The reform of the benefit system in our country is long overdue, and the introduction of Universal Credit was planned to simplify a complex system and guarantee that work pays and having a job is better than a life on benefits.
However, instead of improving things, the government has created a system which is not fit for purpose. Universal Credit, which merges six benefits and tax credits into one, is supposed to be flexible, making it easier for people to move into a job, cope with periods of insecure employment and ensure in-work payments for low-income families.
It’s nearly the end of the school term, when children and teachers can take stock of a busy year and look forward to the summer holidays.
I was delighted to be invited back to Stockport Academy in Cheadle Heath to hear about the students’ achievements over the year, which are truly impressive. They put in so much hard work and are a real credit to the excellent teaching and learning at the Academy.
Parking around schools is a big issue for parents, headteachers and indeed neighbours. I receive complaints about drivers causing obstruction and parking inconsiderately at school drop-off and pick-up times. Occasionally this can lead to angry words being exchanged between neighbours and drivers or parents. More importantly, there is a huge worry that a child could be injured outside their school while trying to cross the road.
Enquiring with the council recently, I have heard how difficult it can be to recruit school crossing patrol officers – or lollipop ladies/men as we used to call them. It can be a very satisfying job, just a couple of hours a day paid above the national minimum wage. But it seems that there are several local primary schools with vacancies – despite poster adverts in schools and on the council website.