The St Hugh’s WOW factor

This week I visited the innovative WOW room at St Hugh’s Primary School. The WOW room, short for ‘world of wonder’ is a space, which brings learning to life by transporting pupils to outer space, a rain forest, an ocean, or a desert.

The WOW room works by using LED lighting, surround sound, and giant scale wall projection to create immersive learning enviroments related to whatever the children are studying.

The system is designed so teachers and pupils can create their own virtual environments and is used right across the curriculum, from science to history, geography and English.

Unlocking the talent and potential of each and every young person is at the heart of Labour’s vision for education and the WOW! room is an example of the fresh approach to learning, that has been possible, thanks to the historic investment in education, provided by successive Labour governments.

Since 1997, Labour has transformed education; young people are achieving some of the best ever results and we have more than doubled investment in education from £30 billion in 1997 to £73.3 billion in 2008/09.

Visit to Newsham Pre School

I was delighted to visit local nursery, Newsham Pre School. The Boaler Street day nursery is a voluntary community Pre School, funded by the Local Education Authority – providing early years education.

The nursery recently received a good report from Ofsted after many improvements over the last few years. I met staff and children at the school and was impressed with the undivided attention given to the children.

My visit to Newsham came just after the recent announcement that Labour will extend its commitment to providing free nursery places to children from the age of two, to ensure they are well prepared when they begin school. Up to £1billion will be invested; this is another example of the type of investment Labour is offering, as opposed to the savage cuts that would come from a Conservative government.

Labour has undertaken the biggest expansion in early years education since 1945; investing £25 billion since 1997. We cannot afford to put this at risk. I wholeheartedly support continued investment in Pre School education throughout Liverpool, which I believe is absolutely essential to give children the best possible start in life.

Full support for Alder Hey plan

I was pleased to visit Alder Hey and hear about the exciting plans for its future. Alder Hey is the largest paediatric hospital in Europe, serving over 7 million young people every year and providing world-class treatment to over 250,000 patients.

However, some of the hospital’s current buildings need to be modernised. The A&E is separated from operating suites by an uphill corridor, which means children needing urgent surgery have to be pushed along a busy public corridor, usually with distressed parents running behind. By 2015 the current buildings will be unable to handle growing needs – which is why the Alder Hey Children’s Health Park has been proposed.

Labour’s commitment to the NHS means that this project will be the first Children’s Health Park anywhere in Europe, and will become a flagship for the NHS on the world stage. The full cost of the project will be £288m, and the aim is to complete the new hospital in time for the hospital’s centenary celebrations in October 2014.

This investment is vital to ensure that Alder Hey continues to provide excellent treatment to so many young people.

As Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Wavertree, I will:

  • Offer my full support to the Alder Hey Children’s Health Park Plan;
  • Promote the scheme to senior government ministers to ensure the project remains on track;
  • Generate public support in the Constituency for what is an iconic proposal;
  • Encourage other Merseyside MPs and parliamentary candidates to support continuing improvement and investment in Alder Hey.

Outreach projects play a vital role in our community

As your Labour candidate for Wavertree it has been of utmost importance to me to find out more about the local community projects that make our community such a strong one.  As part of this commitment I paid a visit to the Al-Ghazali Centre in Earle Street.

The Al-Ghazali Arab Cultural and Education Youth Club works to ensure Arab young people do not remain excluded and marginalised in Liverpool, increasing their self-confidence and self-esteem, allowing them to reach their full potential, whilst not losing their cultural identity.

This is a predominantly volunteer run project operating on a budget of just £200,000 a year and its commitment to detached youth workers and the youth community is invaluable.  With over 20 staff it provides a number of essential services such as ESOL (English for speakers of other languages), youth groups, karate groups, and specific support for young women. 

Around 770 people use the centre every week and I have pledged my support to help further the development of this important organisation.  I recognise the vital role that third sector organisations such as the Al-Ghazali Centre play  in our community and how crucial it is that they are supported.

My pledge to voters on student fees

Today I signed a pledge to voters that if elected, I will vote against any increase in university tuition fees in the next parliament. Students from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Hope University joined me to discuss their concerns about tuition fees and to witness me sign the pledge.

The NUS pledge which I signed reads: 

“I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament, and to put pressure on the Government to introduce a fairer alternative to variable top-up fees.”

I believe that access to university should be about a student’s ability, not their ability to pay.

As a known campaigner against the introduction of top-up fees in 2004, I want to see a funding mechanism for higher education which ensures that students aren’t put off applying to university because of expensive up front costs.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that a resounding 88% of the public believe the current review of university fees should not even consider raising the cost. I would support a funding system that enables university graduates to give back after they complete their courses, according to how much they earn.

This is an issue that affects not only students thinking about applying to university, but their parents and grandparents too. I want the people of Wavertree to know that I am determined to ensure that every young person has a fair chance to go to university.

Visit to Venture Housing Association with Secretary of State for Local Communities

Communities Secretary John Denham MP joined me for a visit Kensington-based housing association Venture, where we met a number of local tenants.

I was egger to visit, having heard about some of the fabulous work that Venture do, empowering tenants to work together.I was keen to see first hand how tenants were involved in decision making and learn from the experiences of local residents. 

Housing is especially close to me, as one of my top priorities for the area.

Wavertree’s Choice

Luciana Berger has been selected by Liverpool Wavertree Labour Party to be their Prospective Parliamentary  Candidate

Luciana said:

“Having moved to Liverpool last year, I’m proud to have been selected as Labour’s candidate. The campaign starts here to keep Liverpool Wavertree Labour. Jane Kennedy has served as this constituency’s MP with great pride and passion and I know she has found it a tremendous privilege to represent Liverpool Wavertree for more than 18 years. Jane will be a hard act to follow but I’m determined to make Labour’s campaign a success.  I will be fighting on the issues that matter to all the people of Wavertree and I look forward to serving the local community.”

“Labour is determined to secure growth not choke off recovery and protect the great investment that’s been made in our schools, the NHS and the Police. In this year’s election there’s a big choice between Labour or a Tory Government who threaten all the good work that’s been done in this city during the last 12 years. Sadly the Lib Dem Council has been branded the ‘worst council in the country’ and opportunities have already been missed. I’m determined that Liverpool Wavertree has the Labour voice it needs standing up and fighting for a fair deal for all.”

James Noakes, vice chairman of Liverpool Wavertree Labour Party, said:
“We’re delighted the members have selected Luciana and I’m confident that whenever the election comes Labour now has the best candidate for Liverpool Wavertree, who will give us fresh leadership and great enthusiasm. Labour has taken the right choices to support the economy, helping businesses and families in Liverpool Wavertree through the downturn. At the General Election people have a choice: Luciana will stand up and fight for a fair deal for all in Liverpool Wavertree.”