Headteacher one day, Headteacher and Parliamentary candidate the next, standing for election even took Andrew Best by surprise.
As a full time Headteacher of two Worcestershire schools Andrew is taking his candidacy in Torfaen very seriously. He is eager that the voice of the public sector is being heard and wants to see more health and education workers in Parliament.
“I’m concerned that as a group we are under-represented and that we should be in Parliament leading on policy. In 2015, over 60% of MPs came from a business, finance or politics background, whereas only 13% of people came from an education or health background.”
However Andrew believes that lessons can be learnt from the Parliamentarians who listen and take on board the views of those in education and health. David Laws was the Liberal Democrat that introduced the Pupil Premium to temper Gove’s right wing policies. Kirsty Williams is listening to Welsh teachers to make improvements in Wales despite funding issues caused by Westminster. Andrew says “The money available to spend by the Welsh Government depends on the funding decisions in London. We have seen, over the last few years, a sustained reduction in resources available to the Welsh Government. But, despite that, this year we have seen an increase in the overall education budget and that includes money going to the pupil deprivation grant and making money available for reduction in infant class sizes.”
Andrew says: “Some of the policies of other parties are not supporting health and education and unlike Kirsty Williams they just don’t listen. Theresa May is betraying working families by scrapping school lunches. The Liberal Democrats provided a free hot meal at lunchtime for all infants and will extend to all primary school children, many of whom are from poorer working families. Theresa May is cynically taking those meals away and forcing families to pay, with a cost of £1000 for a family with two children in year 2 or below. On top of that we have party policy dreamed up on the whim of one person. Grammar Schools are the personal mission of Mrs May and would cause damage in England and waste resources. The more money that is spent ineffectively in England, the more likely that this will impact on us in Wales in reducing our deal.”
In Health the issues are the same, responding to a warning from the chairman of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GP committee that general practice is on the “brink of collapse,” Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb commented: “Instead of £350m a week for the NHS, under the Conservatives we’ve seen the health service being gradually run into the ground.
Andrew says “Health and Education need investment and our Welsh government needs to be given the finances to support a good deal in health and education. The long term deal is also under threat from a hard Brexit or the Brexit that the Labour party have no idea what it will look like. It is time that we increase the Liberal Democratic voice in Parliament but also get a voice for the public sector who fight daily for families and their rights on the ground.”
Andrew Best is the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Torfaen
Candidate for Torfaen
After studying Politics at the University, Andrew has worked in Primary and Middle Education sectors for nearly 20 years. He has been pivotal in driving improvements in a number of schools experiencing a range of challenging circumstances as a Headteacher. He has also worked for three local authorities in school improvement work. He is currently the Head of two schools.
Andrew moved to Wales in 2006 so that he could bring up a family of three children. He has enjoyed bringing up his children in the beautiful Welsh countryside and loves walking the hills around Blaneavon.
Andrew understands too well the demands on public services that are affecting people’s lives and livelihoods and believes that the area deserves a strong voice in Parliament to make sure that local issues are not overlooked.
Leaving the Single Market would be a disaster for jobs, businesses and the economy. With Torfaen's proud industrial heritage, future growth would be hit particularly hard by Conservatives plans to rip Britain out of the Single Market.
With his background in education, Andrew is also passionate that our children, the future of United Kingdom, should receive an education that is progressive, aspirational, innovative, creative and delivering of the highest standards. He is keen to support the work of fellow Welsh Liberal Democrats Mark Williams and Kirsty Williams and influence the debates on improving education.
Locally Andrew is concerned that education in Torfaen retains an emphasis on community needs if this is in the best interests of pupils, whether this is the retention of Sixth forms at the comprehensive level or small community-based Primaries that serve the vicinity.
Andrew will approach his candidature as he does his work, with a strong sense of professionalism, dedication and integrity. As a well respected and successful Headteacher, experienced in delivering improvements and working with a range of different stakeholders on a day to day basis, he is most qualified to deal with today’s turbulent political and economic landscape without losing touch with the people on the ground.