The Grove Academy: A Crucial Educational Resource

The Grove Academy provides a crucial educational resource for young people in Harrogate. It is an essential facility for students who for one reason or another have difficulties with mainstream education. Ofsted rate the Grove as “outstanding”. So why should it be under threat of closure? Why should all the senior staff be expecting to leave in the New Year?

The answer is that alternative education provision needs a higher level of staff per pupil than mainstream schools – in other words, it is more expensive.
What better target for Tory cuts! A vital social resource, crucial to the lives of young people who may have had a difficult start in life, staffed by highly experienced teachers providing an excellent eduction.

The result is a planned reduction in provision at just the time when increasing numbers are being excluded from school and the Grove could be their last chance.
The Council need to think again and Labour would enhance rather than reduce the chances for our young people.

My first campaigning experience – Emma Jackson

I’m not the most outgoing of people so when my local Labour group requested people to go out knocking on doors, I hesitated. Could I talk to strangers about politics? Did I know enough about current issues to answer any questions? Would people be hostile and unfriendly?

Then I saw on the local Labour Facebook group that there was some campaign training happening so I went along to that. Everyone was welcoming and encouraging. I was told I would be able to partner up with a more experienced member the first time to learn the ropes. The evening was interesting and informative, I left feeling a bit more confident but still with a few worries about how it’d be.

Campaign day arrived and I met up with other members to knock on doors in Knaresborough. There was a short brief at the start from Sam (CLP Secretary) and we separated into groups. Margaret (CLP Chair) kindly let me tag along with her. It was cold but not raining so with everyone wrapped up, we set off.

We had a clipboard with all the information we needed. A map of the area we were campaigning, questions to ask, people’s names etc. I hung back as we approached the first house, watched how Margaret introduced herself and asked the questions. The first few houses went ok. People had varying issues they were interested in both locally and nationally. Some were labour voters, some not. Some had time to talk, others didn’t want to.

After we’d done a few houses we split up to cover more area. I approached my first solo house and knocked on the door. An old woman with a dog answered. I petted the dog and asked my questions. She was undecided and we talked about her worries about the NHS. She said she relies on the NHS more and more as she gets older and didn’t know what she’d do without it. I felt pleased I could tell her how much Labour values the NHS and that it’d be properly funded under a Labour government. It was nice to chat with her and hear what issues concerned her.

Not everyone was as friendly but no one was aggressive or hostile. Sometimes someone would answer the door with ‘I’m not voting for Labour’ and close the door. On to the next door then!

I realised that there was nothing to be scared of. Behind every door there was just a person with worries about the country, just like me. Different worries maybe but just thinking that stopped me feeling nervous and I started to enjoy it. I met lots of different people and had some interesting chats with them.

We all met up at the end to hand in our clipboards and notes. We compared stories and chatted a bit. It was nice to feel part of a team all working towards the same goal. I felt proud to be wearing a Labour rosette and glad that I’d come along to help. I won’t hesitate in the future to go out campaigning because if we want the UK to be better for all of us we’ve all got to work towards it.

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