Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Today we had a meeting of the County Children's Services Committee, of which I am Vice Chairman. A Bedfordshire Youth Cabinet Member gave a presentation on Project X which was well received by the Committee members.

In 2007 the Youth Parliament received a £50,000 grant for transport tokens to enable young people to travel to out of school activities. Now they are campaigning for permanent discounted or free travel for young people in Bedfordshire. During Local Democracy Week the Youth Cabinet obtained 2,200 signatures in support of their campaign and are now lobbying councillors, council officers, bus companies and MPs to progress their campaign.

Bedfordshire is in the Top 10 for low truancy in its schools as rated by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Bedfordshire was ranked 9th out of 150 local authorities for unauthorised absence by pupils for secondary schools with a rate of 0.81%, and is also in the top 10 local authorities for attendance.

Next week marks Bedfordshire County Council's Anti-Bullying Week, in support of Ntional Anti-Bullying Week with a series of exciting events to raise awareness of the impact of bullying on young people:

Monday 17 November - Launch of a double decker Anti-Bullying Bus at John Bunyan Upper School, Bedford with Bedfordshire Students Against Bullying.
Tuesday 18 November - Be Kind and Make a Difference Day. Children from 2 schools will watch a showing of 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea' at the Grove Theatre, Bedford - this book was a favourite one with my 2 daughters when they were young.
Wednesday 19 November - Anti-Bullying Conference for 100 people from schools, national and local government and local groups to raise awareness of the problem of builling and explore positive ways to deal with its effects in Silsoe
Anti-Bullying Idol Competition in Flitwick, hosted by Chiltern FM for young people from 9 Upper and Special Schools show off their musical, dance and drama talents.
Thursday 20 November - Anti Bullying Superhero Competition. The winners,aged 9-12, of a competition held in 20 libraries will receive prizes for their amazing artwork to design an anti-bullying superhero at Flitwick Library.
Friday 21 November - Anti-Bullying Idol Competition. Chiltern FM will host an event for young people from 9 Middle Schools to display their musical, dance and drama talents before a judging panel.

I am strongly in favour of Anti-Bullying Week. Last year I advised a young girl who had stopped attending her local school due to persistent bullying. Fortunately I was able to find her an alternative school where she could make new friends and continue her education free from the fear of bullying.

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