Paul Blomfield MP

A strong voice for Sheffield Central

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The Budget is dominating the news this week and I’ll be in the Commons Chamber on Wednesday, to see how the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, tries to square the circle of conflicting demands within his party – and, without any expectations, to see if he comes up with anything to tackle the big problems facing the country after seven years of austerity. 

Before then, Brexit continues to dominate my agenda, as it will until Christmas, with the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. On Tuesday, I will be back at the despatch box as Shadow Brexit Minister, pressing Labour’s amendments to include the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the ‘Francovich’ rule in UK law post-Brexit – to prevent diluting human rights protections.

Away from Brexit, I’ll be hosting and speaking at an event organised by the Russell Group of universities on improving access – and, on the same theme, meeting the Director of Fair Access to Higher Education. I’ll also be holding a meeting with the Regional Director of CBI, supporting an event to mark White Ribbon Day to end violence against women and catching up with colleagues at FLEX, a charity on labour exploitation of which I’m a trustee.

After that, I’ll head back to Sheffield and, on Thursday evening, I’ll be talking at the monthly meeting of our local Labour party. On Friday, I’m joining an event to mark Carers’ Rights Day, as an Ambassador for Sheffield Carers’ Centre and Patron of Sheffield Young Carers’ Group. I’ll also be visiting Park Hill to discuss the next phase of the development with Urban Splash and catching up with local councillors before holding one of my regular surgeries with constituents.

On Saturday I will be out campaigning with local Labour members on the alternative approach that we would have taken to the Budget, before heading on to Bramall Lane to see United take on Birmingham City. 

The Budget, Access to HE, White Ribbon Day, Carers’ Rights and Brexit - some of my week ahead

The Budget is dominating the news this week and I’ll be in the Commons Chamber on Wednesday, to see how the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, tries to square the circle of...

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After a mini-recess, during which I visited the West Bank with a group from Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine, Parliament’s back today and Brexit dominates my week. As a Shadow Minister for Exiting the EU, I’ll be in the Commons this afternoon for an update from David Davis on the latest round of negotiations. Then tomorrow I’ll be leading for Labour on the first day of debating the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which has finally reached the Committee Stage in which it gets detailed consideration - with the many amendments that have been tabled.

With the disarray in Government, they have had to repeatedly delay bringing this Bill back to the Commons. We have set out our objections to the Bill and have tabled a number of amendments to repair it – read more here. Alongside this, I’ll be spending two days arguing Labour’s case on the Committee for another piece of Brexit legislation: the Nuclear Safeguards Bill.

But I’ll be taking up other issues too – starting with Universal Credit. This afternoon I’ll be pressing concerns to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the 40% repayment rate for advance payments, just one of the many implementation problems of UC, and on Wednesday I’ll be meeting with the Minister to raise concerns about the impact of its roll out on supported housing.

Also this week, I’ll be at a Lloyd’s Bank Foundation reception celebrating small and medium-sized charities – to catch up with representatives from Sheffield Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, a great local charity that I fundraised for though my annual International Women’s Day event – and, on Wednesday, I’ll be hosting a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Students.

Back in Sheffield on Friday, I’m meeting with the Head Teacher at King Edwards’ School, the Regional Director of the Jewish Leadership Council, and a ME & Fibromyalgia Group to hear about their members’ experiences and issues. I’ll be visiting Freeman College, for 16-25 year-olds with learning difficulties, where I’ll meet students for a Q&A. Then I’ll join other Sheffield MPs for a briefing on Special Educational Needs funding and finish up at a meeting with the Council to discuss the funding crisis they are facing as a result of further Government cuts. On Saturday, I will attend the AGM of the Shine Health Academy to talk about their work tackling childhood obesity.  

Brexit, Universal Credit, SEN funding and childhood obesity – some of my week ahead

  After a mini-recess, during which I visited the West Bank with a group from Sheffield Labour Friends of Palestine, Parliament’s back today and Brexit dominates my week. As a...

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I questioned the Education Minister today on concerns students raised with me as part of my 2017 Big Conversation, about the transition away from coursework to exam-only assessments.

As part of the Big Conversation, I visited a number of secondary schools across Sheffield Central meeting with Y12 and Y13 students, who raised their concerns about the move from assessment involving coursework to dependence on final closed exams.

I conveyed their concerns to the House of Commons, telling Education Minister, Nick Gibb MP:

“I recently held meetings with Year 12 and Year 13 students in schools across my constituency and one of the issues that concerned them all was the move away from coursework to closed exams, believing that it provides an incomplete assessment of their abilities; discriminates against those unwell on the day of an exam and is a contributory pressure in growing mental health problems. Will the Minister look at their concerns?”

I was disappointed that the Minister didn’t engage with the concerns of students in Sheffield schools. They raised real issues which deserve a proper answer. I’ll continue to push Ministers to take their points seriously.

Sheffield students’ exam concerns raised with Minister

  I questioned the Education Minister today on concerns students raised with me as part of my 2017 Big Conversation, about the transition away from coursework to exam-only assessments.


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