Agenda and minutes

Education and Local Economy Scrutiny Commission - Thursday 19 October 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Ground Floor Meeting Room G02A - 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH. View directions

Contact: Amit Alva  Email:

No. Item



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    To receive any apologies for absence.


    Apologies for absence was received from Councillor Jason Ochere and apologies for lateness from Councillor Joseph Vambe.



Notification of any items of business which the chair deems urgent

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    In special circumstances, an item of business may be added to an agenda within five clear working days of the meeting.


    There were no items of business which the Chair deemed urgent.


Disclosure of interests and dispensations.

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    Members to declare any interests and dispensations in respect of any item of business to be considered at this meeting.


    There were no disclosures of interests and dispensations.




School Amalgamation/ Closure of St Mary Magdalene C of E Primary School

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    To hear from Anna Harding, Head teacher and Sonia Phippard, Chair of Governors on the plans for closure/amalgamation of the St Mary Magdalene C of E Primary School with a focus on:


    ·  Demographics of the school

    ·  Avoiding closure and amalgamation

    ·  Council’s role and communication

    ·  Suggestions to improve council strategy on falling rolls



    The commission first heard from Anna Harding, Head teacher on the plans for closure/amalgamation of the St Mary Magdalene C of E Primary School (SMMS) around the following points


    • Background info on SMMS; One form entry Church School is now Half form entry school with mixed age classes due to falling rolls, Ofsted inspection with good statutory results above national average, 96 pupils from a capacity of 210 pupils, High number of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) pupils, 37 Pupils on Educational, Health Care Plan (EHCP), 3% of children have no recourse to public funds, 51% of pupils eligible for pupil premium, In the lowest 10% of schools nationally under deprived demographic, 91% Black or mixed heritage pupils and 94% any non-white ethnic groups, high satisfaction and good overall experience from pupils and parents, experienced staff and well-loved school in the community.
    • Steps taken to avoid closures and amalgamations in the past; mixed age classes, restructured staff body, minimised redundancies, low budget deficit £27k, plans to open nursery/reception class on a temporary basis from January 2024, explored options to join Southwark Diocese and multi-academy trust, other options for amalgamation also being considered but church schools are further away.
    • SEND pupils would struggle with transition if amalgamated, pupils have their educational, emotional and support needs met at this school.
    • Resource based provision for SEND would help the school to stay open.
    • Lack of communication from Council since May 2023 when proposal for amalgamation/closure was made, however meetings have taken place in the last week.


    The commission then heard from Sonia Phippard, Chair of Governors around the following themes


    • SMMS co-operating with the Council in line with the ‘Keeping Education Strong Strategy’, however due to lack of communication, it has delayed all options being explored until now which would have helped Pupil Admission Numbers.
    • Financially viable school and reducing budget deficit year by year.


    The commission then heard from Enuma Madu, parent on the following topics


    • Opening of Nursery/Reception school vital to the local area according to parents
    • SMMS the first choice of most parents in the area; excellent care and attention to pupils; safe and supportive environment.
    • Church schools are known to shy away from SEND pupils according to media reports but SMMS treats everyone with dignity and respect.




    The commission then heard from Reggie Osei-Bonsu, parent on the following themes


    • On exploring options for my child at reception level schools in the area, SMMS being smaller and private suited my child’s needs.
    • Excellent care and treatment of my relatives children made me choose SMMS
    • Relocation plans for the family outside London were cancelled due to the needs of my daughter who has received excellent care and support from SMMS.


     The commission then heard from Remi-Leigh, parent on the following points


    • Undeniably warm and welcoming school making it a great asset to the community.
    • SMMS has a high number of SEND pupils, however not all SEND pupils need SEND schools depending on the degree of need, SMMS creates a tailored  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


The Restructure of Kintore Way Nursery School and Children's Centre.

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    To receive a report from Matthew Waterfall and Sasha Das Gupta from the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) on the restructure of Kintore Way Nursey School with a focus on:


    ·  Financial Challenges

    ·  Mitigation Strategies

    ·  Potential impact on the school's educational programs and services

    ·  Plans to collaborate or integrate with other educational institutions

    ·  Prioritising the interests of students and the community throughout this process




    Supporting documents:


    The commission then received a report from Rebecca Sherwood, Kintore Way (KW) Nursery School and Children’s Centre and Matthew Waterfall from National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) on the restructure of Kintore Way Nursey School on the following themes


    ·  Impact of the changes at Kintore Way nursery would have on the wider community and especially SEND children in the community.

    ·  One of the largest and oldest nursery schools in the country, financial issues at KW due to the failing of the funding process to address the unmet needs of Children with SEND.

    ·  Detrimental impact on children, families and community at KW, not being able to access those services due to restructuring resulting in more difficult situation for children and families

    ·  KW provides outstanding services to most vulnerable children and has a Ofsted rating of excellent, 15 redundancies among staff are planned sending shockwaves through the community, highly subscribed and full capacity nursery, 34 families on waiting list.

    ·  Current funding does not account for children under 5 with SEND when these children go to special schools and are deferred back to nursery, the nurseries receive £6k compared to £33k going to special schools if the child is accepted. The budget deficit is a result of the mismatch in SEND funding for Nurseries providing SEND services.

    ·  Need for Council strategy for Early Intervention and SEND provisions in Nursery which would provide greater value for money for children with SEND and make a difference in the community.

    ·  Resource based provisions is being applied in other neighbouring boroughs who have identified the gap in funding for SEND in nurseries.

    ·  Lack of communication from Council with regards to the restructure and decreasing the budget deficit.


    The commission then heard from a parent (anonymous), Rebecca and Mathew on the following themes


    • Non-verbal children, families are hugely dependent on nurseries like KW.
    • SEND children need early adult interaction within the window of opportunity in early years to help with their cerebral development.
    • Parents often don’t have the skills and expertise to deal with SEND needs and as a consequence suffer from mental health issue themselves, KW has been a respite for such parents.



    The commission then heard from Michelle, parent and Brenda, (ex-parent of KW) on the following topics


    • Immense support and love, staff give children at KW, as a result the child does really well at special schools
    • Staff at KW have helped parents get through the EHCP process; SEND children at KW are helped to be more sociable, articulate and independent.
    • KW staff have also helped children and families through bereavements


    The commission then heard from Claire, teacher at Grove & KW nurseries on the following points


    • Staff at Grove & KW are highly skilled in performing tracheostomies, eye drops, tube feeding and diabetic injections within the class room environment for children with special needs
    • Reducing the number of staff will have a devastating impact on the children with special needs; current staff are highly skilled, experienced, dedicated and motivated to provide such medical care.


    The commission then  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Employment for young people in Southwark

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    To receive a report from Patrick Doherty, Principal Strategy Officer and Danny Edwards, Head of Economy on youth employment. (report to follow)

    Supporting documents:


    The commission then received a report from Patrick Doherty, Principal Strategy Officer on youth employment on the following points


    • New Economic Strategy to be adopted by Cabinet by the end of the year, strategy involves new jobs and opportunities for young people
    • Southwark Youth Deal- employment services and advice
    • Southwark Works- employment service commissioned for another 4 years split amongst 9-10 contracts, and one for people over 50 with specialist skills; 3 contracts for vulnerable young people been in criminal justice system and young people with disabilities
    • Council’s Internal Apprenticeships service, External apprenticeships through Passport centre and through LSBU Centre, Southwark Construction Centre and Green Skills hub
    • Council Delivery Plan to deliver 250 paid internships for youth from disadvantaged back grounds spread across 3 strand schools, graduates and councils own scheme has been very successful
    • Southwark Local Offer and Southwark Information and Advice Service targeting young people with SEND
    • Education Business Alliance bringing together Businesses and Schools preparing students for the transition to jobs from education
    • Sub–regional partnerships such as Central London Works open to Southwark residents’ aged 16-25 and Youth Opportunities bullet in for young people in Southwark to sign up.
    • One hub website and care leavers website targeting young people


    The commission then asked questions on the following topics


    ·  Southwark Works visibility and advertising in the borough; support for young people below the age of 18

    ·  Apprenticeships numbers when compared to other boroughs; creative ways to reach young people; Southwark Works contracts promotion in the community

    ·  Potential collaboration with organisation to increase visibility of Southwark works; ex-offender support and rehabilitation to get back into work


    Patrick apologised to the commission on the framing of the phrase aged 18 and above in Southwark contracts as a typo. Within Southwark works contracts young people aged 16 and above have contracts available to them if they face barriers to employment. Southwark has successfully met targets for past two terms of 2500 apprenticeships, however benchmarking against other borough will be provided to commission at a later date. Providers within contracts are assessed on a two year term with an option to extend based on performance. Southwark Youth Deal within the New Economic Strategy is aimed at filling the gaps in publicity and spreading awareness of job opportunities and apprenticeships amongst young people. Specific contracts are tailored for ex-offenders and providers are measured against placement and sustaining jobs as a metric; such contracts are limited due to budgetary and resource constraints. However, Southwark has been quite successful in achieving value for money. Southwark has also an integrated network co-ordination service which has successfully linked many partners in the borough for over 20 years, however there is room for improvement as it’s not perfect. Southwark is also working on an Outreach and Engagement plan to gauge the reach of such initiatives in the community.


    The commission then asked further questions on the following themes


    • Education Business Alliance – communication between the private sector and community based initiatives, pooling resources and synergy
    • Internships figure too  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Cabinet response to Education and Local Economy Scrutiny Review: Mitigating falling pupil numbers in schools


Cabinet response to Education and Local Economy Scrutiny Review: Impact of Cost of Living Crisis on Businesses


Proposed Work Programme 2023-2024