and staffed by disabled people. The project is 13 weekly face-to-face workshops for 5 to 10 disabled women in three areas of Greater Manchester. The workshops will facilitate discussions on the women’s and disabled people’s movements (including disabled suffragettes); support participants to train local, regional and national organisations on removing barriers to participation; build skill development, including placements, shadowing and internship opportunities; and build a sustainable peer support network. The project aims to bring together disabled people from a range of backgrounds, supporting them to understand the importance of democracy and representation. It will also allow individual beneficiaries to consider their own role in civic life, develop self-advocacy skills, and engage wider stakeholders and decision-makers such as MPs, peers and councillors.Dorset Art £47,125Dorset Arts Development is a social enterprise leading arts development in Dorset. The project will run a series of 8 workshops for young working class women and young women from the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community encouraging greater civic participation through role play and other creative methods and will develop a theatrical performance. This will then be performed at schools in Dorset. Participants will learn about each other, democracy and how to influence decision making.WILD Young Parents Project £25,890This project will benefit 50 young mums across Cornwall who will learn about democracy and the basics of campaigning through interactive workshops and matched with local politicians who will mentor and support them. At the end of the project young women will create artwork. The project aims to impact beneficiaries in a number of ways; improved understanding of democracy and voting, increased motivation to engage with local democracy, increased confidence and the children of beneficiaries will have their mums’ increased understanding of democracy passed on to them.Ashiana Community Project £20,000Ashiana Community Project is a charity based in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, that aims to improve the social, physical and economic wellbeing of local people. The project will provide research, archiving and film making workshops for 30 young women from BME backgrounds who are disengaged from politics and civic engagements. They will learn about the women’s suffrage movement and create short documentaries celebrating BME women in social movements. The films will be shown at community venues and through social media.Platform Thirty1 Limited £19,991.25####Platform Thirty1 Limited is a creative grassroots organisation in Derbyshire that develops participatory art projects. The project will deliver 14 sessions including public speaking training, ‘The Chamber’ where beneficiaries participate in a fictionalised parliamentary chamber as issue-based political parties of their own debating a bill and sessions creating art work on gender parity for a public exhibition in Ilkeston. A further £11,000 has been secured from other sources.Warrington Youth Club Limited £19,670Warrington Youth Club is a registered charity that delivers a range of projects for young people aged 7 to 25. The project has three distinct strands. ‘Girl Power’ has a programme of activities on the importance of voting and women’s involvement in history, politics and business for 220 young women in Carlisle with learning difficulties, mental health issues or in care. ‘Brave New World’ will deliver weekly sessions to 30 women with disabilities using creative methods to explore women’s rights then and now. The third strand is a celebratory event at Chester University to present participants’ opinions from the two parts of the project.Reform Radio Community Interest Company (Cic) £19,541Reform Radio CIC is a community voluntary organisation that uses industry standard radio to develop well networked socially active citizens. 40 young women from Gorton, Manchester will develop skills in digital content production and interviewing local politicians. They will broadcast their work on Reform Radio’s breakfast show and finish by producing a 30 minute documentary on their experiences for Reform Radio. A celebration event with local MPs will share their achievements and a social media campaign will stimulate debate.United Multi Cultural Centre £18,490United Multi Cultural Centre is a registered charity based in Rotherham supporting women to increase their participation in community life. This project will train 30 women to be advocates for female civic engagement in their communities, encouraging voting and participation. There will also be workshops on democracy and women’s political history. Participants will also visit their local Councillor’s surgeries, Rotherham Town Hall and Parliament to connect to how democracy works.Hounslow Action For Youth Association £18,000Hounslow Action for Youth Association is a registered charity for disadvantaged young people. “Agents For Change” weekly writing workshops run by award winning writers to better understand democracy and civic participation. They will also learn public speaking and presentation skills. They will present their work to local schools and youth centres to raise awareness of the issues faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller women. Their stories will be in an anthology to give a voice to marginalised women whose voices are often not heardTransform Training Ltd £17,393Transform Training Ltd is a registered charity based in Nottingham that works with young people with learning disabilities or mental health problems. A 12 week programme of activity for young people with disabilities will be delivered focusing on what it means to vote, why voting is important, the practicalities of voting, and how disabled young people can influence political change. They will create a new leaflet and online resource to encourage young people with learning disabilities to vote. They will use various media to raise issues that are important to them with local MPs.It’s Your Life £16,800It’s Your Life is a registered charity based in Tower Hamlets providing mentoring programmes. The project will increase BME women’s knowledge of UK democracy and it importance, covering how young people can register to vote, how the government and local democracy works, and the history of voting rights in the UK. The project will visit sites linked to the Suffrage movement as part of this. Participants will be awarded a certificate in ‘Understanding Government and Local Democracy’ at a celebration event and produce a tapestry depicting the women’s suffrage journey.Friends Of The Ipswich Museums £16,000Friends of the Ipswich Museums is a registered charity that supports all of the museums in Ipswich. ‘Women 100’ will show works by 100 women artists from Ipswich and Suffolk. Suffrage campaign workshops will explore why the suffrage campaigns were important and talks with young people will discuss democracy and voting. The project will produce a learning resource for local further education colleges.Blueprint 22 £15,425Blueprint 22 is a young people-led voluntary community group that delivers projects to 16 to 25 year old disabled, working class and LGBT young people with emotional and practical needs. The project provides research sessions, mentoring workshops and educational visits about politics and the political history of women to young women distanced from civic life, ending with a women’s weekend creative camp to produce an anthology of their learning through the project and celebrating their experiences of being women in 2018.First Step North East £15,240First Step North East is a registered charity based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne that delivers learning opportunities to BME women. The structured and accredited training programme of activities will build participants’ skills and knowledge, encouraging them to participate more fully in civic life and local decision making. It will examine the suffrage movement, gender parity and the barriers to engagement with themed workshops on ‘local women for local politics’ led by inspirational local women, and a Citizens Jury panel with invited speakers. The course will be documented on social media and finish with a celebration event.Xenia £2,864Xenia is a voluntary community group that helps women, many of whom are BME and/or speak English as a second language, to improve language skills and participate in activities. A series of workshops focus on women role models and political leaders, the centenary of women’s voting rights, learning and practicing the structure of how to debate, campaigning and volunteering, and practical guidance on how to respond to an open consultation exercise. Seventeen large projects have been awarded £406,667 to increase diversity in politics, the Minister for Women announced today.The new support, from a £1.5 million government fund, will back local projects supporting women and young people, especially disabled people, LGBT people and those from black and minority ethnic groups, to get involved in democracy and politics.The organisations will set up a range of programmes directly benefitting at least 2347 people – including making documentaries celebrating women’s involvement in social groups, participating in a mock House of Commons debate, and building a website encouraging people with learning disabilities to vote.Minister for Women, Victoria Atkins, said: the first ever statue of a woman in Parliament Square – Millicent Fawcett local events and activities in the Centenary Cities (seven cities and towns in England with a strong suffrage history) a suite of education programmes and resources that engage young people with democracy initiatives to encourage more people to participate in politics such as an Ask Her to Stand event for potential women politicians National events celebrating the centenary including: The Step up to Democracy project led by Saathi House who received around £68,972 earlier this year to offer training and political leadership programme for Bangladeshi and Pakistani women who want to become local leaders in three locations, Birmingham, Bradford and Keighley. The participants are currently halfway through the programme and, as part of their leadership training, will go on to mentor other women in their communities. 36 online centres across England which are hosting Voice Box Cafes between July and December 2018. This £124,311 project run by the Good Things Foundation provides sessions for excluded women to gain digital and campaigning skills. The Essex Diversity Project which is using their £60,025 grant to run events across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk from August to December 2018 celebrating the life of prominent suffragette Sophia Duleep Singh. The events include academic talks, creative writing workshops, a touring exhibition, a new theatre piece, and a women’s history conference. Around 10 have taken place already with a further dozen events planned. Cinema for All who has a £65,582 grant and is currently producing an archive film chronicling women’s political and civic lives over the past 100 years with local groups in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Merseyside and Country Durham. There will be screenings of the film from October to December to community groups in Liverpool, Preston, Durham, Sheffield and Huddersfield alongside a series of inspiring debates, discussions, celebration events, and a far-reaching social media campaign. National Trust which has opened the three exhibitions and outreach programmes supported by its £114,748 grant (Women & Industry at Cragside runs April to November 2018; Faces of Change at The Workhouse, Southwell runs end of April until August 2018 with workshops May-June with a homeless charity; Soapbox Dramas at Killerton House runs 8 July – 3 November 2018). Jacksons Lane’s project has a grant of £65,788 to work with 16-18 year old female students in Haringey from September to December developing three art installations showing women, politics and power in 1918, 2018 and 2118. The installations will host debates by young people on women in politics for those times. They have identified the three schools who will partner them in the project, recruited the participants and set up the workshops that start when schools return in early September. Young Women’s Trust has a grant of £58,350 and is running training courses in October and November for women aged 16-30 building practical skills and confidence to influence conversations at a local and national level. Feminist Archive has a grant of £50,780 to work with young rural working class women in the South West who are helping preserve the legacy of the women’s political movement by uncovering untold feminist narratives through digital learning and educational workshops. The touring exhibition of their discoveries opens in Glastonbury on 2 September. Notes to editors:The Women’s Votes Centenary Grant Scheme’s objectives are to fund projects that celebrate the centenary, encourage young people to engage with democracy and increase the number of women participating in politics. It has a total pot of £1.5 million and is administered by Ecorys UK in two funding streams for large and small projects.The final round of the Grant Scheme will run Tuesday 4th September to Tuesday 16 October and is for small events to celebrate the centenary, particularly the anniversaries of the Act allowing women to stand for Parliament (on 21 November) and the General Election of 1918 (on 14 December). The Scheme is particularly keen to encourage applications from eastern regions in England including the South East, East Midlands, East of England and North East as they are currently underrepresented.Further details can be found at the website for the grant schemePreviously, our grant scheme has awarded around £850,000 to 157 projects.149 inspiring grassroots events have received over £240,000 and 8 large national and regional projects have been awarded over £600,000The 8 large projects already funded by the Grant Scheme earlier this year include: the suffrage Processions this June in the four capital cities of the UK. the closing ceremony of the Great Exhibition of the North – the North Star Grant funding will directly benefit over 2000 people across the country Over £1.25 million so far this year awarded to projects marking the 100th anniversary of some women winning the right to vote Only 32% women MPs sit in the House of Commons The brave women who fought for the equal rights of women and men to vote must be honoured. Today we have the highest number of women in history sitting in the House of Commons. However, at only 32% women MPs we have a long way to go before we see true equality. By funding these innovative projects we will inspire women and young people across the country to become active participants in our democracy. We want to see a new generation of women raise their voices, get stuck in and see how they can make a difference in their local communities and across the country. This year, we are not just celebrating the achievements of the women who came before us – we are helping women here and now to take action to benefit the women of the next hundred years The grant scheme is part of a £5 million centenary fund to open politics to the public – celebrating the centenary, educating young people about its significance, and encouraging more women to get involved and have an equal voice in the decisions that affect them.The rest of the funding is being spent on:last_img read more