Category Archives: Local Issues Page

IMG_3866Jackie Harrison WEd His Soc

Wednesfield & Willenhall Rivalry!- “Cheeky Ned Seized Billy’s Thumb and Bit It to the Bone!”

This is why I like going to Wednesfield History Society so much!

Not is it just a meeting, it is also full of great Wednesfield people who like a laugh, but are serious about the Village history!

Last night was a great meeting it had a little bit of everything!

It was full for a start. During the course of the evening there was a great poem read by Jackie Harrison. It was written by an unknown person. But it dealt with the long time rivalry between Wednesfield and Willenhall.

Jackie Harrison read it perfectly, and it amused us all… was about a cockfighting!

Please enjoy the poem….you can let me have your comments also. Thanks Jackie for the reading and thank you Ray Fellows for the hard work you do in making our evenings a success.


At Wednesfield at one village wake,
the cockers all did meet
at Billy Lane’s, the cockfighter’s,
to have a special treat.
For Charley Mason’s spangled cock
was matched to fight a red
that came from Will’n’all, o’er the fields,
and belonged to cheeky Ned.
Two finer birds in any cockpit
there never yet was seen,
though the Wednesfield men declared
their cock was sure to win.
The cocks fought well, and feathers flew
all round about the pit,
while blood from both of ‘em did flow
yet neither would submit.
At last the spangled Wedgefield bird
began to show defeat,
when Billy Lane he up and swore
the bird should not be beat.
For he would fight the biggest man
that came from Will’n’all town,
And on the word, old cheeky Ned
got up and knocked him down.
To fight they went like bull dogs
as it is very well known,
til cheeky Ned seized Billy’s thumb
and bit it to the bone.
At this the Wednesfield men began
their comrade’s part to take,
and never was a fiercer fight
fought at a village wake.
They beat the men from Will’n’all
back to their town again,
and long they will remember
this Wednesfield wake and main.


Anonymous – 20th Century

Annual Public Health Reports

The Public Health Consultation – Life Style Choices Are Important!

Wolverhampton City Council have been running a public Consultation on their plans for the Public Health going forward. That consultation period has now ended. I responded to that consultation within the period (4th February 2018) . Here is an extract of the views I made to that consultation. I have published it today for the public record. I am now in further contact with officials following through on some of the arguments made here.

“Dear Public Health Director –I wish to make a submission relating to the Public Health Policy that is currently out for consultation. I want to say that the life style choices issue is an important one. I also want to say that the keeping people healthy itinerary was working with our own Public Health Lifestyle choices staff member embedded in The Hub at Ashmore Park.

The fact that the community got to know Catherine helped tremendously in building up confidence to tackle the issues that we need to tackle, like ‘No Smoking’ Healthy Living, and tackling obesity. Also it was a very innovative Public Health Lifestyle member who saw the benefit of actually working with the three Councillors together in a partnership to deliver the ‘better’ outcomes that the City needs. I believe we are going to lose that staff member soon…that is a tremendous blow for us here in Wednesfield North.

The three City Councillors here in Wednesfield North recognise that “Public Health is about keeping people healthy and making sure everyone has the same opportunities to live a healthy life In Wolverhampton, that is why over the last few years we have worked in partnership with our Life Style Choices embedded staff member here in The Hub. We note that the Public Health are still mandated to provide NHS Health Checks, Health Visitors, Sexual Health Services, National Child Measurement Programme, Health Protection assurance and providing advice for the NHS, all these services will remain. So the mandate stays the same but the plan to get there will alter.  

Here are Wednesfield North Councillors view; they are based on the experience that we have gained by working with Catherine here at The Hub. We recognise that not many Local Councillors will have worked as closely with the Public Health staff as we have. But it is our view that working in partnership with Local Councillors can add value to the work being undertaken. The City Councils have weakened democratic visibility by the changes that they have made to services, and the way that we report outcomes.

Here in Wednesfield North Councillor Phil Bateman complained about the changes made to the Public Health Annual Report as it changed its reporting structure to take up themes in 2014. He  outlined his concerns with the following criticism to the then Director.“  He wrote “In the Public Health Report in 2012 ( again as an example) on Child Poverty in Wolverhampton it reported that a third of children in Wolverhampton are living in relative poverty. So what is happening now? Is it worse? Is it better?…are we losing track of the outcome?

We are currently cut off from seeing how we have done in tackling the problem, and the results are hidden away or produced elsewhere. Now I recognise that being critical of this reporting style will make me unpopular in certain quarters. But you either speak out or keep quiet. I am all for seeing these issues raised and answered in debate. It’s not that I am springing this issue onto the Director. I have raised these issues publicly previously and through my Face Book page, long before the latest report was published.” That criticism was written in 2014. Back to the current situation  – I am convinced that the public have a right to know on a broad front what the City is doing around a whole range of Public Health issues.

Keeping the Annual Report on Public Health about a main subject or theme obliterates the bigger picture and I am very much against that reporting style. I would appreciate a broader Annual Report covering the range of issues including the medical statistics, plus the mandated items.

Watering down the Public Health delivery is not the way forward. I get a real concern because I see the present proposals for the service, as being of a ‘watered down’ variety. I am not convinced that the changes being outlined in this consultation document is going to take us forward as a healthy City.

I recognise that the City has less money for the duties it has to deliver. But please lets not think that the outcomes will be better than those arrangements that they are replacing. They will not be in total. I feel that the loss of the Children’s Centres have impacted badly on the City. The fact that the services they provided here in Wednesfield North were fundamental to the themes now being re-organised again. Democratic accountability of the services they provided has been lost from sight! Local Councillors are no longer involved in developing local services, for example breast feeding, baby massage classes, all the things that took place within the local Children’s Centres.

Now it is all change yet again.

I am convinced that if the City Council moves forward on the current path, the Public Health goals will be better reached by using the current Hubs as a means to delivery. There is so much more these popular centres can do. Local Councillors can be encouraged to work with Local Campaigns like anti-smoking campaigns. Please see the attachments provided to give you a feel for what can be achieved. I am receiving reports that Local Doctors surgeries are also being used to deliver these aims. The Local doctors are not providing the front line services that people expect them to do with any ease. Loading up the preventative messages and expecting them to be delivered by doctors surgeries is a pipe dream! They are far to busy dealing with the medical needs of the population. It will be a patchy affair. I hope these views will be helpful.





whiston Ave redundant car park

Whiston Ave Ashmore Park – Two New Bungalows Proposed!

Whiston Ave– Here is the latest news that I have with regards to the proposal to build two new homes on a former derelict Garage site.

Wolverhampton Homes are currently bringing together information to enable a procurement exercise to be submitted through the City Council’s procurement portal to invite contractors to bid for the projects.

The plan is that this development  will go out to tender towards the end of March, and Wolverhampton Homes will be looking to appoint a contractor for the sites during May 2018.

Wolverhampton Homes are proposing to build 2no two bedroom bungalows.

They will be City Council owned properties for rent, managed by Wolverhampton Homes….

Barnard Road care home

Voyage Care Development – Behind Schedule for Handover!

The Voyage Care establishment being constructed on Barnard Road, Ashmore Park  for young people with Learning Difficulties, has run into some construction problems.

It is already way behind schedule for opening (Which was originally November 2017), and now the Voyage Care organisation inform me that the hand over date for the building, is delayed yet again.

This is not the news residents would want to hear. I am in conversation with the company and I will attempt to keep you informed of any new developments next week.

WEdnesfield North Councillors 2016

Wolverhampton – Residents Programme Back Again In March!

City Councillors have had a briefing from  the City Managing Director about an important part of the City Councils getting the City back to work policy. Its good news and your three Wednesfield North Councillors  want our residents in Wednesfield North to be amongst the first to know……!

The fourth City of Wolverhampton Residents Programme is back this March and will offer residents free events and opportunities to get support with living, learning and working in the City.

The packed programme will run from Wednesday 14 to Saturday 31 and includes a range of drop-in events to help residents into the world of work, to find an apprenticeship, to find the right home and improve their wellbeing.

There are also events aimed at supporting families, supporting people to stay independent, and information on how people can get more involved in their city.

The programme is part of a drive to improve opportunities, prosperity and health for residents, as well as raise the profile of the city, its people and opportunities, as part of city conference season.

More Information will follow……


Mayor Elias Mattu with APCA August 2017.

Sad Time for City – As City Mourns Its Mayor

Hi Wednesfield I have some very sad news to give this morning.

The Mayor, Cllr Elias Mattu, has passed away overnight. Cllr Mattu, who was 59, served the city with distinction for many years and was incredibly proud to be its Mayor. The flags at the Civic Centre have been lowered to half-mast and a book of condolence is being set up in the foyer. 

Both Councillors Mary and Phil Bateman with Councillor Rita Potter send deepest sympathy and condolences to his family. Elias was a good friend to us as individuals. He had a super relationship with the members of our own Ashmore Park Community Association. We will never forget him as being a kind man, a very good Mayor and Councillor, and for being a very committed human being.”

 Cllr Roger Lawrence Leader of the City Council has said: “Elias was my friend and a loyal, dedicated and loving family man. On behalf of the City of Wolverhampton, I extend my very deepest condolences to his widow Asha and his children Anthony, Ishmael and Jessica. “Elias served his city and council for nearly two decades with huge dedication and commitment. He was one of our city’s favourite sons, a hugely popular councillor and person, hugely respected by the people he served. “His great strength was his warmth, impeccable manners, leadership, compassion, loyalty and unifying influence. Elias worked closely with different community and faith groups across the City of Wolverhampton, bringing people from all backgrounds together and making our city a better place as a result. “Despite illness, he continued his mayoral duties for as long as he could with unyielding strength, optimism and determination and raised thousands of pounds for his mayoral charities. He will be profoundly missed by many people.”


Keith Ireland said: “I know Cllr Mattu was incredibly proud to be Mayor of the City of Wolverhampton. I worked very closely with him and he will be sadly missed. On behalf of all employees of the council, I wish to extend my condolences to his family.”






Police car C-m_bVaXoAEqffS


The Canal & River Trust and West Midlands Police have joined forces to launch a new neighbourhood watch scheme on the region’s historic canal network. 

With more and more people working and living by the water, the Canal Watch scheme aims to promote a sense of community and encourage people to help ensure waterways remain safe and enjoyable places.

Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the Canal & River Trust’s West Midlands Waterways Partnership, explains; “One of the attractions of our wonderful waterways is that they’re quiet, tranquil places where you can escape the bustle of everyday life. However while we want people to enjoy the peace we don’t want them to feel isolated or vulnerable and that’s where this scheme comes in. We want to address any misconceptions and reassure people that our waterways are safe and welcoming.

“With Canal Watch we want to make the fantastic sense of community that already exists on our waterways more visible. We want to show people that collectively those living and working on the waterways, the local police and other stakeholder groups are working together to share information and keep people and property safe.”

Under the scheme people living by the water, boaters and waterside businesses can sign up for police updates and free crime prevention advice.

Local community groups, businesses and organisations will also be encouraged to build closer links with each other and work together to make sure the waterways remain welcoming places. As well as receiving information people will be encouraged to report and share any suspicious activity so that action can be taken.

Leaflets and stickers will be distributed to local people, boaters and businesses with signage also being displayed across the region’s waterways. Forensic marking kits will also be handed out to boaters enabling their valuables to be traced if needed.

Inspector Imran Mirza said: “The Canal Watch scheme is a free initiative where West Midlands Police will work with various partner agencies across the region to promote safety and send key messages through the WMNow community messaging system. This will help boaters to keep their marine equipment secure and ensure that their journey across the waterways is as safe as possible.

“The scheme isn’t just focussed on boaters however, WMNow will ensure that anyone living or working beside the water is kept up to date and informed.

“By working together and communicating with each other better we can deal with the issues focusing on long term problem solving but also promoting early intervention and prevention.”

A Canal Watch option has been added to WMNow, the new West Midlands Police messaging tool that allows communities to be kept up to date with what is happening in their areas.

The scheme is initially being rolled out in the West Midlands Police region but it is hoped that it could also be introduced in other parts of the country.

To receive messages and crime prevention information, create an account at

Images attached:

  • Representatives of the Canal & River Trust, West Midlands Police and local business and community groups launch Canal Watch
  • Inspector Imran Mirza of West Midlands Police and Peter Mathews CMG, chair of the Canal & River Trust’s West Midlands Waterway Partnership



For further media requests please contact:

Stephen Hardy, communications manager, Canal & River Trust

t 01636 675703 m 07920 077190 e

Notes to editors:



Bentley Bridge Retail Park – Did You Know It Provides 636 Local Jobs?!

The Bentley Bridge Retail Park is very much a part of Wednesfield, and the shopping offer is quite rich in terms of the national brands that are trading there.

The Bentley Bridge Retail Park provides 636 jobs for local people, this is a very important contribution to our local economy.

Wednesfield and Wolverhampton benefit greatly from the trading that takes place, and the valuable business rates that are being collected which in turn helps to deliver the sort of services that we all want to see in operation within our City.

e5b70e_fddc131cb1cc459ba4acfb3f2edb1b03 phoenix

Looking for a Nursery School – Live in Blakenhall Area of Wolverhampton?

Are you looking for a Nursery School? Do you live in or around the Blakenhall area of Wolverhampton? If you do ….. then you need to read on!

Have young children approaching/ or of Nursery School age,  and live in the Blakenhall area of Wolverhampton? Why not pop along to The Phoenix Nursery School who have just been rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted and have a glowing Ofsted report!

Put your child’s  name down for a great Early Years Education at The Phoenix Nursery School, which is federated with the very successful Ashmore Park Nursery School!

Here is what the Ofsted Inspector said about this School – 
Ofsted Piccadilly Gate Store Street Manchester M1 2WD  
T 0300 123 4234    
18 December 2017
Mrs Susan Lacey Executive Headteacher Phoenix Nursery School Phoenix Street Blakenhall Wolverhampton West Midlands WV2 3JS
Dear Mrs Lacey
Short inspection of Phoenix Nursery School
Following my visit to the school on 5 December 2017, I write on behalf of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills to report the inspection findings. The visit was the first short inspection carried out since the school was judged to be good in March 2014.
This school continues to be good.
Since the previous inspection, the school has federated with Ashmore Park Nursery School. You have provided leadership support to Phoenix Nursery since September 2014 but were formally appointed as the executive headteacher of both schools in January 2016. Your deputy headteacher effectively supports you in leading and managing both settings. The two schools share the same governing body. Together, you have managed this federation seamlessly and without disruption to children or staff. You have utilised the successful practice at your partner school to develop further the quality of teaching and raise outcomes for children at Phoenix Nursery. You have begun to offer full-time provision, 30 hours a week, for a small number of eligible children, in order to increase their learning opportunities and strengthen their early development.
The steps you have taken have made a positive difference to the school and the pace of improvement has accelerated. You have continued to build on the school’s strengths. You have developed and transformed the learning environment by adding an additional room and refurbishing, to a high level, the main classroom. Teaching areas are bright, vibrant and well resourced. You have improved the quality of teaching by providing high-quality training for all staff. This has resulted in increased staff confidence and greater understanding of children’s individual needs. Teamwork is a strength and staff morale is high. In their questionnaire responses, all staff said that they are proud to work at Phoenix and that leaders use professional development to encourage, challenge and support their development. 
 Children are happy, safe and well cared for. Excellent relationships exist between children and their key workers. Children settle quickly to tasks and understand and follow routines and instructions. They behave well, take turns and are respectful to all adults and other children. The very good ratios of adults to children provided ensure that all children receive high levels of nurture and support. This enables them to thrive and get off to a good start in their education.
You have successfully addressed the areas for improvement identified in the previous inspection. Activities are well planned and purposeful. Careful planning by staff ensures that the broad range of activities offered meet the individual needs of children with different abilities. Children are encouraged to talk about what they are doing and happily join in with stories and rhymes. This helps develop their early communication and language skills. However, further work is needed to promote children’s early reading skills. Additionally, leaders should ensure that evidence for children’s starting points for all areas of the early years curriculum is collected when children join nursery. This is to support the accurate tracking of children’s progress over time.
Safeguarding is effective.
There is a strong safeguarding culture within the nursery. This is because of the high priority you place on keeping children safe. Safeguarding procedures are robust and fit for purpose. All the proper checks on staff and visitors are carried out with thorough attention to detail, and record-keeping is meticulous and very well organised. You have ensured that all staff and governors are fully trained and conversant with the latest safeguarding guidance. Staff know what steps to take if they have a concern about a child. As the designated safeguarding leader, you carefully assess any concerns that are raised and swiftly follow these up with parents or the local authority as needed. Actions taken are fully logged and records are stored securely. 
All adults contribute to keeping children safe. Strict rules are applied in relation to the use of cameras and mobile phones. iPads used by children have safety devices to ensure that these are used appropriately. Activities, such as visits to the park, are thoroughly assessed for potential risks and children are taught about stranger danger. Walking sensibly inside the classroom is also strongly promoted to avoid accidents. Regular fire drills are carried out so that staff and children know how to evacuate the building quickly. Parents are rightly confident that their children are kept safe at nursery.
Inspection findings
 You, your leadership team and governors share a clear and ambitious vision. High expectations are set for children, staff and parents. You and your governors recognise the importance of high-quality professional development and strongly promote this. For example, you have formed an international network between four schools in the West Midlands and five pre-schools in Sweden. Additional funding has enabled your school and its partners to be part of a research project using digital technology with young children. This advanced thinking has had a strong impact on children’s early technology skills and adults’ ability to teach this aspect of the development of children’s skills. 

Governors are very supportive and present good levels of challenge to you and your staff. They carry out learning walks and receive regular reports from staff members to keep them fully informed of daily practice. Governors have invested heavily in improving facilities and teaching. They have employed an educational consultant to deliver good-quality training to ensure that practitioners develop their knowledge and skills to the highest level. They monitor children’s achievement carefully and ensure that all groups achieve equally, for example boys and girls.

They have a good knowledge of how the early years pupil premium is spent and the impact that this has on the small number of eligible children. They receive regular assessment updates and as a result, know how well different groups of children are doing.  All adults carry out regular observations of children and you and your deputy headteacher keep a careful check on children’s progress. Photographic evidence and annotated notes are recorded in teacher project books and children’s ‘learning together’ journals.

These journals capture activities at home as well as school, as parents are actively encouraged to add their comments. This adds to staff knowledge about individual children. However, teachers’ assessments of children’s abilities when they join the nursery are occasionally too low. Additionally, procedures are not in place to collect systematically evidence of the different areas of learning for each child at the point of entry. This detracts from leaders’ ability to track children’s progress over time in all areas of the curriculum accurately and take action to accelerate progress for individual children. 

Adults maximise every learning opportunity to promote children’s communication and language skills. They model spoken and written language clearly so that children learn to use correct pronunciation of letters and sounds and full sentences. They use skilful questioning to check children’s understanding and probe their thinking. Indoor and outdoor spaces are used well to encourage collaboration with other children and social interaction. Snack time is also used effectively to encourage children to talk about what they are learning.

Children who do not speak English are supported well and staff make good use of sign language and gestures to communicate with children who are at an early stage of learning to speak English. Successful strategies ensure that newly arrived children quickly acquire age-related language skills. Children with special educational needs and/or disabilities are also well supported; speech and language therapy is accessed for children who have a delay with their communication and language skills.

There are many strengths in the taught curriculum and children make the greatest gains in their personal, social and emotional development and their physical development. Rapid progress is also made in technology and in using materials and media. This is because children have daily opportunities to develop these skills and are guided well by adults. Opportunities to count are built into different activities and children are regularly encouraged to write their name or use their mark-making skills to depict their thinking. Adults share stories to encourage a love of reading and phonics skills are taught well. However, children do not independently select books during their choosing time and do not have reading material to take home. The school’s own information last year shows that children make less progress in reading than in writing.

Teaching provides children with an exciting and relevant range of activities and experiences. Activities often build on the children’s interests and follow a theme. For example, in learning about spiders, children showed high levels of engagement and sustained periods of concentration in making spiders out of clay. This was then developed by looking at or painting pictures of spiders.

Effective adult support in the outdoors strongly promotes teamwork and the development of gross motor skills. A penalty shoot-out enabled children to practise and hone their football skills. Giggles and cheers demonstrated the clear levels of enjoyment experienced by all those who participated. Other activities, such as exploring the mud kitchen and making vehicles out of construction materials, promoted children’s ability to be imaginative to good effect.

Parents have very positive views of the school and greatly appreciate and value the work of you and your staff. Typical comments include, ‘Phoenix Nursery School truly is a home away from home for the children’ and ‘The school has been amazing for my child.

All staff are really supportive.’ Communication methods, including use of social media, text messages, letters, emails and the school’s website all serve to keep parents fully informed of school news and events. You have also worked hard at encouraging parents to be involved in their child’s learning. Work packs are sent home to parents and video links are provided to demonstrate how parents can help their children.

Termly ‘learning together’ sessions provide opportunities for staff to feed back to parents on their child’s progress and for parents themselves to work alongside their children and witness the activities that their children participate in. Parents have a good understanding of how well their children are doing as a result. All parents report that their children are happy and safe.
Next steps for the school
Leaders and those responsible for governance should ensure that:    adults provide children with more opportunities to develop and extend their reading skills  teachers assess children’s starting points in all areas of the early years curriculum on entry to the school and use the information to track progress with greater accuracy.
I am copying this letter to the chair of the governing body, the regional schools commissioner and the director of children’s services for Wolverhampton. This letter will be published on the Ofsted website.
Yours sincerely
Heather Simpson Ofsted Inspector


L- R Councillor Rita Potter - Phil Bateman MP and  Mary Bateman MP, Labour. Picture by Shaun Fellows / Shine Pix

News from around Wednesfield North and a little beyond!

News from around Wednesfield North and a little beyond!

  • The next Village to us of Essington hads a Bye – Election tonight. Their Polls closed at 10.00pm.
  • The result of the election is – Result from the Essington Parish Council by-election tonight is that James William Slim (Independent) was elected to the Essington Central Ward.
  • Councillor James Slim received 464 votes, Catherine Kitson received 254 votes – turnout was 31.7%
  • Whilst on Essington I have around 10 pieces of correspondence which I have responded to, relating to Pot Holes in Essington/ Residents of Staffordshire who approached me for help & advice.
  • Ecclestone Road Pot Holes – Confirmation that on the 31 st Jan the pot holes were treated

Did you know that Wednesfield Market Offers 26 street stalls, Wednesfield Market offers shoppers a real choice of competitively priced products for the whole family including: Stalls include – fruit and vegetables, confectionery, cakes and biscuits, clothing, gifts and cards, plants and household items

There is also a Bric-a-brac Market On Wednesdays, Wednesfield Market hosts a bustling bric-a-brac market where many unusual items can be purchased.

Opening Times

Tuesday – 8am to 3.30pm

Wednesday (bric-a-brac mixed market) 8am to 3.30pm

Friday  – 8am to 3.30pm

Saturday – 8am to 3.30pm

See and you can lead into my Twitter account and my Facebook account from that page.