UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador Programme

Step One: Teachers’ Institute

The first step in becoming a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador is to attend our unique 3-day professional development opportunity: Teachers’ Institute. During these days you will immerse yourself in the politics of UK Parliament with this unique professional development opportunity. Teachers of Government & Politics, Citizenship and related subjects, and other education professionals, can apply to experience an intensive, informative and unforgettable course based at the Houses of Parliament. UK Parliament covers your travel costs, residential accommodation and most meals. All resources, workshops and events are free of charge.

Teachers’ Institute offers:

  • A tour of the Palace of Westminster
  • The chance to watch debates in the chambers
  • Q&A with Members from both Houses
  • Informative sessions to improve delegates’ knowledge of Parliament and democracy
  • Activities that will help to develop classroom resources
  • All the resources you’ll need as a UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador
  • Networking opportunities

 View a sample Teachers’ Institute timetable.

Step Two: Work towards UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador Status

Once you return to your educational setting, you will commit to becoming either a bronze, silver or gold UK Parliament Ambassador through delivering assemblies, training and events to students and fellow teaching staff. Teachers’ Institute will have given you all the tools, now it’s your turn!

View our UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador Levels.

Step three: Receive your UK Parliament Teacher Ambassador Accreditation

After submitting a portfolio of evidence, you will receive either your bronze, silver or gold accreditation with an official certificate and badges for your website. You will also join our Teacher Ambassador community and benefit from a continuing partnership with UK Parliament Education.

How can I apply?

Apply here for our next Teachers’ Institute 1-3 July. Application close on Sunday 21 April.

For any enquiries please contact engage@parliament.uk

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Texas Instruments

I’m delighted the long term future of the plant and its workers has been secured and would like to praise the efforts of everyone involved in the TI Taskforce and in particular the site manager, Gerry McCarthy, who’s hard work has made this possible.

I know, through discussions, the Scottish Government have been working alongside Inverclyde Council to ensure continued employment at the site and as the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek Mackay MSP said this a positive outcome for the plant and workforce, and a strong endorsement for Inverclyde.

 

Clyde Life – February 2019

In the late 18th and early 19th century Scotland undertook what has become known as the Enlightenment. It was a period in Scotland’s history when the intellectual middle classes engaged in matters of law, economics, science and medicine. Great thinkers such as James Hutton is known as the father of modern geology, David Hume philosopher and economist, Frances Hutcheson the chair of moral philosophy at Glasgow university and the first to lecture in English and not Latin, Adam Smith economist and author and Adam Ferguson the father of modern sociology. They and many others debated the matters of the day and formulated theories and principles, many of which have been adopted throughout the world and continue to inform aspects of modern society. And while Scotland contributed to the world in a fashion that far outweighs its size, back home in terms of genuine social change we have dragged our feet. In the intervening years between then and now we abdicated responsibility and while we became influential across the globe we managed to underachieve in our own land. As Lesley Riddoch said in her book Blossom ‘generally life today for the majority of Scots is not bad, it just isn’t as long, healthy, productive, reproductive, literate, wealthy, sustainable or creative as it could be, that either bothers you or it doesn’t “ Well it bothers me. It bothered me enough that I gave up my thirty five year career in I.T. and stood for election. You see, I believe that it is only truly worthwhile becoming an independent nation if that nation is designed by the people of Scotland for the people of Scotland. And when I say the people of Scotland I don’t mean that in some narrow xenophobic way. As Scots we have travelled the globe as emigrants and at home we have benefitted from immigration. Scottish culture has been enhanced with cultures from around the world and it must always continue to expand and grow. As we find ourselves on the brink of leaving the European Union, which will restrict our ability to travel and work in the 27 countries of the European Union while ending students opportunities to study abroad via the Erasmus scheme I can’t help feel that this inconveniently coincides with a period in Scotland’s development when we were beginning to redefine who we are. Since the 2014 referendum there has been an increasing interest in what makes us Scottish. How we work, how we rest and how we play compared, for example, to our Nordic neighbours and comparisons made with an emerging Scotland and the emerging Baltic states. We have a choice. We can remain part of the United Kingdom and be part of the reinvention of the empire 2.0 or we can contribute to a second Scottish Enlightenment. There is a mood for change and bodies such as the Common Weal and Nordic Horizons have identified fertile ground for change. Banking, land ownership, political representation, child care, education, health care, basic income, taxation, public services and drug policy reform is just the beginning. As we create a central lending bank and our own currency we are also investigating a publicly owned infrastructure company. Scotland has to think big.

In Inverclyde, we are marking two hundred years since the death of James Watt. We recognise him as an innovator, someone whose engineering contributions facilitated the industrial revolution. If Watt was alive today I imagine he would be driving forward renewable energy solutions. But would he be burdened by administrative red tape, would he be continually told that we didn’t need his new ideas. I ask this because we have engineers developing a mix of renewable energy solutions who are being drowned by paper work and are being underfunded and often side-lined for more traditional industries. We should be guided by the attitude of the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands. They continually find opportunities where others would only see obstacles. Their tunnel system to link their main islands, their superfast broadband are just two examples of supreme confidence and ability that have resolved major issues. Someone once said that a dog chasing its tail believes it is making progress. We have to stop chasing our tail and focus our time, energy, resources and money on building a better future. We have to identify our opportunities many of which are aligned to the unique aspects of our geography. We have to restore democracy to our smaller communities and understand that a one size fits all mentality does not serve us well. We must proactively forge opportunities that can be developed and come to fruition for the benefit of future generations. The time is ripe for a second enlightenment in Scotland. It’s time to get our thinking caps on and build the country we want to be.

UK Govt changes to Pension Credits

Changes to benefits for mixed-age couples – which will be introduced from 15 May 2019 – were quietly released by Tory ministers on the eve of Theresa May’s humiliating Brexit deal defeat

Currently, couples can claim Pension Credit – an income related benefit meant to top up the state pension as long as one partner is of pension age. Universal Credit will reverse this – meaning a mixed-age couple will be defined by the working-age person, not the pensioner.

Experts have claimed that the changes could leave some pensioners almost £7,000 worse off per year, and Age UK warned that it could leave “some of the poorest pensioners paying a hefty price for having a younger partner.”

Serious concerns over the UK Government’s welfare policies have continued to be raised at Westminster by myself and SNP colleagues and, at. I will be meeting with DWP ministers in February to discuss welfare and asking they reverse to this appalling cut which will hit those on the lowest incomes.

Amid the chaos and distraction of Brexit, those who may be affected by this change in Inverclyde deserve to know about it, and have been let down by UK Government attempts to ‘sneak out’ the news at 7.20pm on the night of the Brexit vote – when attentions were directed elsewhere.

 

Financial Health Checks Initiative

The Financial Health Check is delivered by the Citizens Advice Network in Scotland and backed by the Scottish Government. It aims to motivate low income families to seek financial advice to maximise their income by ensuring that they are not paying more for essential goods and services than they need to and that they are getting all the benefits, grants and exemptions (council tax, energy) to which they are entitled. It also allows them to access support and impartial advice where they need to e.g. debt advice.

The new service launched in November and has already helped hundreds of Scots maximise their income. Overall, there are half a million cases of Scots not claiming all the support they are entitled to. But, one call to the free phoneline on 0800 085 7145 is all it takes for families to find out what they are eligible for. Clients can also access the service through any of our bureau across Scotland.

Scrap Two Child Cap & Rape Clause

This latest Tory U-turn on welfare support does not go anywhere near far enough. The two child cap and rape clause is still set to push hundreds of thousands of children into poverty and must be scrapped.

This disgraceful UK Government policy has been condemned by the UN rapporteur on extreme poverty and a multitude of charities and welfare advice professionals. It is discriminatory at its core, and hits women and BAME families hardest – which the DWP is well aware of.  I congratulate the efforts of my colleague, Alison Thewliss MP, in continuing to hold the UK Government to account over this policy.

If the Tories are not willing to scrap this hated policy for everyone then they should devolve the powers to the Scottish Parliament so we can build a truly fair and equal social security system that meets Scotland’s needs and values.

 

FOBTs & Finance Bill

As the Finance Bill faces its final reading in the Commons, the SNP is more determined than ever to keep the pressure on the Tories to deliver on their promises on the £2 stake for FOBTs. Any backtracking on these promises would renege on the tireless efforts of campaigners and reverse real progress on this issue.

The next stage in the campaign is to consider the health impact of gambling addiction and it would be totally unacceptable for the tories to use use parliamentary tricks to avoid a public health review on the Bill’s gambling provisions.

The Tory Budget has failed to deliver any positive news for Scotland and the SNP will not stand by whilst the UK government prepare to embark on a Brexit path – which Scotland did not vote for – that will cause havoc to Scotland’s economy.

Whether it’s ensuring that Ministers deliver on Fixed Odds betting Terminals or opposing a No Deal Brexit, the SNP are leading opposition to Theresa May’s disunited Tory government.

Universal Credit

The House of Commons was due to vote on proposals to move a further three million claimants onto the universal credit by summer 2019, but this will now be postponed with the Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd seeking approval to move just 10,000 onto the new system.

The House of Commons Library highlights that 4,810 households in Inverclyde claim UC and there are still 7,250 on legacy benefits with many of these still to transfer over.

A United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty recently opened a scathing attack on universal credit warning that the system was “mean spirited and often callous”.

Here in Inverclyde, we’ve had full service Universal Credit for over two years and my constituency office continues to receive stories from constituents who are suffering at the hands of policy decisions by this UK Government

The roll-out has already seen more people pushed into poverty, debt and destitution – forcing families to rely on food banks and emergency aid just to get by.

Any movement to mitigate the worst of the problems that the botched rollout of Universal Credit has caused is welcome, but fundamental reform is urgently needed for those who have already been affected.

https://ronniecowan.com/2018/12/14/universal-credit-public-petition