Matt Rodda asks government how it plans to improve teacher recruitment and retention

Reading East MP Matt Rodda (Labour) used a debate in Parliament on 11 December to ask the Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening (Conservative), how the government plans to address teacher recruitment and retention problems.

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Up Holy Brook without a paddle: Interview with Audit and Governance Chair

Interview with David Stevens.
Venue: Sweeney & Todd.
Date: Friday 1 December 2017 @ 18:00

The Whitley Pump had a conversation with David Stevens (Conservative), chair of the Reading Borough Council (RBC) Audit & Governance committee (A&G). Over a pint in one of our favourite venues in Reading he helped us understand how he sees his responsibilities and accountability. The good ship RBC is attempting to deliver the accounts 2016/17 for audit by Xmas and the same times as getting to grips with managing the 2017/18 budget, struggling with reconciliations and attempting multiple computer software upgrades and changes.

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Matt Rodda interview: My priorities as Reading East MP

Matt Rodda with fellow Katesgrove councillors Sophia James (L) and Rose Williams (R) at the Katesgrove councillors’ surgery at Pau Brasil on Silver Street

The Whitley Pump met Matt Rodda, still Katesgrove councillor but more preoccupied with Westminster business these days, in the Global Cafe at RISC on London Street. He explained how he was pushing for things in Parliament that local people wanted and his top three priorities were to fight austerity, fight against hard Brexit and provide more affordable housing.

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Adrian Lawson: teaching English to our refugees

Adrian Lawson

Reading based naturalist and bicycle kitchen pioneer Adrian Lawson makes an unlikely Professor Higgins, but for the last three years he has been helping refugees learn to speak English at the Reading Refugee Support Group. We met up for a relaxing carafe of loose leaf tea in the smart C.U.P. café at St. Mary’s Butts for a chat about his voluntary work.

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The next episode of “up Holy Brook without a paddle”: the RBC Audit and Governance committee – a satire?

A dour set of councillors trooped into the council chamber for the Reading Borough Council (RBC) audit and governance committee meeting on 21 November to find out if the captain, chief executive Peter Sloman, and his first mate, strategic finance director Peter Lewis, had any good news for them about their voyage to get the accounts sorted out.

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Reading Borough Council involved in ‘obfuscation and deception’ says Aspire chair

Keith Kerr, Aspire CIC chair

The dispute between Reading’s Afro-Caribbean communities and Reading Borough Council (RBC) over a bid to acquire the old Central Club on London Street and its ‘black history’ mural led to a public demonstration through the town centre on 25 September. Keith Kerr, the chair of the legal entity set up to manage the bid on behalf of Reading’s Afro-Caribbeans, the Aspire Community Interest Company (CIC), talked to the Whitley Pump about what he intended for the site, how much he was willing to pay for it and how he feels the bid has been mistreated by RBC.

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