Stephen McPartland MP
Working hard for you
in Stevenage, Knebworth, Codicote, Datchworth and Aston

Stephen McPartland MP is urging local schools to apply for Pupil Premium Awards of up to £10,000.  These awards are available for schools that have done the most to boost the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.

Stephen said, "Every young person deserves the chance to benefit from a good education and it is especially important that poorer pupils have access to transforming educational opportunities. The Pupil Premium Awards provide direct recognition to schools that are doing the best for disadvantaged pupils and I am sure that our local schools are amongst the best."

The 2013 Pupil Premium Awards will celebrate the successes of schools throughout England that can demonstrate objectively how they have used the Pupil Premium to achieve a measurable advance in the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils (defined as those entitled to free school meals, or pupils who have been in public care for six months or more).

The best schools in every English region will gain recognition, and regional winners will be invited to a reception in London, where the overall prizes will be announced. Judging will be by an independent panel of education experts.

Closing date for entries is 17 April, and the final will be held on 26 June.

The 2013 Pupil Premium Awards are being delivered in partnership with TES: further details and applications are available on the Pupil Premium Awards website.

Around 35,693 people in Stevenage are benefitting from the biggest income tax cut in a generation this month, while an estimated 3,159 local people will have been lifted out of income tax altogether.

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage said, "This is fantastic news for local people as we try to keep down the cost of living. Local people are now paying £600 less in Income Tax than under the previous government as we reward those who want to get on in life by letting people keep more of the money they have worked hard to earn."

On 6th April 2013, Conservatives in Government are increasing the amount of money people can earn before paying any income tax to £9,440. 24 million people across Britain will pay up to £600 less income tax this year than in 2010. Together with our previous tax cuts, we will have taken 2.2 million of the lowest paid workers out of income tax altogether.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, joined students at the Da Vinci Studio School of Science and Engineering to see the top coat of the foundations being laid for the new building that will provide space for over 200 students together with more than 20 staff.

Stephen said, "Today is an incredible day as the school build comes together whilst offering pupils at the Da Vinci Studio School an opportunity to develop an interest in how their new school is assembled."

The new building will be a three-storey extension to the existing building at North Hertfordshire College and will be linked to the old building by glazed walkways, providing over 1,100 square metres of learning space.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland is supporting Cancer Research UK and the new Cell SliderTM website, which could help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

Stephen said, "At the moment the process of identifying certain molecules in cancer cells, which help scientists understand why people respond differently to cancer treatment, is very slow. I want to encourage everyone to take up the challenge to be a 'citizen scientist' and help analyse samples faster and more effectively. This will help free up the experts to carry out other cancer research, log on now to www.cellslider.net and help research beat cancer."

Cancer Research UK's Executive Director of Policy and Information, Sarah Woolnough, said: "Every step we make towards beating cancer relies on the support of the public, so we hope would-be 'citizen scientists' will really get behind this campaign. We're so pleased to have the support of Stephen with raising awareness, as there's still so much more we need to do to ensure no-one's life is cut short by cancer. But by boosting our ability to analyse data quickly with the help of 'citizen scientists', our world-class research teams will be able to develop better ways to prevent, control and cure the disease and help save many more lives."

Cell SliderTM comes as predictions show that the number of people with cancer in the UK is set to rise steeply by 2030. Every hour, more than three people in the East of England are diagnosed with cancer. More than half a million images have already been analysed.

Local MP Stephen McPartland dropped in to support The Christie Charity Day activities at Barclays Bank in Stevenage town centre.

All proceeds raised are in aid of the charity and some of the team at Barclays are planning to climb Kilimanjaro later this year to raise more funds.

Dr Rachel Turner was raped in Barbados in late 2010, only weeks after moving to the island to take up a research post at the University of the West Indies. Rachel's parents are my constituents and met with me to share their concerns that Rachel's rapist had not been caught.  Both they and Rachel believe the Police in Barbados have swept the issue under the carpet and are understandably angry. The Police did arrest a local man who spent 18 months in jail and was acquitted after Rachel and another British national both stated he was not their attacker. However, they had told the Police in Barbados this from the beginning but they did not listen and now refuse to reopen the case to find the real rapist.

Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, said "I am very concerned the disgusting criminal that raped Rachel has not been caught and the Police in Barbados do not seem to be trying to find such a dangerous person. It is absolutely unbelievable that they convicted someone when Rachel clearly explained that it was not the person who raped her - surely that would give cause for reasonable doubt. The person convicted and set free due to Rachel's brave decision to come forward has had a miscarriage of justice, but Rachel has had no justice. I am disgusted by the refusal of the authorities in Barbados to reopen the case and find the rapist. The Foreign Office should update their travel advice and make it clear that Barbados is not a safe place to travel and warn British tourists to stay away. Maybe, then the authorities in Barbados will make the Police reopen the case and find this rapist."

A massive Easter Egg made by Le Mare Chocolate is being raffled by Gladleys Deli with all proceeds going to Greenside School in Shephall.  Liz Kettley of Gladleys Deli, Middle Row just off the High Street, has organised the raffle along with Mick Le Mare of Le Mare Chocolat, based in Walkern Road.

Stephen McPartland, Member of Parliament for Stevenage, said, "It is such a great cause and shows what a wonderful community spirit we have here in Stevenage. I am delighted to be drawing the winning ticket."

Tickets are £1 a go, and are available until Easter from Gladleys Deli when the winning ticket will be drawn by Stephen McPartland MP in time for the winner to enjoy the egg on Easter Sunday.

This is a fantastic budget for local people, which helps families and those who are trying to get on in life.

We are putting money back into people's pockets by cutting taxes and letting people keep more of their wages. Increasing the amount you can earn before you pay tax from £6,500 to £10,000 next year is worth around £700 extra a year in your pay packet. Travelling to work will be easier as fuel duty has been frozen again and it is now 13 pence a litre lower than Labour planned, council tax has been frozen again and we can all celebrate with a penny off a pint and the beer duty escalator has been scrapped.

Helping families with the costs of childcare and the massive opportunities available under Right to Buy and Help to Buy schemes will mean every family has a chance to own their own home.

I am proud that this budget helps families and builds on the massive £280 million infrastructure investment I have secured from the government for our local schools, hospital, housing and jobs. More people are in work than before the General Election in the UK and with over 95% of people employed in Stevenage our area continues to lead the way out of these difficult economic times.

Hertfordshire County Council marked the start of National Apprenticeships Week by introducing some of the apprentices working with the council’s Health and Community Services to MP Stephen McPartland who visited HCC’s Farnham House offices in Stevenage.

Stephen said: “I visited Hertfordshire County Council to learn about their long experience of employing apprentices and I was very impressed with the apprentices I met and the council’s commitment. It’s clear that apprentices are bedded into their teams and well supported. We have over 800 apprentices in Stevenage - it’s doubled in the last couple of years - and I’m trying to ensure our young people know there is another option to university, everything from apprentice rocket scientists to apprentice social care staff, that lead to great careers locally."

Colette Wyatt-Lowe, Cabinet member for Health & Adult Care, said: “Since our adult social care apprenticeship scheme was launched in 2005 we’ve had 65 apprentices and 64 of them are still working in social care - many for the county council and others for providers around the county. The workforce is getting older and we want to future-proof our social care service and encourage people to consider social care as a career.”

The apprenticeship lasts for one year, with training provided by the Goldsmith Centre at HCC's Stevenage site, and includes studying for a Level 2 qualification credit framework diploma in social care.

Stephen McPartland also learned about HCC's Level 5 Higher Apprenticeships Programme. “We are one of the first employers in Hertfordshire to introduce the Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in care leadership and management for a broad spectrum of staff from services for older and physically disabled people, people with learning disabilities and supported living, explained Denise McMurray, head of HCS workforce development. “Unlike a traditional apprenticeship this programme is not restricted to an age group or employee category and it’s aimed at future-proofing our workforce to develop Hertfordshire leaders and managers of the future.”

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