Leading the debate on the summer exams, highlighting the importance of women's sport & fighting for local, independent businesses - Weekly Update 16/10/2020
This week, as a member of the House of Commons Petitions Committee, I was pleased to lead a debate in Parliament on two petitions about this summer’s exam results. While these were petitions from England, this was a really important debate which allowed me to draw on my 9 years experience teaching in the North West of England and the work of the Welsh Labour Government, who are responsible for education in Wales. I want to thank all the students, parents, and teachers who have dealt phenomenally with this unprecedented situation and, in particular, to the students who have shown remarkable resilience. The lack of clarity around the whole situation has been hugely damaging to the mental health of students, who fear that the UK Government’s decisions will have a huge impact on their future lives. Our students have been severely impacted by 5 months of no in-person teaching, particularly in places where internet and IT resources are limited. Any teacher will tell you, 3 weeks’ catch up will not alleviate the situation. The UK Government needs to do much more to listen to those who, unlike them, understand what it is like to work within the comprehensive school system and put in place measures that will support them, rather than beat them down.
It was great to be able to intervene on a debate held on the UK Government's support for women’s rugby this week. Rugby is a fantastic sport for women and having visited West Swansea Hawks in Gowerton recently, I was amazed by the fantastic Covid-secure training sessions that they have managed to set up. All sport gives women confidence and is, of course, vital for their health and wellbeing, both physical and mental - but they often face more and different barriers to men in getting involved. It is incredibly important that sports clubs and organisations are supported to get back up and running (pun intended!) in a safe and secure way to allow people, and especially women, to resume participation in sport.
I was also able to speak again in the Wales Question session on Wednesday and tackled the UK Government on support for tourism and hospitality. Tourism and hospitality is the backbone of the economy of Gower. My constituent, Lara Joslin, who runs the King’s Head in Llangennith, is crying out for support to keep her family business alive. Her popular rural pub and accommodation, like many others in the area, provides a meeting space and entertainment for locals and visitors, and vital jobs for locals, both part-time and full-time, and custom for local suppliers. I asked the Secretary of State why he wasn’t pushing the Chancellor to ensure that adequate support means that strong, independent hospitality businesses like this are able to weather this storm to return to full strength once the pandemic is behind us.
There were two meaningful awareness events this week – we had the week ending yesterday for baby loss awareness and today it’s Wear Red Day for Show Racism the Red Card. Pregnancy and baby loss is a tragic reality for so many parents across the country and for too long, it’s been considered taboo and a private matter. The pandemic has compounded the sense of isolation for so many, but we must ensure that support is there for parents who experience terrible loss, both from professional services as well as friends and family.
As many of you must be aware, I am a big fan of sport – both getting out and playing and enjoying watching a game (usually rugby!). Racism has absolutely no place in sport - or society! - and I am disgusted whenever I see instances of racism both on and off the pitch. We must stamp out these vicious and vile attitudes with the help of educational organisations such as Show Racism the Red Card and teach our children to value the hearts and minds of those they meet rather than the way they look and the colour of their skin.
You can keep up to date with Welsh Government announcements and information on their dedicated coronavirus page. If you have any issues or concerns to raise with me as your local MP, please get in touch by emailing email@example.com or calling 01792 899025. My office is not open, my staff and I are working from home, but my email and phone are still being monitored and responded to and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Keep well and remember – and remember - observe social distancing, wash your hands regularly and keep Wales safe