Posts Tagged ‘schools’

Fantasy school places found!

April 28, 2010

The primary school places shortage is starting to hit.

From the News Shopper:

by Kelly Smale
A COUNCIL is doubling the amount of reception children at a school despite it not having room for them.

Brindishe Community School, in Wantage Road, Lee, is being forced to take on 60 reception children in September rather than the usual 30.

Lewisham Council sent letters to parents offering places at the school even though the headteacher told the council it would not be possible to find room for them.

Read the rest of the article.

The article also mentions that the Council has “created” 510 such extra places, that’s 33 short of the extra need identified in February, a number that Council officers assumed was going to increase due to late submissions.

This Labour administration has failed to plan for the increase in numbers of primary school places. There was advance warning, there was an economic upturn, there were vacant sites that were potential opportunities for new schools.

Lewisham Labour wasted all these opportunities and now is inventing school places out of thin air.

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Letters

April 13, 2010

The letters in the South London Press are getting increasingly interesting, I’m preparing to some kind of response to my one that was published in the paper version of the SLP last Friday.

Complacency led to schools crisis

LEWISHAM Mayor Steve Bullock came to power promising a new secondary school for the north of the borough.

Eight years have passed and this mayor has not only been unable to deliver on that promise, he also created an even worse gap at primary school level for the whole of the borough!

The news that this year there are 543 more applications for reception at Lewisham’s primary schools than available places is just shocking (“‘Crisis’ after applications for reception places soar”, South London Press, March 26).

All of our primaries will be overcrowded and hundreds of children will have to be crammed into portable buildings, music rooms and who knows what other unsuitable venue.

This was avoidable. The number of children in a borough varies over the years but we always know exactly how many are born in each year and can therefore make a fairly accurate ballpark estimate of the needs five years ahead.

Warnings about sharp increases in numbers had indeed been issued and decisive action was therefore required.

Reading the council’s schools strategy papers, one can find no trace of any meaningful effort to try to provide enough school places for those numbers of children.

That’s why we are where we are.

Complacency!

As a community campaigner who has been long aware of the shortcomings of this administration I am not surprised, but as a father of a child about to start school in Lewisham I feel a special kind of anger at this news.

Max Calò

Lewisham Central candidate

Liberal Democrats

Lewisham primary schools short of 543 reception level places

March 26, 2010

6.16 As of the end of January 2010 cut-off date, 3699 First Preference applications had been received on time for the 3156 Reception places available.

It’s impossible to exaggerate the impact of the numbers revealed in the Mayor and Cabinet papers of 24th February (link to document) and that the South London Press reports about today.
The sobering news is that next year Lewisham will be short of 543 reception level primary school places.

If we weren’t so close to an election the Mayor would have to be forced out of his seat for his inability to face up to the most basic needs of the community he is supposed to look after.

This report to the Mayor is full of explanations about why we are where we are, but on the side of the administration there are no excuses, the fact is that they saw it coming, and didn’t rise to the challenge.

Over 500 children and families will suffer greatly. A whole generation of Lewisham’s children will receive a reduced service, overcrowded classes, not enough teacher’s attention, insufficient play area. All of this at that most crucial stage of their education. As I said, the consequences are immense.

Pathetic excuse for lack of primary school places

January 29, 2010

From South London Press:

Lewisham Mayor Sir Steve Bullock said: “The main reason for the extra demand is the housing market.

“People who are living in properties in Lewisham who had every intention of moving are now stuck and need to find school places here.”

Pathetic isn’t it? He knew that there was a shortage coming, I knew there was a shortage coming coming for sure, everyone knew there was a shortage coming.
That warning gave the opportunity to plan ahead, the Council didn’t take the opportunity.
In the light of the projections in primary school needs the Council should have reviewed its plans at least a year ago but they left it to last minute and the consequences will be paid by the children and their families starting with the beginning of the next school year.

If there is a thing that’s worse than a lack of secondary school places is a lack of primary school places, and when the data about this shortage emerged the decision to close Lewisham Bridge Primary to demolish it and re-open as an all through primary and secondary combined to include a reduced primary provision on site should have been reviewed.
What we’re now facing are overcrowded primaries and possibly parents being forced into long term stress to bring their children to school somewhere away from where they live or work.

Allow me a little “I told you so” moment and link to a comment I left at Brockley Central on 28th April 2009 when I wrote:

Another issue is that when the decision to use Lewisham Bridge Primary as the site for the new secondary was taken part of the motivation was that the number of children attending it was dwindling and it would have been sized down anyway.
At the time I attended the meeting of the decision and it was reported to the Mayor that the Head of the school had indeed asked for a reduction in size of the school.

Now we have new projections for needs of places at primary schools and the forecast is that we’ll need many more primary places than available so if the plan goes ahead then the Council will have to start thinking about a new Primary too, that means spending for building two schools instead of one.