• Oxfordshire School Building Expansions at Risk after New Funding Cuts
    With more than 5000 children already in temporary classrooms in Oxfordshire and an expected shortfall of around 1000 school places in the next two years, a funding gap of beyond £19m will have devastating effects on our children's schooling experience and the state of our schools We fear existing classrooms will be evermore cramped, increasing clutter, noise and stress levels. Where extensions have become un-fundable temporary classrooms might provide short term relief. But their cost can be up to a third of a new build, with an up to ten times shorter lifespan – not a good investment. And who is picking up the bill for exorbitant heating costs of temporary provisions? We fear some children will have to travel further where there is no space at their local or preferred school, breaking up friends groups, and generating costs where transport has to be provided, and traffic and pollution where it isn't. And it's not only classrooms that are affected - what will our expanding schools look like if halls - now deemed non-essential - are turned into classrooms, and new builds and conversions scrapped? School lunches in cramped classrooms, no room for PE in winter, no assemblies, no nativity play, no school community. With former play areas and sport fields sold off to generate funding or blocked by temporary classrooms, where are our future champions coming from, and where do our kids recharge their batteries to excel in their next lesson? Leaking roofs, crumbling walls and cramped conditions give a strong message to any school community: We don’t care about you. But as parents and voters we do care, and the state of our schools says a lot about the value we as a society place on our children's education - I would like my children to think that their school, and their learning, matters not only to me, but also to their government. Please convince us that it does. Below a list of schools at risk, with expansions scheduled between 20014-18 (source: Oxford Times, 21st of Jan): Bletchingdon Parochial CofE School Caldecott Primary School, Abingdon Charlton Primary School, Wantage Cutteslowe Primary School, Oxford Deddington CofE Primary School Faringdon Infant School and Junior School Fir Tree Junior School, Wallingford Frank Wise School, Banbury Grove CofE Primary School Hanwell Fields Community School, Banbury Harriers Banbury Academy Hill View Primary School, Banbury Hill View Primary School, Banbury Hook Norton Primary School John Hampden Primary School, Thame John Watson Special School, Wheatley Larkrise Primary School, Oxford Longfields Primary School and Nursery, Bicester Mabel Pritchard Special School, Oxford Marcham Primary School Matthew Arnold School, Cumnor Hill Queensway Primary School, Banbury St Christopher’s CofE Primary School, Oxford St Ebbe’s CofE Primary School St Francis CofE Primary School, Oxford St Gregory the Great Catholic School, Oxford St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Oxford St Michael’s CofE Primary School, Steventon St Swithun’s CofE Primary School, Kennington Watchfield Primary School William Fletcher Primary School, Yarnton Windmill Primary School, Oxford Wolvercote Primary School, Oxford Woodstock CofE Primary School
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  • Let People Power determine Privatisation of Public Services
    Public sector organisations belong to the public and should not be sold off to private interests without consulting those who currently own them, and have funded them so far. Privatisation outcomes so far have rarely been to our profit or benefit.
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  • End ATOS from continuing their Work Capability Assessments
    Figures released by the government in July 2012 showed that 10600 people died within 6 weeks of stopping claiming ESA. Campaigners believe that the majority of the 10600 who ceased claiming and subsequently passed away were found fit to work by ATOS. It is unacceptable that the management of ATOS are pressuring assessors to fail so many claimants and deny them the benefits they are dependent on and entitled to rather than accurately asses the ability of claimants to work. Ultimately campaigners are calling for fairer treatment of all benefit claimants, especially the disabled and chronically and terminally ill.
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    Created by Bill McIntosh Picture
  • Cancel the Work Capability Assessments
    The government is discriminating the ill, disabled, mentally illl and those with Learning Difficulties by using unfair tactics.
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  • Stop Osbornes bid to end democracy by the back door!
    It looks like the gagging bill is a precursor to this Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership that the U S is trying to push through and are pressing Osborne and Co to sign up before the next General Election because once it has been signed it becomes irreversible whoever gets elected. A pure piece of Evil and the end of Democracy as we know it, multi-national corporations will rule and control us all if this succeeds.
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    Created by Geoff Burtenshaw
  • Hands off London Transport
    The Tube, as a public service, should be affordable, accessible, safe, and reliable. Removing station staff will hinder accessibility and safety. Closing ticket offices will remove a valued customer service.
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  • Fracking and the Water Bill
    Fracking is a potential environmental hazard. It is unjust that the public purse would be used for any environmental damage as a result of Fracking companies activities and not the companies themselves or an external Insurance organisation.
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  • Hands off Brighton's Pavilion Gardens, please
    These proposals are a callous and cynical attempt to radically change the green heart of Brighton, an area dearly loved by all Firstly I don't think John Nash envisaged a cafe just off New Road so forget the 'return to the Regency' feeble attempt to win us over. Secondly the proposals seem to be concentrated in the area at the back of the Pavilion between the Corn Exchange, Museum and New Road which is the area most lucrative for both the Pavilion and the Museum. The Pavilion Cafe within the grounds is due to be demolished. The Cafe is privately owned and since the 1920's has provided tea and cakes for grateful walkers,strollers and families etc , My grandson had his first encounter with one of their fearsome rock cakes in 2001 almost bigger than he, a healthy option!.The Pavilion Cafe is up to be demolished and for what,?So that another cafe can be built there Thirdly Do the plans involve the area to the front of the Pavilion, which are underused and have no immediate or apparent fiscal value at the moment. Finally , but I'm sure there will be others if this petition is supported . It seems to me that this is a selfish and money making proposal, entered into without any regard for the people of Brighton. I did complete the survey created by BHCC,I was stopped by a council worker as I strolled through the gardens , he told me that this wasn't really his job, he just worked as a general handyman,but that he and his colleagues had been told by BHCC that this is what they would be doing that morning. I'm not sure that this survey was conducted with any real intentions of gathering information and whether the information gathered covers a broad enough spectrum of the population to have any value.
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  • Stop the British Government joining the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
    Investor-state rules could be used to smash any attempt to save the NHS from corporate control, to re-regulate the banks and to curb the greed of the energy companies, to name just a few areas. See here for more details: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/04/us-trade-deal-full-frontal-assault-on-democracy The rules are not enforced by courts but by panels. The hearings are held in secret. The judges are corporate lawyers, many of whom work for companies of the kind whose cases they hear. Citizens and communities affected by their decisions have no legal standing. There is no right of appeal on the merits of the case. Yet they can overthrow the sovereignty of parliaments and the rulings of supreme courts.
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  • Fair pensions for Gurkhas
    To prevent the mass hunger strike planned for 7th November. After all haven't they served this country over the years when the British Government has needed to call on their services.
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  • Stop Govt selling our confidential medical records and ID
    Kevin Donovan of Defend the NHS says the following: You may have read in the press or online (or more likely may not have heard) about the major health data collection exercise which the government has initiated. Under changes to legislation, your GP can now be required to upload personal and identifiable information from the medical record of every patient in England to central computer servers at the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Once this information leaves your GP practice, your doctor will no longer be in control of what data is passed on or to whom. And private companies will be able to buy your information for just £1 (ONE pound!). This information will include diagnoses, investigations, treatments and referrals as well as other things you may have shared with your doctor including your weight, alcohol consumption, smoking and family history. Each piece of information will made identifiable by uploading it along with your NHS number, date of birth, post code, gender and ethnicity. Health data has always been collected* but this time it’s different. NHS England – the body now in charge of commissioning primary care services across England – will manage and use the information extracted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre for a range of purposes, none of which are to do with your direct medical care. These ‘secondary uses’ include patient-level tracking and monitoring, audit, business planning and contract management. Why should we worry? It seems clear that one hidden purpose of this exercise is to lubricate the galloping ‘marketisation’ of our health service, for example to allow health insurance companies to make huge profits from cherry-picking low risk patients for health cover. Over time, and as in the USA, if we can’t afford a health insurance premium (which is very likely if we are poorer and/or have any condition which may be expensive to treat) we won’t get free access at the point of need to medical care. It’s a nightmare! GPs’ hands are tied. They have been told it’s an offence not to provide the data. But patients can choose not to do so. How? Read these articles. In paragraph 4 you can download an opt-out letter for you to complete and use (template opt out letters for patients to use). http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/your-practice/practice-topics/it/eight-weeks-to-inform-patients-their-data-is-going-to-be-harvested-gps-warned/20004562.article#.UlF8er5wbmR http://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out/ http://opendemocracy.net/ournhs/phil-booth/your-medical-data-on-sale-for-pound http://medconfidential.org/2013/nhs-9-who-gets-to-see-your-information/ We doubt that many people know what’s happening – especially older patients and/or those without Internet access – so please distribute this information widely to your contacts and urge them to take action NOW. It’s OUR NHS not the government’s to sell off to their friends in the City. Thanks
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  • URGENT CROSS PARTY REVIEW OF CHANGES IN EDUCATION
    We believe that the actions of the current Government to implement very significant changes to the funding of schools by undermining and cutting out Local Authorities are leading to a centralisation of power, an undermining of democratic accountability and will greatly increase the costs of running schools through the lack of economies of scale and the pool of expertise which these Authorities provided. Far from being 'free' from Local Authority control schools are, in reality, in danger of losing Local Authority support - their expertise in finances, HR, legal issues, etc represents support delivered in a cost effective way and timely way. We deplore the Governments ideological approach to the question of education and its attitude towards professionals within the educational field. Above all we denounce the failure of the Secretary of State to listen to the opinions of senior educators, Trade Unions and parents. The Secretary of State for Education fails at every count to listen to others and we deplore the vision he has for education as outdated, undesirable and unworkable. His arrogant attitude has led to the tearing up of a Primary Curriculum agreed by the teaching professions, Government, Locals Authorities and parents and the proposal of a new secondary national curriculum opposed by his own advisers which then had to be completely revised. Furthermore changes mean that some 'state' schools now require a uniform costing over £200 and his proposals regarding free school meals will prejudice some small schools. These concerns are echoed by expert opinions such as those which follow below: The freedoms he claims are available only to free schools actually apply to state schools. But since he hardly ever visits ‘bog standard’ schools, he wouldn’t know that many of them buzz with innovation. The one freedom available to free schools, which no sane school leader would want, is the right to employ unqualified teachers ………It’s time Mr Gove came clean about his real agenda. One he does know is that free schools are ripe for takeover by global businesses seeking to make a profit from education.” (Dr Mary Bousted General Secretary, Assoc. of Teachers and Lecturers) “Gove wants us to believe that he is driven by a desire to get more children “to succeed academically.” I have never met a teacher who did not want children to succeed academically, but teachers know that there is a lot more to education than narrow academic success. The secretary of state has ridden roughshod over the views of parents, the concerns of teachers and the advice of academics.” (Brian Boyd. Emeritus Prof. Of Education) “If free schools are doing well (except for some!) because they are free from local authority control and can decide things for themselves, does that mean that Gove will now introduce a bill bringing the national curriculum to an end, instead of extending it, as he currently proposes, even including pressure on how to teach phonics ? The National Curriculum does not have to be taught in free schools or academies, anyway, so why impose it on local authority schools?” (Prof. Norman Thomas, St Albans)
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