Helen speaks in Parliament on migration in the History curriculum

Last week in Parliament, I led a debate focused on "the teaching of migration in the History curriculum". I represent one of the most diverse constituencies in the country.  But research by the Runnymede Trust demonstrates that the history curriculum often focuses only on a narrow selection of key moments in history rather than a broader inclusive approach.  

This has not only led to a low uptake of History among BAME students, but deprives all students of learning about the important impacts of migration on our country and the influence of communities from across the globe who have come to make their home on these islands. From the Viking and Roman invaders, to Irish migrants fleeing starvation during the potato famine, to French Protestant Huguenots fleeing persecution, to the Windrush Generation coming to help rebuild the UK after the Second World War, the history of the UK is a history of migration. Understanding our history in this way can help to build cohesion and overcome division.

In the debate, I called on the government to take seriously research by the Runnymede Trust, adapt the curriculum and provide more training and support to teachers, so that every child can find their story in the history taught in our schools.

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World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day when globally we recognise the dire situations facing refugees and asylum seekers worldwide. In the last year, I have visited the charity Help Refugees in Calais and seen the shocking conditions in which many refugees are forced to live just a three hour drive from our community. The UK and the international community must help refugees, who have fled unimaginable experiences, to rebuild their lives. You can read about what I have been doing in Parliament this week here >>

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Helen speaks about the closure of Barclay's Bank in West Norwood

This week the Barclay's branch in West Norwood will close its doors for the final time - leaving residents in West Norwood with no bank branch in the town centre. I have been working with the local Labour councillors to oppose this closure and I'm grateful to everyone who has responded to our survey and signed the petition.

We have met with Barclays, provided evidence of the heavy reliance of local businesses, elderly and vulnerable customers on a physical branch, and urged them to think again. It is very disappointing that they have not done so.

This latest closure is the fourth bank branch closure in my constituency in as many years, and this is happening across the country. It highlights the urgent need for banking reform. Labour will make banking more ethical, requiring the banks to retain at least one branch in every town centre so no community is stranded and making it harder to invest in harmful industries like fossil fuels. Watch my short film here>>

 

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Helen questions the Home Office Minister on increasing LGBT+ hate crime.

Following the appalling attack on a same sex couple in Camden, I raised vital link between sex and relationships education and preventing LGBT+ hate crime with the Home Office Minister. No one should be persecuted because of their sexuality or gender identity. This hatred has no place in our society and the Government must act to protect LGBT+ people from prejudice and discrimination.

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Helen questions the Immigration Minister on compensation for Windrush citizens

Next week on 22 June we will celebrate Windrush Day, acknowledging with gratitude the immense contribution that the Windrush generation has made and continues to make to the UK. But we cannot forget the shocking injustice that so many members of the Windrush generation suffered at the hands of the Home Office.

Today, I challenged the Immigration Minister on the Home Office Windrush compensation scheme which is too complex and bureaucratic, and isn’t working for those who need it. Windrush citizens urgently need access to independent fully funded legal advice in person to ensure that they receive the compensation they are due.

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Helen speaks in debate about the Divest Parliament campaign

Today, I spoke in support of the Divest Parliament campaign. The Parliamentary Pension Fund continues to invest in companies exploiting fossil fuels and harming the planet. I believe the fund must urgent divest from these corporations and invest in sustainable projects and green industries.

 

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Helen responds to the Government's update on the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission

In responding to the government's update on the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission yesterday a year after Tessa sadly passed away having fought so bravely for others diagnosed with brain cancer, I paid tribute to our much-loved former MP and her amazing legacy.

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Helen speaks in Parliament about the Climate Emergency

Last week in Parliament I met Greta Thunberg, an inspiring 16 year old from Sweden whose message on climate change is a clarion call for our time. I’m also proud of the children from my constituency who have been making their voices heard on climate change. We only have 12 years to act to avoid catastrophic, irreversible climate change.

Today, The Labour Party forced the government to declare a ClimateEmergency an essential step which must now be followed through with urgent action across every government department. 

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Helen speaks in debate on the use of restrictive intervention in schools

Today, I spoke in Parliament about the need for detailed regulations for the use of restrictive intervention in schools. Far too many children with autism, learning difficulties or both are being subject to excessive interventions including physical restraint, isolation and medication. Often this is not discussed with families in advance or following the incident. 

There are already clear guidelines for healthcare and residential settings. However, the Government has yet to publish guidance for schools and other education settings. This was promised in 2014 but has yet to be published. We urgently the Government to introduce clear guidance with a transparent monitoring system to protect vulnerable children from excessive intervention. 

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Helen speaks in Parliament about the housing crisis

Today, I spoke in Parliament about the housing crisis affecting families across the country. The Government are failing, as the coalition did before them, to create housing which we so urgently need. There are currently 1.25 million people on the waiting list for social housing, 123,000 children living in temporary accommodation, and the fact that more than 99% of homes to rent in the private sector in Lambeth and Southwark have rent that is above the local housing allowance cap.

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