Last week I held my first adjournment debate on teacher recruitment and retention. I raised issues around training, treatment of agency workers, workload, meeting demand for teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the imbalance of numbers in training and those leaving the profession. Most importantly we need to value teaching more to solve these problems; morale is low as workloads are increasing and ultimately this insecurity is stifling opportunities for young people. We need to work with teachers to ensure these challenges of retention are overcome and attract new teachers into training.
I have submitted a number of Questions on Mental health. In Sheffield, waiting times for talking therapies are increasing and are double the national average. I plan to meet with the directors of NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), I know they are working hard to meet the challenges and promote good mental health and wellbeing but clearly this is a very concerning issue.
I'm also speaking in the Education and Adoption Bill today on the Government's measures to forcibly academise hundreds of schools across the country. I believe this flies in the face of evidence that academisation improves schools - the crisis we are facing in teacher recruitment and retention, as well as in school places will not go away simply by changing the structure of schools.
This week I'll also be meeting with a lobby of some of my constituents on Palestinian human rights, an issue I've campaigned on for many years and I'll be taking part in a debate on the CPS given the pressures it is under thanks to the Government's excessive cuts to the justice system.
I will also be meeting the Federation of Small Businesses. Small businesses are vital to our national economy, especially important in Sheffield too, they form a huge part of our local economy. I look forward to hearing their ideas on how we can support them and work together.
This week we will have new statistics on Child Poverty in Britain. Charities are warning that these are set to be the biggest rise in a generation. With the bedroom tax, benefit cuts and sanctions being blamed for the increase and the low pay economy having an input too we are in danger of being trapped on a downward spiral on child poverty, with more benefit cuts to come I think it is vital to listen to the charities who see the consequences of changes to benefits. Government action is required to give every child the right to live in a warm home with a good educational opportunities and never having to go hungry. This issue is global, and I will be meeting with Action Aid and Save the Children this week who work around the world on this matter.
On Thursday I am looking forward to a talk by Bill Gates on “Parliament's role in Post-2015 Development”. The Gates Foundation does great work on helping people round the world and I am looking forward to hearing his thoughts.
I also hope to attend meetings and events with the Campaign for Real Ale, Childcare vouchers association, representatives of the thalidomide campaign, Oxfam and the Target Ovarian Cancer Campaign.