North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt has praised Sandy Upper School, named last week by the DFE as England’s ‘most improved school’.

Sandy Upper, which Mr Burt has been visiting regularly in recent months, achieved the award for its performance in improving passes at A*- C grade GCSE by 27% in a year, the country’s best. The school achieved an 81% pass rate at that level, well outstripping the national rate of 53%.

Mr Burt said ‘Those who may not know the school cannot imagine the background to this past year, and just what an achievement this is.

Coming from special measures, then falling an innocent victim to the failings of the Barnfield Academy, the school was placed in a situation of limbo for far too long by indecision about its future from the DFE, which now seems to appreciate just what a success it has on its hands.

In all that time Principal Balraj Hare, the Chair of Governors, the staff and students turned around the school producing not just fine exam results but a degree of confidence amongst the students which has been excellent to observe.

This is an all-round achievement. I was very proud to attend the awards night recently and pay a tribute to the school, and appreciate that everyone there is determined to keep the improvement going.’

Mr Burt has now submitted a parliamentary question asking for a visit from Secretary of State Nicky Morgan, to see for herself.

‘Let’s see more designated as Assets of Community Value’

 

NE Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt met with Government Ministers Brandon Lewis and Kris Hopkins, to make the case for better protection for pubs in the planning process. As a result of a number of MPs pressure, the Government is to change the rules regarding panning permission for pubs designated as Assets of Community Value.

Read more: MP PUTS ON PRESSURE TO SAVE PUBS

As unemployment figures for NE Bedfordshire show another welcome monthly fall in January, MP Alistair Burt has looked back five years to illustrate the development of the local economy. Figures show encouraging and steep drops for all age groups.

Mr Burt said:-

‘Total JSA count in the constituency this month is 684, an unemployment rate of just 1.2%. Over the last year unemployment for both the 18-24 years olds and those over fifty has dropped by around 35%.

Read more: UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES FOR N.E. BEDFORDSHIRE SHOW DRAMATIC CHANGE OVER FIVE YEARS. CLAIMANT COUNT...

NE Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt is keeping up the pressure on train company Govia, which took over responsibility for Thameslink and Great Northern lines in the autumn. Concerns about performance since then, and especially over the Christmas period, has prompted a series of meetings with MPs.

 

Mr Burt took part in a meeting including the Secretary of State for Transport and there will be a further meeting with rail Minister Clare Perry within the next couple of weeks.

Read more: MP KEEPS UP PRESSURE ON GOVERNMENT AND TRAIN COMPANY

The Post Office has announced it is making some changes to two branches in the local area; Willington and Arlesey. Both have been earmarked for investment to help modernise them and improve the services they offer to residents.

 

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt said “I have been contacted directly by the Post Office, and I am interested to read of the plans for the two Post Offices.

Read more: Post Office Changes: MP seeks views

Following a meeting with Bedfordshire Special Constabulary Chief Officer Wayne Humberstone, North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt raised the issue of support given to them with Police Minister Mike Penning MP.

 

Speaking to the Minister in the House of Commons, Mr Burt praised the expansion and effectiveness of the special constabulary in Bedfordshire, and urged the Minister to encourage employers to allow employees to become ‘specials’ as their contribution to public service.

 

Mr Burt said: ‘I was very impressed with Mr Humberstone’s commitment to his officers and the part they play in effective crime fighting with the rest of Bedfordshire police. I was pleased to hear of the expansion of the force, their specialist technical units, and also their use from February of the Riseley police station to provide a stronger presence in the rural areas.

 

But specials need to recruit too, and I was pleased the Minister was strong in his support not only for them, but also for employers to be as generous as possible in encouraging employees to take part in this form of public service.

 

I look forward to going out with both specials and regular police officers over the next few months to see more of their work on the ground.’

North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt took part in an urgent Commons question time with Transport Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin MP as Parliament resumed this week. Mr Burt raised the concerns of constituents from Sandy, Biggleswade and Arlesey stations who could not access Kings Cross after Christmas due to overrunning engineering works.

 

Mr Burt said: ‘My constituents were rightly inconvenienced and very annoyed, and the anger expressed by them has been wholly justified. But they recognise that this was the biggest ever Christmas investment in engineering works, all designed to improve Kings Cross and passenger journeys coming into it.

 

Constituents, particularly those travelling at peak time, are paying heavily for their use of the railway, so I also made the point that whatever the inquiry found as to what had happened and why, to ensure disruption is minimised, we don’t want to stop such investment for the future. We do not want any sanction against Network Rail to hit investment. It is not the company providing public service that needs to pay a penalty, but those responsible for decisions need to be properly accountable.’