By Sadiq Khan MP

Tonight, at 7:30pm, a full council meeting at Wandsworth Town Hall will vote on removing funding for all the school crossing patrols (‘lollipop’ men and ladies) across the borough. 

This means from January 2013 schools will be expected to fund them themselves.  But most schools are not allowed to do this with their main funding, and do not have other available funds to pay for this.

At best, schools will have to rely on volunteers and goodwill to provide this vital service. At worst, many schools will simply lose their crossing patrols.

It’s my firm belief that Wandsworth Council, and councillors, have got it completely wrong on this issue.  Their first priority should be keeping our children safe – not penny pinching.  Nationally local authorities are cutting funding on road safety – the result has been more people killed and seriously injured on our roads.  We can’t have this happen in Wandsworth – we should be working for improve road safety, not making cuts that remove some of the most effective measures to keep our children safe on local roads.

What can you do?

1.       Attend the council meeting tonight at Wandsworth Town Hall (Wandsworth High Street, London, SW18 2PU – map) and show the council you oppose these plans.  You won’t be alone.  Dozens of parents and teachers have contacted me to tell me they’ll be attending –meet at 7pm at the Town Hall main lobby.

2.       Sign the petition on Wandsworth Council’s website again these dangerous cuts.

3.       Email your local councillor (you can find their contact details here) and ask them to vote   against these cuts tonight.

Wandsworth schools lose out under new school building scheme

Labour councillors are disappointed that only one Wandsworth School is to benefit from the Priority School Building Programme, announced today by Michael Gove. 

After significant delays in announcing the chosen schools, it was today revealed that Chestnut Grove School, a local Academy, is the only school to be chosen in Wandsworth to receive funding under the new scheme, despite many remaining in desperate need of maintenance and repair work to their buildings.

This scheme replaces Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme, which the Coalition quickly scrapped in its first few weeks, cancelling school building plans for more than 700 schools nationally. Now, just 261 schools are to receive support under Michael Gove’s PFI-funded plans.

Cllr Sheila Boswell, Wandsworth Labour’s spokesperson for Education said,

“Whilst I welcome this funding for Chestnut Grove, many other schools in Wandsworth are also in grave need of investment for their buildings; the kind of investment they would have received under Labour. The Elliott School is in very poor repair, as well both Graveney School and Battersea Park School who were due to be helped under Labour’s Building Schools for the Future Programme – all are now losing out under the Coalition.

“This shows the government’s lack of commitment to investing in education, leaving schools in conditions barely adequate to teach in. This despite the fact we know pressure on schools is growing, as more and more pupils each year are applying for places. Labour in Wandsworth want parents to have real choice of great Wandsworth schools, but this choice is diminished when certain schools are left in poor condition. Unlike the Conservatives, Labour would make this a priority”.

School Crossing Patrols Under Threat

From Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting

Cuts by Wandsworth Council are threatening the future of school crossing patrols (‘lollipop people’) at many of our local schools. We all know how much of a help they are in getting our children across the road safely before and after school, but Wandsworth Council doesn’t want to pay for them anymore, instead forcing local schools to fund them on a case-by-case basis. Our schools’ resources are already stretched – and they cannot afford to do this.

I am campaigning with parents at Fircroft School against these plans. Sadiq Khan MP said, “It is disgraceful that Wandsworth Council are considering cutting our lollipop people. “Government cuts mean our schools simply cannot afford to pay for them if the Council cuts their budget.

 “Road safety for our children should be one of the main priorities of our Council. By taking away our lollipop ladies and men they are putting local children’s safety at risk. Like the government, Wandsworth Council is completely out of touch. They know the cost of everything but the value of nothing. They have already performed a u-turn over charging for the Adventure playground – they must do one over lollipop people too.”

You can sign the petition here:

For more on this story read here:

Bolingbroke Sponsors Give In On Falconbrook Admissions

ARK, the hedge-fund backed charity which is sponsoring the Bolingbroke Academy in north Battersea, has decided to include Falconbrook in the school’s catchment area. A range of objectors including Falconbrook parents, Wandsworth Save Our Schools and Wandsworth Labour Group responded to ARK’s admissions consultation, which excluded the local primary from the named feeder schools. Labour said it would find any proposals which did not include the primary ‘unacceptable’ after Wandsworth council’s own report stated that  bringing in Falconbrook would make the Academy more representative of the social and ethnic diversity of the borough.

Tories Sit On The Fence Over Bolingbroke Admissions

Wandsworth Tory Councillors, including Cllr. Strickland, Chair of Governors at Falconbrook School have voted not to recommend that the new Bolingbroke Academy includes Falconbrook Primary in its catchment area.

Information given to councillors last week showed that the school’s admissions policy would be fairer to disadvantaged children if Falconbrook was included as a feeder school. Including the school would increase the proportion of children entitled to free school meals in the new Bolingbroke school from an estimated 19% without Falconbrook to around 26% if it was included, bringing it closer to the Wandsworth average.

Labour councillors and parent Governors combined to vote against the Conservatives’ neutral stance on Falconbrook but the recommendation, allowing the school’s sponsors ARK  and Northcote parents to make the decision on admissions, squeezed through by one vote.

Cllr. Andy Gibbons

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