New education centre for Windmill given planning go-ahead

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Architect’s sketch of new education centre in Windmill Gardens

Lambeth’s Planning Department has approved plans for a new education centre at Windmill Gardens. The building will be used to run workshops for schools and other groups as well as supporting the regular programme of Windmill open days and other events.

Having a dedicated building will also allow the Friends of Windmill Gardens to expand their milling activities and develop a social enterprise selling flour to local bakeries, restaurants and retailers, as well as running baking workshops, to fund the education programme. The Friends will also be able to sell and store merchandise, which helps to raise much needed funds for the windmill. When it is not being used for Friends’ activities, the building will be available to hire, at affordable rates, by community groups and others.

Lambeth Council has provided £360,000 to fund the construction of the building and further fundraising is planned by the Friends to fund activities.

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Investing in apprenticeships

construction-for-security-services1.jpgJobs and apprenticeships for young people in Brixton Hill was one of our key pledges locally in the 2014 elections. Now, a new levy on developers could help to create hundreds of new apprenticeships for young people in Lambeth.

With millions of pounds of investment going into the borough across dozens of sites, the new ‘Employment and Skills’ planning document will help ensure that local people benefit from the growth that is taking place in the borough.

Addressing the skills gap and providing local people with the training and qualifications they need to secure good, well-paid jobs is a key focus of the SPD. Although the local economy is performing well in many respects, unemployment remains above the national average and 18% of working age residents lack basic skills (NVQ level 2 qualifications or higher). This means that local people often miss the opportunities available as a central London borough – according to the most recent figures a quarter of job vacancies in the borough last year were hard to fill due to skill shortages.  Continue reading

Question to Council regarding Sudbourne and Orchard primary schools

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Orchard Primary School

Ahead of the next meeting of Lambeth Council next week, written questions to the Cabinet have been published. Brixton Hill councillor Adrian Garden asked for an update regarding the long hoped for expansion of Sudbourne Primary School, and the planned rebuild of Orchard Primary School on Christchurch Road.

Here is the cabinet member’s reply. Continue reading

Supporting Brixton Hill schools, supporting Brixton Hill parents

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Cllr Martin Tiedemann highlighting Labour’s campaign #NoNewGrammars

Giving local children the best start is one of our top priorities – and we need your help to ensure disastrous plans to slash funding to local schools do not put education at risk.

As your councillors, we have backed Labour’s drive to improve local schools, including:

  • Ensuring every child in a primary school has access to a free breakfast – an election promise in 2014 that we have delivered.
  • Enabling the expansion of the popular Sudbourne Primary School over the next few years and the opening of the new City Heights Academy in 2013.
  • Helping put Lambeth in the top 10% performing areas in the country, with 90% of all primary schools getting a good or outstanding rating.

But the Tory government is threatening to put these achievements at risk by: Continue reading

Martin and Adrian help celebrate the achievements of local learners with CEF Lyncx

IMG_2583CEF Lyncx (CEFL) is an educational organisation providing learning opportunities to help young people achieve their potential. The project originated on the Blenheim Gardens Estate and is now operating in three other tenant managed estates across Lambeth.

This week Cllr Martin Tiedemann and Cllr Adrian Garden joined CEFL learners and their families and the hardworking team behind the project at the annual awards ceremony and were pleased to award every learner with a certificate of achievement.

Earlier this year, Blenheim Gardens RMO and CEF Lyncx were winners of the Lambeth Community Initiative Award 2014. The project was selected by attendees at the Lambeth Council residents conference on Saturday 25th from a number of other community projects. Continue reading

“Key Facts” of the redevelopment of Lambeth College on Brixton Hill

Trinity Academy pic 2As previously outlined, an ‘open forum’ last week was organised by the partners redeveloping the Lambeth College site on Brixton Hill, which included the Education Funding Agency, Mott MacDonald, Lambeth College, Trinity Academy and South Bank UTC. Unfortunately many residents did not get sufficient notice, particularly those from Brixton Hill Court, so we are pressing for further opportunities. Councillors Adrian Garden and Martin Tiedemann attended and spoke to residents and architects.

The partners unveiled at the event a small number of images – two artists’ impressions and some site plans. These are reproduced below. The partners also circulated a page of ‘key facts’, including details of the four-storey temporary buildings to go on the far rear corner of the site and an email address residents can use to communicate with the partners. However, a lot more information and reassurances will be needed for residents to evaluate the plans and make meaningful suggestions in the planning process. Continue reading

Chuka Umunna: New free school on Brixton Hill not best use of site or public money

Chuka_Umunna-5DOur local MP has written for Brixton Blog about the new ‘Catholic-ethos’ free school that has opened on the Lambeth College site on Brixton Hill (and will be part of the new development on the site). He states that the free school ‘is not the best use’ of the site and that ‘a new school on that site has neither been necessary, or the best use of the taxpayers money’. Continue reading

Take a look around the new secondary school City Heights now open on Christchurch Road

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As pressure on school places locally grows and the Coalition government makes it ever harder for Councils to directly open new schools, it’s great to see a new non-selective secondary school open serving the southern end of Brixton Hill.

City Heights E-ACT Academy is now open on Christchurch Road. It describes itself as ‘a non-denominational, non-selective school, welcoming girls and boys from all backgrounds from the local community.’ It opened last September with just 110 Year 7 students and has now taken in a second year-group in its permanent new site next to Fenstanton Primary School. It specialises in language skills, particularly Spanish, which will be welcome to the growing Latin American community in the area and their neighbours.

The school is taking part in Open House Weekend on 20 September so residents can have a look around. Tours must be pre-booked 10-12.30 – more details here.

Inevitably a new school with, eventually, 1,100 11-18 year olds will be the cause of some concern for local residents. The St Martin’s Estate TRA, which covers Challice Way in Brixton Hill ward as well as the rest of the estate in Tulse Hill, is organising a meeting where locals can raise any questions or issues with Jim Henderson of the school. The meeting will be on Tuesday 23rd September, 7:30pm, at the St Martin’s Community Centre, Abbots Park. Further details here.

Council issues statement regarding Trinity Academy free school

Screenshot 2014-01-26 15.34.24Lambeth Council has issued the following statement regarding Trinity Academy, the ‘Catholic ethos’ free school proposed for the Lambeth College site on Brixton Hill:

Statement

Lambeth, in common with local authorities across the country, has no power or influence over decisions about where free schools are set up.

This means the free school policy can cause havoc for the council’s admissions policy, where schools are set up in areas where there is no demand for places. This is the case with Trinity free school in Brixton where there’s no need for another secondary school.

Continue reading

Free nursery scheme boost for Lambeth’s disadvantaged children

Disadvantaged children in Lambeth are to benefit from an extra year of free early education under a new scheme launched in Brixton yesterday.

The council’s successful bid to be a pilot area for a new scheme that will see 2 year-olds who come from disadvantaged backgrounds given extra early education for free is a welcome initiative after some hard lobbying of government by the Lambeth Labour Group following the Tory Lib Dem savage cuts to early years Sure Start funding. Continue reading