Category: Politics

Confusion over COVID 19 lock-down rules – what do they say and how do they affect you?

download6454172465924611860.jpegSome Wythenshawe residents have said they are confused over the Covid 19 lock-down rules with one saying her family were told to go home while taking their daily exercise.

Posting on the Wythenshawe Covid-19 Community Support Facebook group, one resident said: “Just been out with my kids and my partner for our daily exercise just walk and we got stopped by the police saying that there is only supposed to be two people out of your house hold allowed out together. What is right? I’m confused”.

Local police pointed the Wythenshawe Reporter to the College of Policing guidelines which advises officers how to apply the new powers which came into force on Thursday (March 26th).

The new laws place restrictions on movement and gatherings and says no-one may leave their home without a reasonable excuse. Reasonable excuses include:

  • obtaining basic necessities
  • exercise (once a day)
  • meeting a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions
  • seeking medical assistance
  • attending a funeral
  • moving house
  • visiting a place of worship
  • caring for or assisting a vulnerable person who is someone: aged 70 years or older / under 70 years old with an underlying health condition / pregnant

The guidance also states: “Police can instruct gatherings of three or more people to disperse or remove any person from that gathering to their home.”

When asked if the rules on gatherings apply to families of three or more who live together, a local police officer said they were still awaiting a direction on it from their legal team and details hadn’t  been released to them yet. It would be for the courts to interpret the laws.

But information in the government’s guidance on the new rules says gatherings of three or more people should not take place except if the people involved live together. It says:  “This means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.”

Police officers have been told try to educate people who are breaking the rules and to explain the risks to public health, but they would take enforcement action as a last resort.

They can direct people to return to their homes and can use reasonable force where necessary.

But police are also advised to use discretion and consider that it might not be safe for everyone to be at home in circumstances where domestic abuse, child abuse or mental health issues might be a factor.

Police can impose fixed penalty fines of £60 which would be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days. Fines of £120 can be imposed for second time offenders, doubling on each time the person offends again.

The individual will not get a criminal record unless they don’t pay the fines.

 

 

 

Strong community spirit will see Wythenshawe through the COVID 19 crisis

The Wythenshawe community is pulling together in the face of Covid 19.

This week Wythenshawe Foodbank thanked local businesses and the community for their support as well as Wythenshawe Community Housing Group who donated a vehicle for the distribution of food to those in need.

A spokesman said: “We are receiving a lot of demand for our service. We are seeing an incredible rallying around of the community and if you want to get in touch with Wythenshawe Food bank you can get in touch through our social media.”

Express Solicitors dontated £1000 to the foodbank.

The United Estates of Wythenshawe gym closed last night following government advice but earlier last week was helping deliver food to those in need and provided a space for people to chat.

A Facebook group – Wythenshawe COVID 19 Community Support –  has been established with nearly 4000 followers and is coordinating support for the most vulnerable in the town.

covid

And Tesco in Baguley will will be opening its doors early on Sunday morning exclusively for health workers from Wythenshawe Hospital as a thank you for their hard work during the crisis.

Community Centres in Wythenshawe will be changing the way it provides its services from Monday March 23. Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre and Benchill Community Centre will be closed except for the distribution of  lunch-packs for the vulnerable at the venues between 12.00 and 1.30pm, Monday to Friday.

 

And Wythenshawe Good Neighbours Project is also involved in co-ordinating services in the community.

COVID 19 has also hit sport in the town, with all league games suspended until further notice. But the clubs have been doing their bit for the community.

MP warns closure will lead to Wythenshawe school places squeeze

SaveNewall

Wythenshawe  MP  Mike Kane is calling on the government to reverse the controversial plans to close Newall Green High School.

The Shadow School’s Minister has told Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, he opposes the DfE decision to shut the school saying it could lead to a shortage of school places.

In a letter to the DfE boss he said: “Manchester City Council’s place planning shows the secondary school population in south Manchester will increase in the next two to three years. With the school closing, how will the DfE ensure the area has enough school places for our community’s children in the years ahead?”

Parents were told earlier this month that the DfE will close the academy school because of falling numbers.

A petition to save the school has been launched, signed by more than 650 people and students staged a protest calling on the decision to be reversed.

The school had been put in special measures following an OFSTED inspection, but in its latest monitoring report, inspectors said the school had made improvements.

Mike Kane was involved in establishing a Wythenshawe Education Board with the Regional Schools Commissioner, Vicky Beer.

All four Wythenshawe high schools are on board, aiming to raise standards and give a ‘good offer’ for schools in the town. The schools board aims combat o raise OFSTED.

The MP says  he is very disappointed the school is being closed while we’re in the middle of this project.

 

In his letter to education bosses, Mr Kane has also asked: “How did this once desirable and popular school end up being so under-subscribed that it is no longer financially viable to remain open?

“When the school closes and the land returns to the Department for Education, what will become of the buildings and large open spaces?”

The Department for Education has been approached by the Wythenshawe Reporter for a comment.

Save Newall Green High School

The Wythenshawe Reporter is backing a campaign by parents, students and councillors to save Newall Green High School, earmarked for closure by the Government.

Parents were told this week that the Department for Education will close the school because of falling numbers.

A petition to save the school has been launched and students staged a protest calling on the decision to be reversed.

newall green school

And today, Manchester City Council’s executive committee pledged to fight the DfE’s decision.

The council’s deputy leader and Wythenshawe councillor, Sue Murphy tweeted: “We need to oppose the closure. Potentially devastating for young people in school there.”

Baguley councillor,  Tracey Rawlins led the calls for the council to fight the closure.

Dawn Fairweather, who started the petition which has already attracted nearly 400 signatures, says the closure will impact on other schools in Wythenshawe, by increasing class sizes and piling more pressure on teachers.

She said: “This is not acceptable for children in the Wythenshawe area who through no fault of their own may not get the education they rightfully deserve which could affect their future employment prospects.

“This could also mean that children have to travel further to and from school and cost more money that some parents do not have.Please sign this petition to stop the closure of this school.

“The education minister and Prime minister need to know that the people in Wythenshawe will do their upmost to stop the closure of this school.”

Sign the petition here.

Newall Green School was put in special measures following an inspection by the schools watchdog, OFSTED.

But following the school’s latest monitoring visit in November last year, inspectors said there had been improvements in their report.

Inspector, David Selby said: “Leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures.”

The report summarised the strengths in the school’s approaches to securing improvement as:

  • Leaders have continued to develop the wider opportunities that the school offers
    to pupils. These opportunities often involve local businesses.
  • Leaders have continued their careful focus on the urgent priorities identified at
    the previous inspection. However, they have now started to widen their view and
    to identify and enhance aspects of the school that were already working well.
  • Leaders are seeking ways for pupils to be more involved in their school. Leaders
    intend to find out more about what pupils think of the school. Staff have just
    introduced a prefect system and they intend that a pupil council will soon be reestablished.
  • The reducing role of the executive principal in supporting other leaders has
    allowed leaders within the school to become increasingly more confident and self reliant.

And the weakness was summarised as:

  • Despite the improvement in the school and the increasing number of things that
    pupils can be proud of, some pupils lack pride in what the school offers them and
    is achieving.