I have been a governor of Milton Park School for the last 6 years. Having worked as a lay school inspector for Ofsted, I am passionate about education and believe that a good education is key to everybody’s life chances. If we get the education system right, children will be equipped for the career that they chose and good teaching is absolutely crucial. I have invited the University Technical College team to look at setting up a college in Portsmouth and discussions are ongoing at present. This would add to our education for young people who may want to pursue a more practical route into work.
Teaching is a vocation and very hard work. The teachers at Milton Park are in school by 7.30am and rarely leave before 6pm or later often continuing work at home, this is the case in most schools where teachers are engaged with their work. We need to make sure that the right people enter the teaching profession and that they have a continual programme of professional development.
I also recommend being a governor which is a fantastic job if you are interested in education and making a difference to some amazing children
The National Health Service.
I used to be board member of Healthwatch having been a member of the Community Health Council in its previous role. Everyone uses the National Health Service and everyone has an opinion. I have lived in Australia and the United States and knows how important a free health service is. We are incredibly lucky to live in a society which provides free healthcare at the point of use.
There are definitely improvements that can be made and I know that organisations like Healthwatch will be the public’s watchdog on the NHS and put patients at the heart of the service.
My father and grandfather were both soldiers and my father-in-law was in the Royal Navy. I was in the Intelligence Corps of the Territorial Army in my 20's. Our armed forces deserve the best equipment and training that we can provide for all our commitments both in the UK and abroad.
I am delighted that the Prime Minister has shown his commitment to Portsmouth as the home of the Royal Navy and we will be receiving the aircraft carriers shortly. I really recommend joining the Reserves, it opens up all sorts of skills and interests that can be used in your civilian career too.
Care for our most vulnerable
I am very pleased that this Government bought in the ‘triple lock’ that means that state pensions go up annually at either 2.5%, the rate of inflation or wages. This is very important to ensure that pensioners are not left behind. I also support the Prime Minister’s commitment to keeping winter fuel allowance, free bus passes and free TV licences for the over 75’s. My recent survey of pensioners show that you also overwhelmingly support this policy.
What I am concerned about is that many elderly people (and other age groups) suffer from isolation particularly as families are more mobile or are working and have little time to support each other. I am doing research to find out how common this is in Portsmouth and Southsea and will be finding ways of helping. If you feel lonely or have any ideas on how to help, please contact me.
Safety in our community
Crime is going down but it doesn’t always feel that way when you read the papers or are a victim of crime. My family and I were burgled in Southsea while we slept and we know the consequences of feeling unsafe in your own home. We do need more visible policing, I support the hard work of the Community Support Officers and Community Wardens who know their areas and trouble spots well. I was really proud to be able to introduce some of our PSCO's and Community Wardens to the Home Secretary recently and they were able to let her know what a valuable job they are doing. We must ensure that residential areas such as Palmerston Road do not become areas of anti-social behaviour in the evenings and people feel safe to go out in the evenings.
I will be campaigning for more victim support, sometimes it is not in the immediate aftermath of a crime that you need help but further down the line. Our police force and community workers do an excellent job and we must make sure that it is targeted effectively.
I am also campaigning to stop some of our local shops selling 'legal highs'. These are largely untested drugs and people do not know what substances they contain. They can be extremely dangerous and can lead to death and psychiatric problems.
One of the biggest topics on the doorstep is immigration. This government has reduced immigration by a third so far and is putting in tough measures to make sure that only people who wish to work and contribute to our community enter our country. We have made sure that our welfare benefits are no longer so attractive to immigrants and have allowed councils to put residency rules into place so that local people have first choice of council housing.
I am aware how hard most of our immigrants work and we need to make sure that those that have become British citizens are integrated into our community. I am setting up an English conversation group to encourage those who want to improve their confidence in speaking to help them integrate better. I need volunteers to help me with this project so please contact me if you are interested.