Vision for Children
As a mother of four children, I am inspired by them and my first priority is to ensure that their future is secure. This means protecting the environment and passing them a world that is clean and safe. It also means ensuring that they have the skills required to have a successful life, both in terms of their academic education, life skills and ensuring that the economy is strong enough for them to make a good career, bring up their own family and contribute to their communities.
For Mid Dorset and Poole this means:
- Maintaining the current network of children's centres and youth clubs
- Investing in play parks and leisure activities
- Increasing the provision of nursery and pre-school education, providing free provision for all 2yr old and above, and ensuring that there is low cost wraparound care at schools and in the school holidays for families to use
- Fighting for fairer funding for schools in Dorset and Poole so every child has the same opportunities in their school, ensuring that all children are taught in a “good” school and that the attainment gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children is eliminated
- Fighting for pupil premium to be extended to yr13 so that young people do not face a cliff edge in their support
- Working with social services to ensure that children in need and in social care have the same opportunities as those living with their natural families. I also want to campaign for better family support so children can remain or return to their families and parents are given coaching and support to improve their parenting skills
- Continuing the campaign for a new maternity hospital so that our children get the best possible start in life
- Campaigning for funds to upgrade Beaucroft Special School in Colehill, and Langside school in Poole
- Improving the health and wellbeing of children by increasing the level of sport and physical activity, promoting bikeability and walking buses and healthy eating
- Introducing universal free school meals to all children in the Primary Phase of school and maintaining free fruit and milk for infants
- Investing in CAMHS and child bereavement service
- Pushing for NHS funding for children's hospices including our own Julia's House.
Vision for Young People
When I was young I felt that there was nothing I could not do. I quickly came down to earth when I realised that due to financial and family constraints, I would not be travelling on VSO, going to university or changing the world. I want my children to have every opportunity and not feel held back because of our family background.
I left home at 19 when I was working full time and managed to save for a deposit on a house with my then fiancé. I thought about going to university as a mature student and studied for an additional A level to improve my chances but never did this, instead taking the vocational route through the building society and then on into financial advice.
In Mid Dorset and Poole, I will work to:
- Ensure that our schools and colleges are offering a wide curriculum to a very high standard and that young people are offered full GCSE and A Level courses and that young people have higher education, apprenticeships and vocational options discussed wherever they are at school
- Introduce the UK Youth Parliament Curriculum for Life or extended PSHE in all schools along with some form of Employability (like that offered by Young Enterprise that I have mentored in since 2007)
- Encourage sport, including team, individual and competitive options to maintain a healthy lifestyle
- Introduce free travel to school or college for 16-18yr old young people who would previously have qualified for free travel before 16
- Increase the number of employers offering apprenticeships across the board from level 2 foundation programmes up to level 4&5 professional courses
- Encourage the building of affordable homes on brownfield sites for rent and ownership and where homes need to be built in smaller communities ensure there is sufficient public transport and community facilities to maintain a sustainable community.
Nationally, the Lib Dems will go even further to remove the barriers that unfairly hold back young people. We will give every young person a two thirds discount on their bus travel; create more new apprenticeships; protect education budgets from nursery to 19, and put mental health on an equal footing with physical health. To make sure that all governments listen to the voices of young people, we will give 16 year olds the right to vote in all UK elections.
This would mean;
- More apprenticeships. More people have started an apprenticeship in this Parliament than ever before. But it isn’t enough: as we grow our economy we need to make sure there are opportunities for every single young person to get the skills and experience they need to get on. We want it to be the absolute norm for all businesses to take on and train up young people as apprentices: that’s why we will increase the number of apprenticeships and improve their quality, expanding opportunity in every sector, and every part of the country.
- Two thirds off bus travel. We will work to introduce a new Young Person’s Discount Card for people aged between 16 and 21, cutting the cost of a bus ticket or bus pass to just a third of the standard fare. This will help everyone who relies on public transport: it will get more people onto buses and help keep more bus routes going, especially in rural areas.
- Transforming children and young people’s mental health services. Children and young people who are suffering from mental health problems - from eating disorders to behavioural problems - need help fast, or their whole lives can be affected. We will transform the NHS’s “CAMHS” service for children and adolescent mental health, ensuring children and young people can get high quality care, close to home, where they can stay in touch with family and friends. We’ll build a mental health culture into our schools, too, helping young people develop their mental resilience as an integral part of their education.