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MP Phil Wilson has pledged his support to a petition set up by three students from Greenfield College in Newton Aycliffe demanding a fairer exam system for English Language and English Literature GCSE.

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Aidan Wong (15), Melissa Foster (16), and Christine Davis (15) recently discovered that whilst state schools had to sit the new English GCSE, which is subject to 100% examination, independent schools can now opt to do the new International GCSE which retains a 40% course work component. The students, who were outraged at the disparity which they believe gives an unfair advantage to students at independent schools, launched their petition to try bring about change. They want everyone in England to know about the inherent unfairness in the new system, and hope people will sign their petition.

Their plight certainly caught the attention of local MP Phil Wilson, who was appalled by the differences between GCSE English in state and independent schools.

Mr Wilson said “All I want is for young people is , regardless of the type of school they attend, to be on a level playing field and have an equal opportunity to succeed.”

“The difference between the GSCE English which state schools have no choice but to teach, and the International GCSE which independent schools can opt to do, creates disparity and inequality in our education system, and that is totally unacceptable.’

Mr Wilson is therefore, asking for as many people as possible to sign Aidan, Melissa, and Christine’s petition.

A spokesperson for the students told the Newton News “We aren’t attempting to make it worse for Independent Schools, we are simply trying to make it the same for English State Schools.”

“Signing the petition is a small step to achieving equality in education.”

Head Teacher David Priestley told the Newton News “We are proud of these young people who are seeking support to challenge an injustice. The new English GCSE qualification appear flawed when only state schools in England have to do 100% final examinations with the rest of the UK and the independent sector retaining some element of course work in their examinations.”

Please sign the petition here.

MP and students call for fairer English GCSE exam system in England

MP Phil Wilson has pledged his support to a petition set up by three students from Greenfield College in Newton Aycliffe demanding a fairer exam system for English Language and...

Keir Starmer, Shadow Minister for Leaving the EU visited the North East on Friday to speak with local people and businesses about what Brexit means to them.

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Joined by local MP Phil Wilson and Darlington MP Jenny Chapman, Mr Starmer’s first stop was in Newton Aycliffe where he visited the new Hitachi factory. This was followed by a round table with local businesses, the TUC, and North East MEP Jude Kirton-Darling at the XCEL Centre in Newton Aycliffe. The purpose, of which, was to provides businesses with the opportunity to inform Mr Starmer what Brexit meant to their businesses and what they hoped Brexit would be.

From the discussion came two messages from businesses, the first was that there is little appetite for hard Brexit, the second being the need for certainty in the coming months and years. Businesses were clear, they want to know what to expect from the Government’s Brexit negotiations, so they can plan for the future.

Following the round-table, there was a quick visit to Steam Machine Brewery in Newton Aycliffe, where owner Nick Smith, a former Chemistry Teacher, said that the fall in the pound has raked up costs. An example of which, is the 50% price rise for plastic kegs imported from Holland, which the Steam Machine use. The final stop of Mr Starmer’s visit was in Darlington, where he met with local members to again discuss what Brexit means to them.

Whilst Mr Starmer is adamant he respects and accepts the outcome of the referendum, he was unrelenting in his demand for the Government to provide more clarity on their position. A demand the Government yesterday bowed to, as they announced they would publish a plan before Article 50 is triggered, starting the legal process of leaving the EU.

Speaking to the Northern Echo on Friday, Keir Starmer said;

‘We need a reality check here.’

‘In 120 days from now Article 50 will be triggered and the Government will begin negotiating our exit from the EU.’

‘They are veering from one position to another, but they are running out of time.’

‘They need to settle their plan and then disclose it.’

‘There are two very different futures that could follow from the Government’s starting position.’

‘One is that hard Brexit, more extreme Brexit, which would be very damaging to the economy; the other is to favour a more collaborative and cooperative approach.’

Adding to this, Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said;

‘It is important that we know what Brexit means to our constituents and to businesses to ensure we get the Brexit they want, and the Brexit that works for them.’

‘This is no easy task, but the Government’s inability to make a decision, and the constant flip-flopping is not making the process any easier.’

‘Businesses want clarity. They want to know what to expect, so they can plan for it.’

 

**Mr Wilson is holding a Brexit surgery on Friday 9th December between 3pm – 6pm. If you would like to make an appointment please call 01325 321603 or email hannah.siddle@parliament.uk if you are unable to make the surgery but would like to share your opinion on the issue of the UK leaving the EU with Mr Wilson, please complete the following survey https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XR7KLCM **

‘What does Brexit mean to you?’ asks Keir Starmer asks the North East

Keir Starmer, Shadow Minister for Leaving the EU visited the North East on Friday to speak with local people and businesses about what Brexit means to them.

On Friday, MP Phil Wilson visited Stream Machine Brewing Co situated in the Newton Aycliffe industrial estate.

Visiting as part of the Small Business Saturday initiative, which highlights the success of small businesses, Mr Wilson was blown away by Steam Machine owners Nick and Gulen.

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The couple only set up the business last year, and have since gone from strength to strength. And with things going full steam ahead, Steam Machine have already had to move to a larger property to accommodate increased production.

With a diverse range of 9 beers, Steam Machine supply their craft beers to over 60 venues in the North East alone, and supply bottles and recyclable kegs to as far away as Plymouth.

In addition to this, Nick and Gulen opened a Brew Room earlier this year, creating a social space for locals to come in and enjoy the hand crafted beer on offer, including the Steam Machine weekly specials.

Speaking after the visit Phil said ‘It is great to see a local business experiencing such success.’

 ‘I think we are very lucky to have such a fantastic business in the area, and I hope they continue to go from strength to strength.’

‘What Nick and Gulen have created is completely unique in the area. The business, the beer, their hospitality is fantastic. I look forward to sampling a couple more of their beers in the near future!’

Small Business Saturday unearths Aycliffe’s hidden gem

On Friday, MP Phil Wilson visited Stream Machine Brewing Co situated in the Newton Aycliffe industrial estate. Visiting as part of the Small Business Saturday initiative, which highlights the success...


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