As we continue to follow the restrictions imposed on us by Covid, we are all getting used to meeting people remotely. Conference calls and virtual meetings have become so important and enable us all to stay in touch both for work purposes and also with family and friends.
I have taken part in many virtual meetings, conferences and webinars over the last few months both in Parliament and in the Moorlands and was pleased recently to host my first virtual Ministerial visit to the Moorlands.
I had originally invited the Minister for Children & Families, Vicky Ford MP to visit Horton Lodge Community Special School in person but because of the pandemic this has not been possible so a virtual visit instead was arranged. The Minister joined headteacher Sarah Latham and Andrew Shaw, CEO of the Talentum Learning Trust to hear all about this unique school that offers such fantastic care.
I am a strong supporter of Horton Lodge, and all our special needs schools. They provide a bespoke education for children with very specific needs, but, because the work they do is unique, they don’t fit easily into the funding structures of the Department of Education. Putting these schools on a long-term sustainable financial footing is one of my priorities.
Following the Ministerial visit, I also arranged a meeting with Staffordshire County Council and am grateful to the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet member responsible for Education and SEND for making time to discuss this important issue.
I also held a virtual call with Hollinsclough School this week. Both its location and style of learning means that Hollinsclough faces challenges that are not faced by others. I have worked closely with the school and its leaders for many years and will continue to fight for the support it needs to thrive.