Tag Archives: lord storey

Mike Storey: young people’s lives are too important to ignore mental health services in schools

Lord Storey
Lord Storey

Mike Storey, Lib Dem Education Spokesperson, hosted a debate in the Lords yesterday on mental health services in schools and colleges. He opened the debate saying:

I think that this is the fourth or fifth time in almost as many days that we have talked about mental health, which perhaps shows how important the matter is to your Lordships and that there is a need for action. No doubt there has been and will be repetition in what we all say but, again, that tells me how important the issue is. I also put on record my thanks to the numerous organisations that feel passionately about the issue and have sent a whole series of briefings.

Despite having one of the most advanced health systems in the world, child health outcomes in the UK, including for mental health, are among the poorest. Just 6% of the NHS budget for mental health is spent on children and young people. I know we have heard them on a number of occasions in the various Questions and debates, but we should remind ourselves of some of the facts. One in 10 children and young people aged five to 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, which equates to three children in every classroom. One in every 12 to 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm, and nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression. Alarmingly, all these figures are on the increase. Yet despite these figures, a freedom of information request from YoungMinds sent to every NHS clinical commissioning group and every upper-tier local authority in England found that 74 out of 96 NHS clinical commissioning groups have frozen or cut their CAMHS budgets in the last two years, while 56 out of 101 local authorities in England that supplied information to YoungMinds have cut or frozen their budgets, or increased them by less than inflation, during the same period. We ignore the situation at our peril.

Continue reading Mike Storey: young people’s lives are too important to ignore mental health services in schools

Letter of the Lords – 26 January 2015

This week’s newsletter on the work of the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords


To subscribe to this email please contact davidm.shaw@parliament.uk


Letter of the Lords – 19 January 2015

This week’s newsletter on the work of the Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords


To subscribe to this email please contact davidm.shaw@parliament.uk


Mike Storey: Qualified teachers and a national curriculum (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Storey
Lord Storey

“We are, and always will, be the party of education”. So Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said in his speech at Bloomberg last Monday. This is indeed what the Liberal Democrats stand for, and it’s not just an empty sound bite. The policies we pledge to adopt will be to ensure that school pupils will have the right to be taught by qualified teachers and taught a core curriculum – a truly national curriculum.

The recent ‘Trojan Horse’ controversy has shocked the national conscience. It highlighted that some schools ran a risk of depriving children of an all-rounded and fair education. Academies and free schools are based on the concept of autonomy, but this should not mean that children should suffer because of particular interests. Some schools that did have discretion over their curriculum were abusing that by stripping back the curriculum and narrowing the experience of schooling for every young child. Action needs to be taken to ensure children’s futures are not put at risk.

Full article here

Lord Mike Storey: It’s time to protect children from emotional abuse (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Storey
Lord Storey

Yesterday, in a Speech from the Throne, the Queen announced that the Government will take forward measures to tackle child neglect. Quite simply, this is a momentous achievement.

I am proud to have supported Action for Children’s campaign to update the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, alongside other Liberal Democrat colleagues including Mark Williams MP and Annette Brooke MP.

The criminal law should be able to protect children from all forms of abuse. For too long we have viewed non-physical harm of children as less serious than physical harm.

In the 81 years since this law was drafted, our understanding of the harm caused by emotional abuse has developed significantly. We know that emotional abuse can have devastating, life-long consequences for children leading to mental health problems and in the most severe cases it can lead to suicide later in life.

Full story here

Lord Mike Storey: The Children and Families Bill is a Lib Dem win

The House of Lords will tomorrow have its final day of the Children and Familes Bill at Report Stage. As Lord Mike Storey, who has led for the Lib Dems on the Bill, writes here, it is a Lib Dem Bill through and through and one which everybody in the party should be proud of

Lord Storey
Lord Storey

TOMORROW sees the final day of the Report Stage of the Children and Families Bill in the House of Lords. This Bill has been a long process and so I wanted to use this opportunity to explain some of the great things we have achieved in the Bill which Liberal Democrats can be proud to support.

I should start by saying that, at its very core, this is a Lib Dem Bill. The main provisions of the Bill come out of Sarah Teather’s time as Children’s Minister, it was added to by Jo Swinson and Vince Cable, and MPs and peers in Parliament have been able to improve it even further.

I want to focus on the many changes Lib Dem peers have made to the Bill, but before I do it’s worth mentioning that the main aim of the legislation is to fundamentally reform the way we treat children and young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN). Under the Bill, for the very first time, these young people will receive a package of support which brings together an assessment of their educational, health and social care needs into one support plan delivered by local authorities, called an EHC Plan.  For any parent with children with SEN who has had to wage war on all these different fronts, with different officials and bureaucratic processes, this change cannot come soon enough.

The Bill also overhauls our adoption and fostering system to make it easier to children and young people to be adopted into loving families, and introduces the Lib Dem flagship policy of shared parental leave – so that families can choose how they split their time, rather than the outdated assumption which is currently made that women will stay at home to look after the kids.

Continue reading Lord Mike Storey: The Children and Families Bill is a Lib Dem win

Lord Mike Storey: Learning from our languishing PISA results

Today in the Lords there was a debate on the contribution of high-quality education to economic growth. Lib Dem peer and former headteacher Lord Mike Storey, who spoke in the debate, says this week’s disappointing PISA figures should give everyone food for thought

Lord Storey
Lord Storey

Today I spoke in a debate on the contribution of high-quality education to economic growth, which is particularly pertinent considering that whilst the PM is currently negotiating trade deals in China, news of the PISA results show that British children are lagging behind their Chinese counterparts, educationally. The results illustrate that the UK may lose out in the global economic race unless we begin to focus on giving our children the highly sought-after skills that will be necessary for their future careers and the country’s future economic prospects.

It sounds blindingly obvious, but countries that prepare their children for the jobs of the future will come out on top. As well as teaching modern languages at a young age, one such skill UK schools need to get to grips with is computer coding (which will be introduced via the National Curriculum next September). This is commendable, but we also have to consider how such teaching will be delivered. I suggest that instead of lambasting schools for not improving PISA results from three years ago, we should instead encompass broad aspects from international education systems into our own. I’m not in favour of copying their models, but we should learn from other countries’ successes.

As we see from the PISA results, there is no uniform schooling system that delivers success. Canada and Finland have always performed above average in PISA. They opt for limited testing, giving teachers more autonomy and valuing individual independence. However, if we look to Japan and the Netherlands we see an emphasis on ‘practice makes perfect’. Personally, I am wary of rote learning and robotic repetition, having witnessed this first-hand on a visit to a Chinese primary school in Xi’an. Though there are of course distinct cultural differences between nations, broadly the most successful countries share key elements: highly trained and valued leadership, continuous teaching training, high parental involvement and great expectations of pupils (regardless on background or IQ).

Whilst it is important that our children are highly skilled in maths, reading and science, we must not forget to immerse young people in a curriculum that encompasses the joys of the arts, sport and classical subjects (such as history or literature). We must continue to give our children creative and academic opportunities, as without this balance the UK wouldn’t be the leader in the visual and performing arts industries. This is something we must not forget in the fervour of under performance in other areas.

Finally, instead of politicians throwing stones, I suggest there is a dire need for a unified consensus. Only in this way, will our schools flourish (and no doubt leap up the PISA rankings table!).


Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.