Southwark School Places

Southwark still faces a school places shortfall of 1,800.

Fortunately in the Dulwich area we’ve been working tirelessly since 2009 to stop this impacting locally. Lib Dem councillors have initiated or supported practically three new Primary schools – Harris Primary Academy East Dulwich, Judith Kerr Primary School, Belham Primary School, and one secondary school locally and one in the very north of the borough respectively The Charter School East Dulwich and  Borough Academy.

All were originally opposed by Southwark Council but fortunately they’ve become a reality – else the pupil place shortfall would be even worse. Ironically Southwark Council are now claiming ownership of these schools – you know when a campaign has been successful when someone else claims it for themselves.  It means we do not have a pupil place problem in the Dulwich area. Phew!

Southwark Labour Selling School Land

Southwark Labour have started the legal process to sell Southwark school Land at three locations.:

  1. 5,172m2 of playing fields at Angel Oak Academy (formerly Gloucester School) SE15 6FL
  2. 2,452m2 of plying fields Beormund Primary School SE1 3PS
  3. 1,078m2 Cherry Road Gardens School SE16 3XU

That’s a lot of school playing fields. Once lost impossible in Southwark to recreate o replace. They say they and will be used for housing. Also much needed. But the one thing we can sure of with an ever increasing Southwark population and huge home building plans is we will need more schools and often have to increase the size of existing schools. This school land should not be sold robbing children into the future of sufficient land to play.

Labour Southwark have a record of doing this sort of thing. Hence why The Charter School is so deficient of playing fields. Albion school was robbed of space only last year August 2016.

If you object to these school land and playing field sales email ASAP.

School Food Hygiene

All children should attend great schools. But they and their parents shouldn’t need to be concerned about basic food hygiene of school kitchens.

When I first raised the issue of poor school hygiene in Southwark in 2013 12 of our schools had only 3 star ratings. A year ago July 2015 it had broadly improved with the lowest ratings with 2 schools with 3 stars but 2 x 1 stars Major Improvement Necessary.

Currently no Southwark school has 3 stars and one has only 1 star. So big improvement needed.

1 star



But the Southwark website listing all Southwark school ratings was updated in June 2013.

But can we trust these ratings? of the 119 ratings 69 were inspected over 18 months ago – way past the recommended re inspection rate for schools. The oldest inspection recorded was 5 year 10 months ago!

Come on Southwark – do what’s right by the boroughs children and parents

Primary School Come Up Trumps

I was also under the impression that the London Challenge was fab. The London Challenge was established in 2003 to tackle underperformance in London secondary schools and significant secondary school performance improvements seemed to take place. This was sos successful that it was repeated to some degree in other English cities but without the same marked results. More recent research by The Institute of Fiscal Studies suggests otherwise which I was surprised by.

This research suggests this improvement was not from Teach First and the London Challenge but the improvement in primary school results which means that London primary school children go to secondary schools with high prior attainment, which is the biggest determinant in secondary school performance.

Well done to all our primary schools. I’m sorry your huge success has been hidden by inflating the results of other interventions.

Reading Challenge

This year’s summer holiday children’s reading challenge was again a success this year. Across Southwark we had 5,321 participants compared to 5,217 last year.

Dulwich Library had the highest number of participants with 1,048 (5% up on last year) and Grove Vale Library also did well with 170 participants (13% up on last year).

Library staff visit schools before the summer begins to tell the children about the summer holiday reading challenge and also do promotion in shopping centres, and other community venues to maximise participation.

The challenge is created by the Reading Agency who co-ordinate the scheme nationally and produce all the materials – log sheets, medals, etc. It’s aimed at 4-11 years olds to read six books during the long summer holidays.

Did your children take part?

Term Times

I read with amazement how the Local Government Association – the national trade body for councils – have suggested families should find it easier to take their children out of school and on holidays during school term times.
Local councils have nothing to stop them changing term times so that families can go on holiday outside the normal holiday times when holidays can be so very expensive.
The LGA and London councils are the ideal bodies to help facilitate all councils coordinating term times around in a manner so all families have the chance for cheaper holidays without causing other knock on impacts. But instead they’re telling us families should legitimately be able to bunk off school!
In Southwark we now have good attendance record for school children. This has taken a lot of hard work from teachers and families. Let’s not wreck all this great progress by a knee jerk avoidance of councils taking responsibility for when schools are on holidays.
If you think Southwark Council should move term time dates or not – please tell me.

New East Dulwich Secondary School

This project we started as East Dulwich Lib Dems in 2012 is really coming to life.

Last week the first two areas of Dulwich Hospital land were transferred to the Education finance Agency. Areas 1 & 2 with combined 2 acres or 0.80 hectares. This represents 9.6% of the whole sitesl and – so still a long way to go and Area 3 is planned to be handed over in 2019. Please see this map:

Dulwich Disposal site map

This letter confirms this happening – I almost need to pinch myself:

Dulwich Hospital trasfer letter FINAL

We now all need to work with the Charter East Dulwich project team and NHS to make this all happen smoothly for local residents, patients, and school community.





Southwark Children Health Exposed

In 2012 I exposed the debacle of Southwark Council not ensuring through inspections that all Southwark schools have safe food hygiene. Then a number of schools had shockingly low food hygiene scores and real issues to fix. Things have been improving. Or have they.

You can see Southwark school current food hygiene ratings here:

Currently we have:

1 x 2 * The play shelter Ltd, Snowfield Primary School, SE1

4 x 3* Surrey Square Primary School, SE17, St.Anthony’s RC Primary Schoo, SE22, Pembroke College mission, SE17, 1st choice day nursery, SE1.

15 x 4*’

98 x 5

But the following schools have not had any food hygiene inspections for some considerable time (over two years). The recommendation is yearly as children as young as 4 can not shop around or spot bad food hygiene practices. That a third of such schools have had no inspections to ensure they’re still providing safe healthy food for Southwark young people is shocking. I’m shocked at the rapid return to food hygiene complacency of Southwark Labour.

4*’s – school name – date of last inspection – not inspected for over 2 years

London Christian School, Porlock Hall, SE1 3RY 4 July 2012

Drummond Road ,SE16 6EE 13 September 2013

London College of Communications Student Union 30 August 2012


5*’s – school name – date of last inspection – not inspected for over 2 years

Comber Grove Primary School- 5 March 2013

Bacons College 14 March 2013

Bright lands 27 Jan 2011

Southwark College, Keens Road 24 Jan 2013

Harris Boys East Dulwich 25 Sept 2013

Dulwich Village CofE Infant 24 Feb 2012

Crampton Junior & Infant 13 July 2012

Pupil Referral Unit, Davey St 25 Nov 2014

St.Michael RC school 13 March 2012

St.Paul Primary School 3 July 2012

Tuke School, Daniel Garden? SE15 6ER 13 November 2010

Notre Dame RC girls school 118 St Georges Road SE1 6EX 11 December 2013

Haymerle School 17 May 2011

Highshore School 19 July 2012

Allen’s School 5 July 2012

Oliver Goldsmith Primary School, 83 Peckham Road, SE5 8UH 29 March 2012

St James the Great School 1 November 2011

Dog Kennel Hill School 26 January 2011

Boucher CofE school 26 November 2010

JAGS, 144 East Dulwich Grove 17 December 2010

JAGS, 2 Dulwich Village 23 January 2013

London Southbank University 23 November 2010

Newlines Schools, 14 March 2013

St.Francesca Cabrini school 15 February 2011

St.Georges CE school 27 November 2013

Snowfields Primary School 19 July 2012

Townsend Primary School 28 November 2012

Young Parents Education centre 17 September 2012



Haberdasher’s Comes to Southwark

I am delighted that Haberdasher’s Aske’s have applied to open a new co-ed secondary school in Southwark SE1.

When their application to open a school fell through in East Dulwich I helped introduce Haberdasher’s to the parents in SE1. They’d approached me for advice about making a secondary level free school happen. So I’ve now been involved in making five free schools happen.

Haberdasher’s have the highest ambitions for our Southwark children. Exactly the type of school provider we wish to add to all our other excellent school providers in Southwark.


Selling School Land

Southwark Council is twisting the arms of Albion Primary School to sell a significant part of its site. With that money the school will be rebuilt. The rebuild will I’m sure be lovely. But the principle is alarming. At the same time Southwark Council is spending millions on expanding schools that could be fully funded via the free school route.

The school governors and management appear positive and happy about these plans. And I wholly agree with single form entry schools becoming two form entry schools. Two form entry schools are more viable. Although already an Ofsted outstanding school with it’s extra size it will have the ability for more teacher specialisation.

But if this school was any where but inner London and Southwark the idea of halving the site would be ridiculous. The idea that a Southwark Council primary school would need to sell so much land to have decent new buildings would be anathema to the school and parents.

Which state school will be next for this treatment?