Blog 16 Aug 20A number of parents have raised their concerns this week in respect of the exam grades awarded to some secondary students, and rightly so… This was after the Covid-19 pandemic cancelled all exams this year, and therefore grades would have to be determined by evidence based teachers‘ assessment of grades and statistical standardisation processes.

According to a press release by the Department of Education, Sport and Culture the results released by Cambridge International Assessment (CIA) give an incomplete picture for most results, and the Department is working with head teachers to challenge the results which have distressed many students and families.

I can only hope that the situation can be resolved as quickly as possible, and definitely ahead of the next academic year.

The other story that caught everyone’s attention last weekend was that the Aurigny chartered flight to the Isle of Man had to be diverted to Manchester Airport briefly because Ronaldsway Airport was still closed…

A little embarrassing for the Isle of Man and for Aurigny Airlines, and as the political member responsible for Ports I received further details on the situation earlier this week. It was simply down to a breakdown in communication, but let’s hope it doesn’t happen again.

I also need to thank the Department of Education and the Department of Infrastructure for looking again at two very difficult Constituent issues over the past couple of weeks.

This week the Department of Education overturned its original decision during an appeal hearing, for which I am extremely grateful on behalf of the family concerned that contacted me a couple of weeks ago.

The other one related to an urgent housing application. Hopefully, Onchan Commissioners will now be able to provide the right property that actually matches the applicants‘ housing need.

I was also tagged into various messages this week in respect of an incident of anti social behaviour in and around Onchan Park, which involved a large group of youths. As an MHK I have contacted the police, in order to see if foot patrols in Onchan could be increased during the summer months.

With one incident now being investigated by the police I won’t comment further until their investigations have concluded.

As for the rest of my week, I didn’t really want to mention it in last week’s blog, but I celebrated my 51st birthday last Saturday. I was truly humbled by the amount of messages received. It was a very quiet birthday in respect of celebrations this year, but we did go to The Caff on Lord Street for breakfast before calling into B & Q to collect some materials.

The rest of the day was spent in the garden building the new seating area, which took up most of the day. After the wettest July for over 30 years, it was great to have some good weather for a change, and as I mentioned in a separate post the seating area is around 21 feet long split into three sections (10ft by 7ft, along with a foot stool of 4ft).

On Sunday I was in the office just after 7am to do a few jobs and to print a couple of reports off, but once home most of the day was spent in the garden once again, and by the time I finished spray painting the new seating blue I looked like a “Smurf”, which was a little embarrassing on Monday going into meetings with slightly blue hands.

Just a couple of flower borders and a new BBQ to be built and my work in this section of the garden will be done.

I was back in the office before 8am on Monday and it was definitely a correspondence day, along with trying to catch up with any emails left over from the weekend.

Just after 9.30am I headed up to Nobles site and Public Health for a meeting relating to my role as the Children’s Champion. From there I went down to the road to the Isle of Man Creamery for a meeting with the Managing Director and their Finance Director, which lasted around 90 minutes.

I was back at the office for around 12 noon and the next few hours were spent at the desk responding to what felt like a continuous stream of correspondence, along with trying to respond to a couple of department papers.

Towards 15.30 Lawrie Hooper, MHK and I headed down to the Sea Terminal for the latest DOI Douglas Promenade Scheme Political Oversight Board meeting, and despite recently joining the Department I am still very keen to follow the promenade works on behalf of the island’s tourism sector.

I continued to table various questions relating to Broadway and Summer HIll, in order to ensure that they are open for traffic on 8th September.

Once the meeting concluded I headed home just before 17.00, but in the evening I still needed to deal with an ongoing exchange of correspondence relating to a housing application that I am asking DOI to review on behalf of an Onchan Constituent at the moment, which has hopefully been resolved.

I finally finished for around 19.00.

As for Tuesday, both Ellen and I were at home but I started work just before 7am, in order to start going through the DfE agenda pack. Just after 8am we headed off to Tesco and B & Q and took the opportunity to have breakfast at Cycle 360.

Back home to finish off going through the DfE order paper and to start going through DEFA’s Agriculture and Land Directorate papers that went into hundreds of pages. Towards lunchtime I headed outside to take advantage of the excellent weather, and to start building a 16ft planter for the patio area.

I was back in the house for 15.00, in order to catch up with correspondence and to continue going through the DEFA order papers and writing some notes until around 19.30.

I also had to take a couple of very difficult constituent calls, one relating to rent arrears and a landlord trying to significantly increase the rent on a property – not easy to help or to interfere with, unfortunately.

On Wednesday I was in the office before 8am and the day started with me drafting a couple of very long constituent letters, one relating to a tenancy agreement. I then walked over to DfE for the usual political members meeting before the board meeting.

With no agency updates this week we were able to get through the order paper relatively quickly and I was back in the office for around 11.30am. Straight back into correspondence, emails and phone calls before I took the opportunity to head home at lunchtime.

At 13.00 I logged into the DEFA Agriculture & Lands Directorate meeting which lasted around 90 minutes before I was able to get into the garden for an hour. In fact other than dialling into the DEFA Regulation Directorate Meeting that lasted around an hour at 16.00 I continued to work in the garden until around 19.00 – definitely trying to take full advantage of the wonderful weather this week.

I then spent the last hour or so returning a couple of urgent calls and emails before I finally finished for around 20.45.

As for Thursday, I was in the office just after 7.30am because I wanted to finish early, but also due to the fact that I had a meeting with Glenys Johnston, Safeguarding Chair at around 8.30am.

The next hour or so was spent on the Landlord Registration (Private Housing) Bill 2020 before I walked over to DfE for a motorsport meeting with the Director of Motorsport. This was followed by a meeting with Committee Members from Andreas Racing Association who wanted to discuss certain items.

Back to the office just before 12.30 and straight into a meeting with a number of taxi drivers who wanted to raise several points of concern. Just enough time to send a couple of messages before walking down to the Sea Terminal for a political team meeting on Landlord Registration (Private Housing) Bill 2020.

A very good meeting, which enabled me to highlight the points raised from a meeting I held with various landlords a few weeks ago.

Once the meeting finished I took the opportunity to discuss the housing application that I have mentioned with the housing office, and again I am extremely grateful to Debbie and Eric for listening to points that I raised, in order to enable Onchan to look again at this applicant.

Back to the office for 16.30 and then straight home to return a few calls before getting in the garden for a couple of hours.

As for Friday I had a choice to make – either finish off a couple of projects, along with a planning application appeal and a couple of department papers or continue working in garden taking advantage of the fantastic weather at the moment.

Although some of the work is urgent it can wait until the weekend, so I was in the garden from 8am spray painting the new planter and doing other garden chores. That said, you are never really off duty so I still needed to spend a couple of hours returning calls and emails etc, but still a very enjoyable day on the whole.

As for the weekend, I have my Political Surgery at the Onchan Committee Hub between 10am and 11.30am on Saturday morning and I will also have to go into the office over the weekend, in order to complete one particular project that relates to a group of Onchan residents that I met a couple of weeks ago.

I also have to find a few hours over the weekend to review a planning appeal application on behalf of DEFA, which will certainly take up a few hours over the weekend, along with drafting the response etc.

Onchan is also holding its Community Day on Saturday, but I am not entirely sure if I can find the time on this occasion, we will see…