Working for the future of Bedford & Kempston

Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017. 

Education

Richard joined GB Paralympian Alistair Patrick-Heselton at Bedford Free School last term as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport Project. The project aims to build confidence and develop life skills in secondary school children.

Alistair is an athlete mentor for Sky Sports and was a footballer who had played for Queens Park Rangers as well as Oldham Athletic on loan. After being told he may never walk again following a serious car accident, Alistair represented GB at the London Paralympics in 2012 in 7-a-side football.

Alistair visited the students at Bedford Free School to share his inspiring story of personal achievement and sporting success.

At the beginning of July, Year 3 and 4 pupils from Cauldwell Lower School visited Parliament as part of a day trip to London.

Richard welcomed the children to the Houses of Parliament and showed them Westminster Hall, St. Stephen’s Hall, Central Lobby and the Terrace. During their visit, they learnt about the history of the buildings and its people and were shown statues of great parliamentarians, the mosaics depicting the patron saints of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and a recently installed sculpture which celebrates the fight for women’s suffrage.

Earlier this year, Richard took local charity, Schoolreaders, to the Department for Education to meet with the Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb.

Schoolreaders was set up to help improve children’s literacy by matching reading volunteers with primary schools. The charity provides an invaluable resource for schools and enables children to receive much needed one-on-one reading time with an adult volunteer who wants to make a difference to a child’s life.

Founded in Bedfordshire just three years ago, Schoolreaders now operates in 14 counties, works with over 100 schools and has hundreds of volunteer readers. The charity has built relationships with organisations like the Women’s Institute, Rotary and U3A to spread the word and find volunteers. The charity is making an important contribution to literacy in the schools in which it operates and aims to help many more schools and children across the country.

After the meeting, Nick Gibb said: “I am pleased to see this wide partnership of organisations coming together to tackle illiteracy. Nothing is more important in education than making sure every child can read; in fact the whole of society has a role to play in ensuring that children become fluent readers.

“Tackling literacy failure is a priority for the Government, and our plan for education is designed to ensure every single child leaves school prepared for life in modern Britain.”

If you are interested in volunteering or would like to find our more about the charity, please visit the Schoolreaders website.

Richard at Google with Bedford College students, Ben Dixon and Kylan McCaffrey, representing the winning team Benny Ben & the Funky Bunch

Richard at Google with Bedford College students, Ben Dixon and Kylan McCaffrey, representing the winning team ‘Benny Ben & the Funky Bunch’

A team of students from Bedford College won a national digital competition, sponsored by Google and HP, for their redesign of the 157 Group’s website – an organisation which represents leading Further Education colleges in the UK.

The winning team, Benny Ben & The Funky Bunch, are studying for Level Three BTec diplomas in IT and were one of five teams in the final to pitch their design to a panel of experts at Google headquarters in London. Three of the teams in the final were from Bedford College.

Each team member won an HP Chromebook and an HP Officejet Pro printer, as well as an HP Sprout Pro for Bedford College. Their design will also go into development and become the new 157 Group website.

Bedford MP, Richard Fuller, who was at Google to announce the winning team said:

“Digital skills are increasingly valued in the workplace and are vital to driving productivity. I am delighted that three of the five finalist teams at this national digital skills competition were from Bedford College, which shows that our college is one of the leading institutions in the country to train the next generation of digital entrepreneurs.”

Richard Fuller, MP for Bedford, has welcomed new figures showing 3,980 new apprenticeships have been started by people in Bedford and Kempston since 2010. This means more young people earning and learning and getting the skills they need for a successful and secure future.

This local growth in apprenticeships has been part of a wider increase with over 2.6 million new apprenticeships created across England since May 2010.

Richard said:
“Promoting apprenticeships has been a core part of my plan to deliver a more secure future for young people in Bedford and Kempston. Providing almost four thousand apprenticeships since 2010 ensures that more young Bedfordians are developing their skills whilst earning a wage. I would also like to thank all the small businesses in Bedford and Kempston who support apprentices.”

Richard Fuller MP and Minister for Childcare and Education, Sam Gyimah MP with Goldington Academy head teacher Francis Galbraith

Richard Fuller MP and Minister for Childcare and Education, Sam Gyimah MP with Goldington Academy head teacher Francis Galbraith

Minister for Childcare and Education, Sam Gyimah MP joined Bedford and Kempston MP, Richard Fuller at Goldington Academy on Monday. The Minister was in town to announce that the Academy had won a share of a £2 billion government fund to refurbish and repair schools across the country.

Goldington Academy is one of 270 schools across the country to benefit from the Priority Schools Building Programme, which was set up in 2011 to rebuild and refurbish schools.

Bedford MP Richard Fuller and the Minister toured the school and heard how the funding will be put to good use in replacing wiring and plumbing that was installed around 50 years ago, as well as refurbishing the sports facilities.

Martha Jensen, Head of the Politics Society, welcomes Richard Fuller MP to Bedford Girls' School

Martha Jensen, Head of the Politics Society, welcomes Richard Fuller MP to Bedford Girls’ School

Bedford MP Richard Fuller stressed the need to address the issue of gender inequality within the Houses of Parliament, when speaking to Bedford Girls’ School students on Friday.

In a wide-ranging talk to the school’s Politics Society, Mr Fuller stressed how significant barriers remain to be tackled whilst low proportions of women in senior positions in business and politics persist.

Mr Fuller said: “I’ll be the first to admit that there’s a clear shortage of female MPs in the Houses of Parliament. When I look at Parliament it’s still a male dominated world.

“Unless you start at the top and appoint women in respected positions such as a large corporate company CEOs – nothing will change.”

Reflecting on his political career and an MP’s role in both Parliament and their constituency, Mr Fuller went on to highlight the importance of political figures having ‘life experience’ outside of politics.

“We live at a time when too many MPs have only ever been involved in politics, which leads to intellectually narrow world views,” said the Bedford MP, who worked overseas in the business sector before returning to the town in 2004.

“Being leaders in professions ranging from charity work to science to teaching gives someone that all-important life experience that can make for a more effective, better grounded, representative in Parliament.”

 

Richard Fuller MP serves lunch at St. Joseph's Lower Scho

Richard Fuller MP serves lunch at St. Joseph’s Lower Scho

Bedford MP, Richard Fuller, paid a visit to St Joseph’s Lower School earlier this month to open their new school kitchen.

Richard visited as part of a new government policy to give every child in reception and Years 1 and 2 a free, nutritious meal every lunch time. The move will benefit 1.89 million children at 16,500 schools across the country, saving families up to £400 per year and helping children to do better in the classroom and improve their daily diet.

Richard helped serve the school lunch and then joined the children for a delicious meal of chicken fricase with vegetables and mash.

Richard said: “It has been shown that when children eat a nutritious lunch their concentration and learning is better in the afternoon. I was delighted to open the new kitchen and I am glad that children at St Joseph’s will be able to enjoy a healthy, cooked meal every day.”

After lunch, Richard was interviewed by some of the students who asked him what his favourite school meal was and he said that he had always enjoyed fish and chips at school.

Richard Fuller MP joins youngsters for a cooking class as part of Tesco's Eat Happy Project

Richard Fuller MP joins youngsters for a cooking class as part of Tesco’s Eat Happy Project

Last week, Richard took part in Tesco’s Eat Happy Project in partnership with the Children’s Food Trust, which offered free cooking classes in 50 stores across the country over the summer holidays.

Richard joined a group of 8-10 year olds in a cooking class at the Tesco Extra Store on Cardington Road, which was designed to help the children learn essential skills for eating healthily and preparing food from scratch.

Richard said, “I was delighted to join local children in the cooking class. It‘s a great initiative to help tackle our increasing long term diet-related health problems and to help children have positive associations with healthy food.”

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bbcschoolreport
Students across Bedford and Kempston have taken part in the 2014 BBC School Report. BBC News School Report gives 11-16 year-old students in the UK the chance to make their own news reports for a real audience.

Year 8 students from St Andrew’s School in Bedford grilled Bedford MP, Richard Fuller about his school-days, his work and even his favourite sweet shop! While Sophie, a year 7 student at Bedford Modern School, asked Richard for his thoughts on racism and diversity.

The full reports are available at St Andrew’s School Report and at Bedford Modern School Report (News Article 005).