Powers to parents and governors over ofsted inspections

Parents or Govenors should have the ability to trigger an Ofsted inspection if at least 25% sign a petition and present it to the Department for Education, according to UKIP’s North East Euro MP, Jonathan Arnott.

Arnott, a former Maths teacher, made the claim as Nick Hudson, the regional director for Ofsted, criticised the poor performance of secondary schools in the North-East.

Hudson said that children in the region ‘deserve better’ with Ofsted revealing that nearly a third of schools are failing students.

UKIP’s local MEP, Jonathan Arnott, said “Parents and governors should have the ability to trigger an Ofsted inspection if they feel the standards are slipping at their local comprehensive school. Ofsted have said that standards of schools in the region are dropping, yet, they still only venture into our schools when it suits their own blueprint”.

Ofsted’s Chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw recently announced that schools rated ‘good’ may still have to wait for up to three years for another inspection, and inspectors are now likely to be at the school for a shorter period of time.

Last year, across England more than 800 schools which had previously been identified as ‘good’ had “slipped back” into a lower grading.

“A lot can change in a school in at least three years, and recent figures show that many schools across the country have slipped lower than Ofsted’s ‘good’ rating. We talk about moving power away from the establishment; giving parents or governors the ability to trigger a school inspection would go some way in achieving that” added Arnott.

Divert funding from vanity University degrees to apprenticeships says Jonathan Arnott MEP

 – UKIP MEP gives examples of degrees at Newcastle University where funding should be scrapped

 – States that funds should be used to boost apprenticeships for ‘real world experience’

Funding for vanity degrees should be scrapped, and money saved should be invested into apprenticeships in the region to cut a ‘chronic skills shortage’, claims UKIP’s North East Euro MP, Jonathan Arnott.

It comes after business leaders across the North East have hit out at plans by the government to divert funds away from training providers, giving businesses control of funding their own apprenticeship schemes.

Earlier this week, findings revealed by global recruitment firm Manpower showed that UK-based businesses were hiring Portuguese bricklayers on £1,000 a week wages because of a skills shortage in Britain.

Arnott, Newcastle’s local Euro MP, said “We have a chronic skills shortage in our region and far more needs to be done to help develop valuable skills for our young people. Newcastle University are currently offering £27,000 degrees in ‘Folk and Traditional Music’ and ‘Countryside Management’, quite frankly, funding for these vanity degrees should be scrapped, and money saved should be invested into even more apprenticeships in our region”.

Mr Arnott also highlighted the £27,000 classroom-based ‘Rural Studies’ degree, which Newcastle University states is ‘ideal if you enjoy the outdoors’, calling the qualification a ‘complete madness’: “The inside of a city classroom is hardly the best place to learn about rural areas”.

“By making this change it is likely that the cost of a university degree would decrease, as fewer would be funded by the taxpayer. We currently have an education system based on wealth and not on ability. No enough is being done to ensure that the brightest brains from the poorest backgrounds have exactly the same opportunity to succeed as the richest in society” added Arnott.

Support for legal high ban

MEP Jonathan Arnott is backing calls by the Centre for Social Justice for so called ‘legal high’ party drugs to be banned.

Mr Arnott, who has long been a vociferous opponent of these dangerous drugs, spoke out after new figures showed the number of deaths linked to them has increased eightfold in three years.

Think-tank, CSJ is asking the Government to implement legislation similar to laws introduced in Ireland in 2010.

The move would mean that some 200 ‘head shops’, which offer a range of drug paraphernalia, would close.

“Former drugs minister Norman Baker was supporting a blanket ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of such psychoactive substances but he has since left the Home Office so that may well have been kicked into the long grass,” said Mr Arnott, the North East’s Euro MP.

“Well it is too important to be side lined; young people are continuing to lose their lives or end up hospitalised because of these ‘legal highs’ and the government must act.

“I am not a supporter of imposing blanket bans restricting people’s liberties but this is an exception to that rule. It is necessary because otherwise the manufacturers just change the chemical composition to get round specific bans.

“We have a problem with drugs generally in this country, mainly, but not exclusively, with young people and we must do more by way of education to deter them dallying with danger which can easily lead to long term addiction,” he added.


Shocking new figures show Labour have zero credibility on zero hour contracts

Labour have ‘zero credibility’ on zero hour contracts according to UKIP’s North East Euro MP, Jonathan Arnott, after new figures revealed that Darlington Borough Council employs nearly 400 staff members on either a casual master or zero hour contract.

The figures were accurate as of the 20th October 2014, and were released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Last year, figures released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggested that the national figure for zero hours contracts could be approximately 1 million. Pro rata, that would indicate an estimate of circa 39,000 North East workers on zero hour contracts.

Jonathan Arnott, Darlington’s local Euro MP, said “The Labour politicians which lead Darlington Council should feel completely and utterly ashamed. These shocking statistics are prevalent not only in our region, but in Labour-led councils right across the country.

“I do understand that these contracts can be a necessary evil for some small businesses, which are not yet at the stage where they can gauge the amount of work required from one week to the next.  But big corporations, which our political class cosy up to, use zero hour contracts on a basis which can often lead to the exploitation of workers.“

A recent study by Durham University graduate Marjorie Libourel found the use of zero hour contracts disrupts family life, leads to higher divorces rates, and problems for child care and holiday arrangements.

She argued that the lack of stability for on demand employees makes it difficult to budget and plan finances in the long term.

Arnott continued “As leader of the Labour Party, Blair promised that a Labour government would see an end to zero hour contracts. Twenty years on, Labour MP’s and Labour-led councils are still using them collectively in their thousands. As a party, Labour have zero credibility on zero hour contracts. All talk, no substance.”


Jonathan Arnott MEP learns about the ways in which food bank organisations help those in need across the North East

UKIP’s North East MEP, Jonathan Arnott, visited Hartlepool Tesco last week to learn more about the partnership between the supermarket chain and the Trussel Trust, and make a food donation.
Tesco is the first national supermarket to partner with foodbanks for what was their fifth collection. The supermarket has also pledged to ‘top-up’ food donations by 30%, to provide longer term support to Trussell Trust foodbanks and Fareshare.
Arnott said “It is devastating that in the North East, we have one of the most used foodbanks in the UK, as well as over 25,000 people seeking support by the Trussel Trust’s Gateshead, Newcastle East and Newcastle West End food banks alone.
“A massively overcomplicated benefits system and low incomes are forcing more people, who are desperately in need, to turn to foodbanks. We need a more accessible and flexible benefits system, so people are able to understand easily what support they are entitled to receive. We also need to lift those who are on the minimum wage out of income tax altogether. These two policies alone would go a significant distance in helping those who are in need across the North East”.

UKIP open North East campaign HQ

UKIP’s deputy leader, Paul Nuttall MEP, declared that Blyth Valley would be a ‘two horse race’ between Labour and UKIP in next year’s general election.

Mr Nutall, the North West’s Euro MP, travelled to the constituency yesterday to open UKIP’s North East campaign HQ and constituent advice centre in Blyth’s town centre.

UKIP were within touching distance of winning throughout Northumberland in May’s European elections, coming 300 votes off top spot.

In an interview earlier this year, UKIP’s North East MEP, Jonathan Arnott, said that it was ‘objective to say that the Labour party has been complacent in the North East’, and that he had a ‘gut instinct’ that UKIP could do well in Blyth valley.

Following the launch, Mr Nuttall, said “We are going to take the fight to Labour in this constituency. Labour’s ‘anti-UKIP’ smear machine will, in no doubt, be in full swing in Blyth Valley right up until May next year. UKIP want to keep the NHS free at the point of delivery, we want to scrap the bedroom tax, and we want to scrap tax on minimum wage jobs. It is no wonder that hard working people are flocking to UKIP in their droves”.

 Cllr Barry Elliott, UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Blyth Valley, has pledged to open another two constituent advice centres in Cramlington and Seaton Delaval, if elected as the constituency’s MP next May. 

Mr Elliott said “We in this constituency feel completely neglected by Labour, and have done for a number of years. UKIP are offering a positive vision for working class people who feel left behind by the cosy chumocracy which fill the green seats of Westminster. Labour have let us down time and time again, and we in the North East want a change”.