Virtual school could break the 'cycle of poverty' in Wirral

Wirral Globe: Frank Field MP Frank Field MP

A PIONEERING virtual school could be set to break the "cycle of poverty” in Wirral by giving teenage mums extra support.

The new scheme – Springboard – was proposed to the council's cabinet by Birkenhead Labour MP Frank Field on Thursday night.

He wants to establish a free school which will teach young people parenting skills and ensure children are ready for their first day of school.

It is hoped the project would begin during the early stages of pregnancy and would go some way to halting the cycle of "intergenerational poverty."

Mr Field's plans follow his work with local young people who told him they wanted to learn how to make life-long friendships and how to be good parents.

He said: "The idea is not to worry about buildings but to begin a service from the 12th week of pregnancy where we can work with expectant mothers. We are witnessing a breakdown in good parenting here and elsewhere and something should be done.

"During the first years of a child’s development, their life chances are determined – particularly those from the poorest backgrounds.

"We want to work with parents when their baby is still in the womb to make them more useful than they would otherwise be.

"Although this would be a virtual school, it would still have a governing body and we would hope all parties would be a part of that.

"It will be very much a Wirral project of cutting edge ideas – no-one has done it before and it thinking very much outside of the box."

Under the proposals, the school will operate from a number of centres with its headquarters based at Tranmere Community Centre and the most vulnerable mothers and children would gain enhanced support.

And the Birkenhead Education Trust, which will run Springboard, is also working with St Anselm’s College and Prenton High School on a pilot scheme to find out how parenting skills can be integrated into the curriculum.

If successful, Springboard is expected to be rolled out across the country to improve skills among young people and create better life chances for future generations.

Following Mr Field's proposals, cabinet recommended that £300,000 of the £400,000 budget set aside for the Roots and Wings strategy be allocated to the project.

And it is hoped that it would eventually be given free school status to allow for central government funding Backing the plans, council leader Jeff Green said: "I am very excited by this idea because it is so new. I'm particularly taken by the idea of intergenerational inheritance of poverty and that for certain families there is no way to break out of this cycle.

"This can make a start to help to reduce poverty and will be the opportunity for Wirral to be at the forefront of it."

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1:00pm Mon 16 Apr 12

Spiffy says...

"cutting edge ideas – no-one has done it before and it thinking very much outside of the box"
...
For thousands of years people managed to breed, feed, clothe and not kill young based on pure instinct.
...
Now we have "Government" lining up pregnant young girls for experimentation and indoctrination by The State.
..
Sends a chill down my spine.
"cutting edge ideas – no-one has done it before and it thinking very much outside of the box" ... For thousands of years people managed to breed, feed, clothe and not kill young based on pure instinct. ... Now we have "Government" lining up pregnant young girls for experimentation and indoctrination by The State. .. Sends a chill down my spine. Spiffy
  • Score: 0

2:00pm Mon 16 Apr 12

Spiffy says...

Ok I've read it twice now...just to be sure...and there's ambiguous mention of "parents" but I am not seeing anything anywhere about "helping" any "expectant fathers".
...
Pregnant girls are being encouraged to seperate from society, become reliant on The State for "help" and blamed and victimised here...albeit "ever so nicely" and "for their own good".
...
I thought we'd done away with this kind of attitude years ago. Shocking.
Ok I've read it twice now...just to be sure...and there's ambiguous mention of "parents" but I am not seeing anything anywhere about "helping" any "expectant fathers". ... Pregnant girls are being encouraged to seperate from society, become reliant on The State for "help" and blamed and victimised here...albeit "ever so nicely" and "for their own good". ... I thought we'd done away with this kind of attitude years ago. Shocking. Spiffy
  • Score: 0

2:20pm Mon 16 Apr 12

johnhardaker says...

Instead of all this political mumbo jumbo, why not teach them about birth control & not getting pregnant in the first place & being a burden on the tax & ratepayer.
It might seem old fashioned but when we were married in 1971 we knew about the Pill & other forms of protection how in 40 years has it degraded to this situation today where teenage girls get pregnant sit on their backsides,stuff their kids with junk food & breed another generation of state spongers.
Instead of all this political mumbo jumbo, why not teach them about birth control & not getting pregnant in the first place & being a burden on the tax & ratepayer. It might seem old fashioned but when we were married in 1971 we knew about the Pill & other forms of protection how in 40 years has it degraded to this situation today where teenage girls get pregnant sit on their backsides,stuff their kids with junk food & breed another generation of state spongers. johnhardaker
  • Score: 0

2:48pm Mon 16 Apr 12

Spiffy says...

John...they do teach them about contraception but there's always going to be those that ignore it or end up having accidents. Grownup married working women have fallen pregnant whilst taking contraception, after all.
...
I believe we've got the way we are now because of 3 things mainly. Benefits, 24 hour licensing laws and no correction or punishment for anything.
...
If people so choose they may do as they please, drink as much as they like and escape reality whilst getting paid for it.
...
Fix those three things and a plethora of social problems would dramatically improve. For everything there is Social Services. Remove the children if people really don't want them.
John...they do teach them about contraception but there's always going to be those that ignore it or end up having accidents. Grownup married working women have fallen pregnant whilst taking contraception, after all. ... I believe we've got the way we are now because of 3 things mainly. Benefits, 24 hour licensing laws and no correction or punishment for anything. ... If people so choose they may do as they please, drink as much as they like and escape reality whilst getting paid for it. ... Fix those three things and a plethora of social problems would dramatically improve. For everything there is Social Services. Remove the children if people really don't want them. Spiffy
  • Score: 0

2:50pm Mon 16 Apr 12

Spiffy says...

I meant *for everything else...brain blip there..
I meant *for everything else...brain blip there.. Spiffy
  • Score: 0

3:45pm Mon 16 Apr 12

johnhardaker says...

spiffy are you really suggesting social services can help after the DASS/AKA report & waiting lists for adoption for up to two years
while social services "CHECK" on adoptive parents.
I wholeheartdly agree with your 3 major points & we waited 3 years before starting a family whilst getting our first home together & making sure he was brought up in a stable & loving family, are we the odd ones out or have moral standards dropped so low that nobody cares any more, I despair!.
spiffy are you really suggesting social services can help after the DASS/AKA report & waiting lists for adoption for up to two years while social services "CHECK" on adoptive parents. I wholeheartdly agree with your 3 major points & we waited 3 years before starting a family whilst getting our first home together & making sure he was brought up in a stable & loving family, are we the odd ones out or have moral standards dropped so low that nobody cares any more, I despair!. johnhardaker
  • Score: 0

4:42pm Mon 16 Apr 12

whatdotheythinkweare says...

Field: "no-one has done it before and it thinking very much outside of the box."

Utter crap IMO... what he is proposing sounds very much like anti-natal classes (which are freely available to every pregnant female and their partners) and the extension of that is the 'health visitor' service which starts as soon as baby is born and continues right through to school age.

Although I do have some personal reservations about the capability of the 'health visitor' service, I do consider you can approach them with any child-related issue and they would help you resolve or point you in the right direction.

So what would 'Springboard' offer that can't be gotten elsewhere?

Why does F.Field feel the need to strongly push education strategies beyond other issues (always appears to be doing something with an academy or trust)?

What does he gain from those at the Birkenhead Education Trust if it goes through... votes??
Field: "no-one has done it before and it thinking very much outside of the box." Utter crap IMO... what he is proposing sounds very much like anti-natal classes (which are freely available to every pregnant female and their partners) and the extension of that is the 'health visitor' service which starts as soon as baby is born and continues right through to school age. Although I do have some personal reservations about the capability of the 'health visitor' service, I do consider you can approach them with any child-related issue and they would help you resolve or point you in the right direction. So what would 'Springboard' offer that can't be gotten elsewhere? Why does F.Field feel the need to strongly push education strategies beyond other issues (always appears to be doing something with an academy or trust)? What does he gain from those at the Birkenhead Education Trust if it goes through... votes?? whatdotheythinkweare
  • Score: 0

8:44pm Mon 16 Apr 12

ordinary personn says...

I take a different view of this than those already posted. The bottom line is that somewhere along the line for SOME individuals good parenting has broken down. Johnhardaker talks about making sure his son was brought up in a stable and loving family and that is the ideal but some children are not that lucky and have no role models of good parenting, therefore, the cycle has to be broken somehow. It is telling that young people told Frank they want to learn how to be good parents – if they had all had a good experience of parenting as children they would have learned these skills at home so clearly not all have. Although, I would argue that poverty does not necessarily result in poor parenting, for me that has little to do with money and a lot to do with education and personal standards.
Yes, there are already services available BUT if the cycle of poor parenting is still with us then obviously those services are inadequate.

John – I guess that people do care that standards “have dropped so low” otherwise they would not be trying to do something about it. Personally, I also think standards have changed and I’d despair if nobody was trying to address the resulting problems but people are trying.

I for one (and I have said this previously on other threads) think that it is better to try and break the cycle than sit back and complain about it and do nothing. I also think it is wrong to condemn people who we judge as being poor parents etc if they have not had an opportunity to learn any different. If we do nothing we are condemning other children to suffer poor parenting and the cycle will continue - I think that is unacceptable.

Spiffy – as an aside – thanks for trying the forum and if you can’t get access, as you say, we will have to carry on wittering here :)
I take a different view of this than those already posted. The bottom line is that somewhere along the line for SOME individuals good parenting has broken down. Johnhardaker talks about making sure his son was brought up in a stable and loving family and that is the ideal but some children are not that lucky and have no role models of good parenting, therefore, the cycle has to be broken somehow. It is telling that young people told Frank they want to learn how to be good parents – if they had all had a good experience of parenting as children they would have learned these skills at home so clearly not all have. Although, I would argue that poverty does not necessarily result in poor parenting, for me that has little to do with money and a lot to do with education and personal standards. Yes, there are already services available BUT if the cycle of poor parenting is still with us then obviously those services are inadequate. John – I guess that people do care that standards “have dropped so low” otherwise they would not be trying to do something about it. Personally, I also think standards have changed and I’d despair if nobody was trying to address the resulting problems but people are trying. I for one (and I have said this previously on other threads) think that it is better to try and break the cycle than sit back and complain about it and do nothing. I also think it is wrong to condemn people who we judge as being poor parents etc if they have not had an opportunity to learn any different. If we do nothing we are condemning other children to suffer poor parenting and the cycle will continue - I think that is unacceptable. Spiffy – as an aside – thanks for trying the forum and if you can’t get access, as you say, we will have to carry on wittering here :) ordinary personn
  • Score: 0

1:17am Tue 17 Apr 12

Spiffy says...

John - The time between being removed from an abusive/neglectful home and finding adoptive parents may not be ideal but at the very least the children are kept warm, clothed properly and fed three meals a day.
...
The last government encouraged and paid for dependance on The State so it smacks of hypocrisy that Frank is so shocked now that some went out of their way to abdicate responsibility. Or is he ?
...
The article says "Mr Field's plans follow his work with local young people who told him they wanted to learn how to make life-long friendships and how to be good parents. "
...
What "local young people" exactly ? My children weren't asked. Where yours ?
...
He talks of helping the most vulnerable and poor...all very nice and who could argue with that...but it's clearly simply a foot in the door to dictating to ALL of us. That level of interference in everyone's lives for the sake of the few is unacceptable.
...
Oh and once again...there is NO clear definition of "poverty". It is whatever some politician of charity decides it is and they have their own agenda...
...
OP - I don't think anyone minds...if they do I'm sure they won't be shy about letting us know :)
John - The time between being removed from an abusive/neglectful home and finding adoptive parents may not be ideal but at the very least the children are kept warm, clothed properly and fed three meals a day. ... The last government encouraged and paid for dependance on The State so it smacks of hypocrisy that Frank is so shocked now that some went out of their way to abdicate responsibility. Or is he ? ... The article says "Mr Field's plans follow his work with local young people who told him they wanted to learn how to make life-long friendships and how to be good parents. " ... What "local young people" exactly ? My children weren't asked. Where yours ? ... He talks of helping the most vulnerable and poor...all very nice and who could argue with that...but it's clearly simply a foot in the door to dictating to ALL of us. That level of interference in everyone's lives for the sake of the few is unacceptable. ... Oh and once again...there is NO clear definition of "poverty". It is whatever some politician of charity decides it is and they have their own agenda... ... OP - I don't think anyone minds...if they do I'm sure they won't be shy about letting us know :) Spiffy
  • Score: 0

1:18am Tue 17 Apr 12

Spiffy says...

*Were....not where...my english teacher is spinning in his grave...sorry Sir !
*Were....not where...my english teacher is spinning in his grave...sorry Sir ! Spiffy
  • Score: 0

2:49pm Tue 17 Apr 12

greasychip says...

I also understand Frank is trying to push this idea on the Council and expect them to cough up several hundred thousand pounds. Where's the needs analysis, prioritisation, evidence base, public consultation, etc? I can't imagine I could just go to the Cabinet and expect them to fund my brainchild (however worthy, acknowledging teh £100k for the Cambridge Uni work that is to be commissioned). Think of the hoops groups have to go through to get small grants via the area forums - proportionate... not. Frank seems to think the local council is under his drect control and should just do what he likes. I would love councillors and officers to tell him to get in the queue and do things properly like ordinary citizens have to!
I also understand Frank is trying to push this idea on the Council and expect them to cough up several hundred thousand pounds. Where's the needs analysis, prioritisation, evidence base, public consultation, etc? I can't imagine I could just go to the Cabinet and expect them to fund my brainchild (however worthy, acknowledging teh £100k for the Cambridge Uni work that is to be commissioned). Think of the hoops groups have to go through to get small grants via the area forums - proportionate... not. Frank seems to think the local council is under his drect control and should just do what he likes. I would love councillors and officers to tell him to get in the queue and do things properly like ordinary citizens have to! greasychip
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Tue 17 Apr 12

Spiffy says...

Very well said, greasychip !
Very well said, greasychip ! Spiffy
  • Score: 0

6:55pm Tue 17 Apr 12

spamfiend says...

Go and get back into your cage Mr Fields. You say you want to 'establish a free school which will teach young people parenting skills and ensure children are ready for their first day of school.'
Well I am sorry, you didn't really preach this did you when you where involved in the closure of Vyner Primary School where you??

What annoyed me most of all was that at many of the meetings that I and many of the parents of the kids attended where told falling birth rates, smaller classes, and the lack of access for disabled users meant the school was not a viable option so what did you and your cronies at the council do?? You shut the school, merged it with another one and then re-opened Vyner as The Observatory School with a full revamp to boot!!

Vyner was an amazing school that regularly had excellent grades, outstanding staff and an atmosphere that people enjoyed BRINGING their kids to school, oh and I forgot to mention the high attendance rates as well. There was a lot of unemployment in the area and at one point the area was in the poverty zone, but I tell you the parents in the area made sure their kids went to school.
Go back to cloud cuckoo land because to be honest everything that comes out of your mouth since that day I tried to speak to you but was dismissed out of hand is just pure BS!!
Go and get back into your cage Mr Fields. You say you want to 'establish a free school which will teach young people parenting skills and ensure children are ready for their first day of school.' Well I am sorry, you didn't really preach this did you when you where involved in the closure of Vyner Primary School where you?? What annoyed me most of all was that at many of the meetings that I and many of the parents of the kids attended where told falling birth rates, smaller classes, and the lack of access for disabled users meant the school was not a viable option so what did you and your cronies at the council do?? You shut the school, merged it with another one and then re-opened Vyner as The Observatory School with a full revamp to boot!! Vyner was an amazing school that regularly had excellent grades, outstanding staff and an atmosphere that people enjoyed BRINGING their kids to school, oh and I forgot to mention the high attendance rates as well. There was a lot of unemployment in the area and at one point the area was in the poverty zone, but I tell you the parents in the area made sure their kids went to school. Go back to cloud cuckoo land because to be honest everything that comes out of your mouth since that day I tried to speak to you but was dismissed out of hand is just pure BS!! spamfiend
  • Score: 0

8:22pm Tue 17 Apr 12

whatdotheythinkweare says...

spamfiend wrote:
Go and get back into your cage Mr Fields. You say you want to 'establish a free school which will teach young people parenting skills and ensure children are ready for their first day of school.'
Well I am sorry, you didn't really preach this did you when you where involved in the closure of Vyner Primary School where you??

What annoyed me most of all was that at many of the meetings that I and many of the parents of the kids attended where told falling birth rates, smaller classes, and the lack of access for disabled users meant the school was not a viable option so what did you and your cronies at the council do?? You shut the school, merged it with another one and then re-opened Vyner as The Observatory School with a full revamp to boot!!

Vyner was an amazing school that regularly had excellent grades, outstanding staff and an atmosphere that people enjoyed BRINGING their kids to school, oh and I forgot to mention the high attendance rates as well. There was a lot of unemployment in the area and at one point the area was in the poverty zone, but I tell you the parents in the area made sure their kids went to school.
Go back to cloud cuckoo land because to be honest everything that comes out of your mouth since that day I tried to speak to you but was dismissed out of hand is just pure BS!!
I agree, Field tried to incorporate Ridgeway High School into the 3-way merged academy (Rock Ferry + Park High being the other 2 which went ahead with the merger).

Firstly Ridgeway was added as a 'last minute' addition to the plan... without proper prior information to the parents etc.

Secondly, as meetings with the school were held with Field, he once again tried to argue the 'falling birthrate' issue... to which was retorted by parent with "We are in a recession, we all know birth rates increase following a recession!"... to which he gave no argument.

Personally I think he should be investigated for the number of schools he has been trying to close... just what is he gaining from it?
[quote][p][bold]spamfiend[/bold] wrote: Go and get back into your cage Mr Fields. You say you want to 'establish a free school which will teach young people parenting skills and ensure children are ready for their first day of school.' Well I am sorry, you didn't really preach this did you when you where involved in the closure of Vyner Primary School where you?? What annoyed me most of all was that at many of the meetings that I and many of the parents of the kids attended where told falling birth rates, smaller classes, and the lack of access for disabled users meant the school was not a viable option so what did you and your cronies at the council do?? You shut the school, merged it with another one and then re-opened Vyner as The Observatory School with a full revamp to boot!! Vyner was an amazing school that regularly had excellent grades, outstanding staff and an atmosphere that people enjoyed BRINGING their kids to school, oh and I forgot to mention the high attendance rates as well. There was a lot of unemployment in the area and at one point the area was in the poverty zone, but I tell you the parents in the area made sure their kids went to school. Go back to cloud cuckoo land because to be honest everything that comes out of your mouth since that day I tried to speak to you but was dismissed out of hand is just pure BS!![/p][/quote]I agree, Field tried to incorporate Ridgeway High School into the 3-way merged academy (Rock Ferry + Park High being the other 2 which went ahead with the merger). Firstly Ridgeway was added as a 'last minute' addition to the plan... without proper prior information to the parents etc. Secondly, as meetings with the school were held with Field, he once again tried to argue the 'falling birthrate' issue... to which was retorted by parent with "We are in a recession, we all know birth rates increase following a recession!"... to which he gave no argument. Personally I think he should be investigated for the number of schools he has been trying to close... just what is he gaining from it? whatdotheythinkweare
  • Score: 0

9:53am Wed 18 Apr 12

greasychip says...

Lets not forget his other mission to take over children's centres - again devoid of the usual scrutiny (neither the real thing nor the 'just for show' type!). How does that fit with his dismay and anger at how the Council has done business and given out money in the past? I don't recall him being elected to local government.
Lets not forget his other mission to take over children's centres - again devoid of the usual scrutiny (neither the real thing nor the 'just for show' type!). How does that fit with his dismay and anger at how the Council has done business and given out money in the past? I don't recall him being elected to local government. greasychip
  • Score: 0

9:59am Wed 18 Apr 12

greasychip says...

It seems Jeff G thinks this is good idea. Of course he would 'free schools' are of course a Tory national policy, imagine the mileage they will get out of a Labour MP getting behind it. I was also under the impression that the £400k for the roots & wings work was to be decided upon by an independent working group. As far as I know they don't know about this, have not discussed and certainly haven't agreed to commit 75% of the funds it has to it. Jeff - is this good corporate governance, is this 'no decisions about us without us'?
It seems Jeff G thinks this is good idea. Of course he would 'free schools' are of course a Tory national policy, imagine the mileage they will get out of a Labour MP getting behind it. I was also under the impression that the £400k for the roots & wings work was to be decided upon by an independent working group. As far as I know they don't know about this, have not discussed and certainly haven't agreed to commit 75% of the funds it has to it. Jeff - is this good corporate governance, is this 'no decisions about us without us'? greasychip
  • Score: 0

4:40pm Thu 19 Apr 12

bickyboy says...

Why is it that today's world seems to be full of whacky ideas and initiatives to persuade people to learn the lessons of life that previous generations learned automatically? Whats missing from the minds of so many people today that they require nannying in order to learn the most basic things about how to live a normal life: when "normal" simply means "being capable of co-existing with other human beings"?
Why is it that today's world seems to be full of whacky ideas and initiatives to persuade people to learn the lessons of life that previous generations learned automatically? Whats missing from the minds of so many people today that they require nannying in order to learn the most basic things about how to live a normal life: when "normal" simply means "being capable of co-existing with other human beings"? bickyboy
  • Score: 0

1:17pm Fri 20 Apr 12

Spiffy says...

Bickyboy - "Whats missing from the minds of so many people today that they require nannying "
...
The short answer (for a change, from me) ...Self-respect !
Bickyboy - "Whats missing from the minds of so many people today that they require nannying " ... The short answer (for a change, from me) ...Self-respect ! Spiffy
  • Score: 0

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