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“Unacceptable” how schools engaged in political party messaging says MP Henry Smith

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Crawley MP Henry Smith has said that schools that used publicly funded resources to send out party political messages of how parents should vote is “unacceptable”.

Following comments Mr Smith made to the national press he said:

“It’s unacceptable for school’s to use publicly funded resources to send out party political messages of how parents should vote.

Robust debate on the future of education is an important and emotive subject but pretending to be impartial and then promoting a political message written by the unions using taxpayer funding on official school letterheads is both against the law and misleading. Especially when Crawley school’s are set to receive one of the highest increases in funding nationally.”

But what is it all about?

Under the Local Government Act any council run school including the head teacher is not allowed to use their resources to promote any party thus swaying peoples opinion in the run up to a vote.

This act is in place during what is called ‘purdah’ and is the time between when an election is announced and the actual polling day.

Prime Minister Theresa May called the general election on the 18th April this year and the very next day some schools started to send out messages including Crawleys St Wilfrids who tweeted:

But Mr Smiths comments were directed to 3,000 schools across 14 counties that also engaged with their parents.

 

Crawley Lib Dem Chair Marko Scepanovic responded to Mr Smiths comments:

“Schools have a right and a duty to protect their students, and informing parents of a lack of resources or potential damage by existing government policy falls under that. Any parent would want to know if their children’s education is being impacted by a shortage of funds.

This has been an ongoing debate within Crawley since long before the General Election was called.”

“It seems Henry is more interested in complaining about a school’s right to free speech rather than dealing with the actual problem of school funding. As a former pupil of St Wilfrids, I trust that the school does only what is in their students best interests.”

“It’s a sad state of affairs when a local MP decides to attack a local schools reputation for speaking out against a lack of funding. Perhaps Henry should instead focus his anger on his own party, who have given away £1bn to the DUP. This is money which could have helped with school funding.”

Mr Smith also pointed out in an article in the Daily Mail that Crawley schools would pick up an extra £5.7million under a funding shake-up.

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council said:

“Henry smith has been a member of the education team for the last two years over which period he has repeatedly claimed to stand by our schools without any evidence of improvement to their funding.

Schools aren’t wrong to point out the difficulties they are facing and he would better placed trying to resolve those funding issues than complaining about teachers standing by their kids.”

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Conservatives

Exact money or contactless ONLY says Metrobus

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Metrobus passengers are urged to pay by mobile phone or contactless instead of cash when they board.

Metrobus has announced its drivers will not be able to give out change to those paying by cash from Wednesday 15 April. 

The decision has been made to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

A spokesperson for Metrobus said:

“The bus company would like everybody to pay using the correct money or – better still – to use contactless or mobile phones instead.”

The decision comes as a new timetable is introduced this weekend.

The revised timetable, which was produced in consultation with local councils, continues to honour Metrobus’ commitment to maintaining journeys for key workers, particularly on bus routes serving hospitals. 

Metrobus has also retimed Monday to Friday journeys on route 430 so buses arrive earlier at East Surrey Hospital, after feedback from NHS staff.


Here are the main timetable changes:

•             Route 1 – a revised timetable will be introduced on this service.

•             Route 3 – a revised timetable will be introduced for Sundays – with the 1812 and 2026 departures from Crawley withdrawn and the 2024 departure from Gatwick withdrawn. Further changes to the previous revised timetable for Monday to Saturdays.

•             Route 11 – will not operate.

•             Routes 51, 61 and 65 – will no longer operate on Saturdays. Revised timetables will be introduced for Monday to Fridays.

•             Route 93 and 98 – further changes will occur on these services.

•             Fastway 100 and Route 200 – revised timetables will be introduced on these services.

•             Route 420 and 460 – revised timetables will be introduced on these services.

•             Route 430  – first journey Mondays to Fridays has been retimed to arrive earlier at East Surrey Hospital. No other changes.

•             Route 480 – will operate on Saturday and Sundays only. The Monday to Friday service will not operate.

•             Route 820 – will not operate.

You can find all the detailed, most up-to-date timetable information here.

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