School Food Hygiene – Still A Problem

sfhrsweb5I’m really chuffed that my expose of shockingly low school food hygiene standards two years ago has crystallised into massive improvements. But their is still more that needs to be done.

Southwark’s 118 school, nurseries and colleges now have 95 x 5 stars, 18 x 4 stars, 4 x 3 stars and 1 x 2 stars – and that school has asked for a re-inspection and talking to them I think will do much better.

Lambeth is now trailing behind Southwark on this with of its 99 schools 85 x 5 stars, 9 x 4 stars, 2 x 3 stars but 2 x 1 stars Major Improvement Necessary. This is still shocking and I’m sure The London Nautical School and Wyvil Infants primary School must be planning to sort this out. They are imperilling children’s health.

1 star


If you’d like to see your child, grandchild, niece, nephew school food hygiene rating search here for Southwark and here for Lambeth.

New East dulwich Primary School – Planning Permission

Next Tuesday 14 July the Planning Committee will decide whether to grant planning permission for a new Harris East Dulwich Primary School.

I hope they do. The council planning officers recommendation is to grant permission. You can see the full report here.

I have written in support of the scheme. But I have asked for the Planning Committee to leave the proposed kerb buildout on Handcraft Road for the Dulwich Community Council to decide. Council officers have asked for the kerb to be increased from 2.1m wide to 3.5m and for 55m. This is clearly ridiculous and no other local school has such a vast area outside one of its entrances.

A separate application to demolish the current structure has also been submitted. They plan to start demolition on Wednesday 5 August.

Fingers crossed for next Tuesday.

Human Capital

Energy company SSE have just published a report, the first report in the UK, where they’ve commissioned PWC to calculate the value of their ‘human capital’. They’ve calculated it to be £3.4bn.

The calculations are based on assessing the expected lifetime earning of each SSE employee based other skills and qualifications and then factored of how long each employee was likely to stay with SSE. With nearly 20,000 employees these predictions based on averages make sense. In fact they calculated the average ‘human capital’ at £173,000 per head.

A really nice finding was that each apprentices generated £4.29 for all apprentice types, £7.65 for technical apprentices, for every one pound spent.

I wonder what the human capital for the whole of Southwark would be?

Dulwich & West Norwood – my local priorities

If elected as your MP this Thursday my local priorities – above and beyond the Lib Dem national manifesto are:

  • Helping solve the local schools crisis through opening new schools, building in the right places. I have already ensured an extra 3,100 primary and secondary schools places locally. But we need at least another 1,500 school places.
  • Saving local libraries. Lambeth Council is planning to close 5 libraries and downsize two others. We have shown through building new libraries such as John Harvard Library that if you build better libraries more people use them more. I’ve persuaded developers to give us a brand new Grove Vale Library in 2016. I will work to persuade Lambeth Labour to reverse these avoidable cuts.
  • Creating more apprenticeships and jobs. Local unemployment claiming benefits has fallen to 3.5% but the UK average is 2.5%. Apprenticeships have more than doubled under the coalition government – they’re a Lib Dem priority – but we can all do better at creating them helping to ensure lower unemployment and higher incomes over the longer-term.


GOOD LUCK – Gipsy Hill Federation New Secondary School Application

In the last Labour government over 250,000 schools places were removed from the system. They must have thought this a sensible plan. But it has contributed to the massive shortage of school places building up since 2009/10.

Locally I have initiated and led new free school campaign that bring an extra 3,100 school places to Dulwich & West Norwood. Not a free school in the area has not had lots of local Lib Dem involvement. Some of these have been directly opposed by Labour councils.

But we still have a looming shortage of secondary school places in West Norwood/Gipsy Hill area. That’s why I support the Gipsy Hill Federation of primary schools to create a new secondary school. They made an earlier application that didn’t succeed. They’re about to submit their second application – GOOD LUCK. We’re all rooting for you to succeed and bring outstanding secondary school places to the area.

Harris Nunhead Primary School – proposal withdrawn

Today the Harris Federation requested that the proposal for a new Harris Nunhead Primary School be withdrawn.

Please see the letter here: Proposed Harris Primary Academy Nunhead 2

It seems unlikely that the Education Finance Agency will refuse this request.

The proposal had generated much opposition from people concerned it would reduce the amount of space for a new secondary school on the Dulwich Hospital site but also people not surprisingly unwilling to send their children the 1-2 miles from the Nunhead/east East Dulwich area to a new primary school at the Dulwich Hospital site. Harris Federation have listened to the consultation and acted accoridngly in good faith.

I am still unconvinced that we will have sufficient primary school places for local families – and am seeking to meet Southwark COuncil forecasters to review the numbers.

We now need to ensure that blocking this new primary school does result in the largest possible secondary school – without compromising any new health centre facilities.

What do you think?

2015 Secondary School Admissions

Today is secondary school admissions being announcement day – from 5pm online and letters overnight. 2,637 on time secondary scghool place applications, 42 higher than last year.

Summary of preferences allocated to Southwark residents Secondary 09-15

Slight reduction in people being offered their first preference 59.6% (61.4% in 2014), first three preference 86.5% (88.5% in 2014), 93.2% first 6 preferences (94.4% in 2014), 6.8% none of their choices (5.7% 2014). So 179 children not allocated any school their parents and they wished for and 355 families didn’t get one of their first three choices.

If anyone needs help please get in touch. It is amazing how much of s shake down happens and families ultimately getting acceptable school places.
Secondary Transfer 2015 QA Information Pack

All going well the following year families will have an extra local secondary school to choose from.

ARK Globe Wins Award

I was delighted to hear that the ARK Globe Academy has won a £5,000 qualifying away in the annual Pupil Premium Awards – WELL DONE.

I hope they do really well in the next stage where schools can win £250,000 for showing exemplary leadership in using their Pupil Premium funding.

Nick Clegg visit ARK Globe Academy:

Nick Clegg visit







Dulwich Hospital Spare Land RELEASED

A year ago I submitted a Right to Contest the spare land at the Dulwich Hospital site. This right was created by Lib Dems in the coalition government.

Please see the letter from the Rt Hon Francis Maude MP – Minister for the Cabinet Office – NMP625917

I’m delighted at last to report that as a direct result of my request the spare land has now been added to the Register of Surplus Public Land. This is a key pre requisite for any new use such as new schools.

NHS property have held back 11,300m3 of the 28,300m2 for the new health centre. So I will check whether more than the 17,000m2 can be released at this point. In public meeting they’ve said they’ll only need 7,000-9,000m2 for the new health centre. I suspect they’re being ultra cautious.

Patience is a virtue I have little of but I’m delighted that all the chasing by myself and Lib Dem colleagues at all levels of local, regional and national government and the support of the Cabinet Office has been successful.

This prepares the ground for the Educational Finance Agency to tell us its decision of whether they’ve selected either The Charter School or Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation to open a new secondary school for us and have a site to house it in.