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For the fifth year running, every child in Lambeth whose application was on time has been offered a secondary school place. 80% of children have been offered a place at their first or second preference school in the Borough. This is in stark contrast to the 500 children who found themselves without an offer of a school place when a Tory-Lib Dem coalition ran Lambeth Council 2002-2006.

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Lambeth has gone from being the worst performing education authority in the country to one of the best in the country. 96% of our schools are now good or better and 40% are outstanding. That ranks us in the top 15 of 152 local authorities. This is an incredible transformation, but it has been hard won. It comes from partnerships between schools and the local authority, and reflects the remarkable efforts of students, parents, teachers, head teachers, school staff and Lambeth’s officers, as well as political vision and commitment. It also reflects the high needs funding that the last Labour Government instituted, as well as the success of the London Challenge and our wider school reforms. Anyone who lives in Lambeth will have seen this transformation, founded by a Labour Government and delivered in partnership with a Labour Council, over the last decade.

 

However, all of this hard work is at risk....

The Government is proposing a new National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools by 2018/19. We as Prince’s Councillors are extremely concerned about how this will impact on our schools in Lambeth, and in particular on the schools in our area.

The new funding formula is intended to even out funding to schools that historically have been underfunded. In reality, however, the Conservatives are breaking their manifesto promise to protect schools funding. Half of schools gain from the changes, but half lose out badly, including Lambeth. This is because the new funding arrangements do not take into account areas with higher need, such as more children on free school dinners. Currently Lambeth receives extra support for children who speak English as a second language, have special needs, come from a deprived background or who are refugees. All of these groups are of much higher prevalence in Lambeth than in other areas, yet thrive much more here than other areas because of our commitment to education. But all that success is at risk. Lambeth is, along with Hackney, Lewisham and Camden, the worst hit borough in London from the Government’s changes to schools’ funding.

 

How will the affect our schools in Vauxhall and Kennington?

The National Union of Teachers estimates a 16% real terms cut for Lambeth. That’s £24,452,873 cut from education in Lambeth by 2019.

In Kennington and Vauxhall, local schools will see the following funding reductions by 2019:

·         Archbishop Sumner - £823 per pupil

·         St Anne’s - £636 per pupil

·         Vauxhall Primary school - £727 per pupil

·         Walnut Tree Walk - £546 per pupil

·         Lilian Baylis - £1024 per pupil (£636, 952 total lost budget by 2019)

What’s next?

Lambeth Labour has written to every school, setting out our position and support for them, asking schools to join us in the campaign and asking for evidence of what they think the impact will be on their school. Already, across Lambeth we’ve heard concerns that the changes will result in teacher and support staff redundancies and less equipment and resources to fund the general curriculum. We’re particularly concerned about the equalities impact of these changes on vulnerable groups due to the make-up of our schools, so we’ve also asked schools what they fear the impact could be on specialist support for those groups as well. Are you concerned about these changes? Please sign our petition to let the Government know! 

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 Councillors heard at Full Council last month a deputation from parents concerned about the impact on their schools. This week we also joined Fair Funding Lambeth at a an extremely well-attended public meeting at Sunnyhill Primary School, where we heard from Lib Peck, Leader of Lambeth Council. Chuka Umunna MP, the General Secretary of the NUT and dozens of parents and teachers. We plan to hold a similar meeting in Vauxhall soon.

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How can I campaign against this?

 

A group of parents have set up a campaign group called Fair Funding for All Schools: http://www.fairfundingforallschools.org/

Lambeth has its own branch called Fair Funding Lambeth. If you are interested in getting involved in their campaign, we encourage you to join their Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/FairFundingLambeth/ and follow them on Twitter: @FairFundLambeth

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Lambeth Councillors have joined Fair Funding Lambeth in calling on the Government to invest more funding in schools. In particular, we are calling on the Government to provide an additional £335m per year (1% of the Department for Education’s schools budget) to ensure no school loses funding as a direct result of the implementation of the NFF. Please sign our petition if you agree that our schools need investment, not cuts.
And please forward to your friends and family to ask them to sign too.

 

Please also read and share this impassioned blog by our Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and neighbouring colleague in Oval, Cllr Claire Holland: http://www.lambeth-labour.org.uk/tory_cuts_to_our_schools

Best wishes,

Prince’s Labour Action Team

Cllr Joanne Simpson, Cllr David Amos, Cllr Vaila McClure & candidate Jon Davies

Fair Funding For All Schools

For the fifth year running, every child in Lambeth whose application was on time has been offered a secondary school place. 80% of children have been offered a place at their...

We are now in the final days of the consultation asking local residents how they think the tax the Council receives from residential and office development in the area should be spent in order to strengthen communities, tackle inequality, and provide opportunities for local people.  

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CLIP engagement day where Lambeth Council invited community leaders and stakeholders to talk about CLIP

 

Prince’s and Oval Councillors have been knocking on doors throughout the week and every Saturday and Sunday during the consultation, speaking to people about their spending priorities for Kennington and Vauxhall. We have also been speaking about the CLIP at local primary and secondary schools, parents’ coffee mornings, local Tenant and Resident Association meetings, our advice surgeries, local community meetings, GP practices and patient liaison groups. We have captured a huge range of views and ideas - almost 1,000 responses so far. If you have not yet completed the survey, please make sure you do so here by Friday 24th February.

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Cllr Claire Holland speaking with Archbishop Tennyson school council reps

We’ve door-knocked every single housing estate in our two wards, in order to make sure that harder-to-reach residents also have their voice heard. We’ve also leafleted almost every street in the area. If you have not yet heard from us, and would like to know more about the CLIP, please get in touch.

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Prince's Councillors out talking to Vauxhall 5 estate residents with local Labour party volunteers

Ideas can be big or small. Suggestions could be simple ‘physical’ things like cycle racks, a street gym, or a planting box. Perhaps it could be suggesting an area which attracts crime or flytipping, and you have some ideas about how it could be redesigned to tackle this. Some residents have nominated, for example, redesigning the public space outside the parade of shops on Vauxhall Street. For some ideas about how we can make our streets healthier and more attractive and inviting for all, please read here

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One possible proposal for improving Tyers St put forward by TRA for Vauxhall Gardens Esate

It could be that you have an idea about a project your TRA or local community group would like to be involved in, such as setting up a community gardening group, or you would like help putting on more things to do for children in half term or activities for older people. Perhaps you know of a community hall which you don’t feel is being utilised enough for the benefit of the community? Some residents have suggested Pedlars Acre Hall, for example, and telling us stories of how tea dances used to take place there.

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Cllr Joanne Simpson at Kennington's Bright Education, meeting children at risk of being excluded from school but who are now receiving mentoring and support

Suggestions can also be revenue-based, albeit the nature of the funding pot means that these projects must be time-limited, or match-funded. An example is a community youth worker for three years, or language classes, or perhaps a parents’ support network for new parents in the area who don’t know anyone or what support is out there? Unfortunately by law, money from CLIP cannot be spent on replacing Council services that have been cut, such as street cleaning, or on replenishing our Council housing stock.

Some people have suggested a work experience co-ordinator for local young people who are unsure what they want to do once they leave school. We have made a big effort to talk to as many young people as possible during this process, for they are our area’s future and yet often do not participate in ‘official’ consultations such as this. We are conscious as Councillors that we live in an area where significant wealth and privilege co-exists with extreme poverty and disadvantage. Lots of our children get great opportunities through their families’ networks and social capital. Lots of others less so. Kids living on our estates don’t always have the same opportunities: their Dad doesn’t know someone who works in an architects’ firm, homework isn’t a priority in the evening because they’re caring for younger siblings when Mum’s at work with one of her two jobs. Speak to these young people, though, and they do have ambition and interests and dreams. Loud and clear they are telling us that they would like to see from the CLIP a youth hub which is designed by them where they can go get advice on post-school options, how to access apprenticeships, update their CVS, set up their own business, take part in taster sessions of different trades. Do you have a young person in your family or know someone in the area? Please encourage them to tell us what they want from the CLIP by completing the survey Young Lambeth Coop has devised.

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Cllrs hearing from Young Lambeth Coop representatives how to engage with young people

And remember, please share the CLIP survey with all of your friends, colleagues, neighbours and family in the area. We look forward to receiving as many views as possible during this final week of the consultation.

 

Cllr Joanne Simpson, Cllr David Amos and Cllr Vaila McClure - Prince's ward

Cllr Jack Hopkins, Cllr Claire Holland and Cllr Jane Edbrooke - Oval ward

FINAL CHANCE TO TELL US HOW YOU THINK MONEY SHOULD BE SPENT IN OUR COMMUNITIES

We are now in the final days of the consultation asking local residents how they think the tax the Council receives from residential and office development in the area should be spent...

It has been widely reported, if not always fully understood, that local authorities are taking a massive financial hit.  This is especially true in Lambeth, where over half of our core budget will be gone in ten years.  Labour-run authorities are the hardest hit too.  More recent headlines have been dominated by the financial difficulties which the NHS is experiencing right across the country.  At a time when local residents have greater needs, health and social care services have to do a lot more with a lot less.

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This is not just about scary headlines and worrying statistics but real life individual stories experienced by residents living in Prince’s and Oval wards.  For some residents, the problem is now, for others it is what could be round the corner.  Successive governments have serially reorganised structures and systems in order to promote effective integrated health and social care services.  Most attempts are never given the time to succeed.  There has never been a more important time for the NHS, social care and other vital services to work together to make the most of a diminishing resource and meet the needs of residents with seamless precision.

One of the roles of a local councillor is to bring together and link up what services are available.  Signposting what exists and connecting up busy people unaware of what others are up to.  A supplementary role is spotting where the gaps are, which are often hidden by statistical analysis which works on averages and the majority of experiences.  Councillors in Prince’s and Oval wards are currently undertaking a major exercise in consulting residents, businesses and local organisations on how best to spend the money which the Council gets from residential and business developments.  One clear message being heard loud and clear is that local people and local organisations want to know more about what is available and to work more closely together.

Local councillors have already knocked on hundreds of doors and approached dozens of vital local organisations in order to see on what people want the Council to spend the Community Local Investment Panel (CLIP) money.  This activity is not only generating lots of ideas but also helping to connect people up, in turn building stronger communities as part of the process.  If you would like to give your views please do contact one of your local councillors or complete the Council’s survey at www.lambeth.gov.uk/op-wards.  We really want to hear from you.

Councillor David Amos

Prince's Ward

Connecting up with CLIP

It has been widely reported, if not always fully understood, that local authorities are taking a massive financial hit.  This is especially true in Lambeth, where over half of our...

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