Skip to main content

Lib Dems politicise school admissions committee

We’ve just been given some really shocking news about the school admissions forum – the body which oversees almost all aspects of Southwark’s school admissions.

Many readers will already know about the chaotic allocation of primary school places in East Dulwich and Nunhead for 2009-10, when the council hugely underestimated the demand for places in local schools and failed to provide enough staff to administer the process adequately. Having a cross party appraoch on the admissions forum was essential to ensuring that officers were challenged to improve the process this year.

With the apparent support of Peckham Rye Lib Dems, Southwark’s Lib Dem/Tory coalition, have thrown the Labour representative off the committee, without any explanation. Southwark Labour’s Education spokesperson Cllr Veronica Ward had been a member of the School Admissions Forum for almost four years, before being chucked off at a meeting of Lib Dems and Tories on Monday night. She had attended the forum far more regularly than either the Lib Dem or Tory representatives. It is suspected that the parties running the town hall were not comfortable with a Labour member being present to challenge their approach.

Both the Lib Dems and Tories have kept their place on the forum, despite the Conservative Party holding less than a quarter of Labour’s seats in the council chamber and despite them only managing to attend four meetings, to Veronica's 14, over the last three years.

Back in October the admissions forum was given the specific task of reviewing the unintended consequences of the admissions distance criteria whereby failure to get into the nearest school (because of its small catchment area) may work against getting into the second and other nearest schools. It now remains unclear if the Lib Dem-Tory Committee will be taking this task seriously.

Southwark Labour’s Education and Children’s Services spokesperson, Cllr Veronica Ward said in reaction to the move:

“I just can’t understand what’s happened with this decision. Parents in East Dulwich and Peckham Rye have genuine concerns about the way the admissions process for primary schools is handled and I want to fight their corner. But the Lib Dems and Tories have chosen put their own interests ahead of the interests of the parents they’re here to serve. “

“They’d rather pretend that everything’s OK than resolve the serious issues.”


Popular posts from this blog

Details of events in August and September funded through the Nunhead and Peckham Rye Community Council Fund

Below is a table showing a list of events that will be taking place in the Nunhead and Peckham Rye area thanks to funding from the community fund. If you're interested in any of the event and you want further details, please e-mail the contact addresses given in the table.

If you're having trouble reading the table, click on it to make it bigger.

Free schools: A project cooked up by Tories who claim to be committed to social mobility has failed our children

(This post from Victoria about the closure of 'Southwark Free School', first appeared on LabourList.)

Last week saw the demise of yet another free school. Southwark Primary, which opened four-and-a-half-years ago in temporary buildings, will hastily close by February half-term never having made it to its permanent site, after being developed at great public expense. As Southwark council steps in to pick up the pieces and find places for children at other local schools it is difficult not to grind the axe about the government’s free school programme. We remain pragmatic that the programme is here to stay. However the government must reconsider the need for free school applicants to have a local and outstanding educational experience. At a time when many areas are experiencing a shortage of school places, and schools’ budgets are being cut, they must also stop wasting money building schools where there is no established demand. The story of free schools in Southwark makes clear …

A Proud Record. A Fairer Future

Vote for Victoria & Renata on 3rd May – Two Local Voices for Peckham Rye, with Labour Values
Being a councillors for Peckham Rye since 2010 has been an honour and we're seeking your support once again in the forthcoming local elections on 3rd May.

We are proud of our record since 2010. We have:-

- Introduced free swim and gym for all residents;

- Introduced free healthy school meals for all primary school children and now plan to roll them out to school nurseries;

- Raised standards across our schools and created more school places;

- We’re building new council homes and making existing ones warm, dry and safe with quality kitchens and bathrooms so now 97% are decent;

- We’ve kept all our libraries open and opened new ones;

- We have the best recycling rate in inner London; and we have made the borough cleaner, greener and safer.

We have done all of this while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in government have slashed the council’s budget and made it harder to deliver…