Croydon’s ‘independent’ state school that still sets the 11-plus

Education correspondent GENE BRODIE on how selection in our schools has never really gone away

Did you know that the 11-plus is alive and thriving in a Croydon state school?

Riddlesdown Collegiate logoMany of the Year 6 pupils who prepared diligently for yesterday’s entrance exam at Riddlesdown Collegiate will have known the score. Certainly, their parents will have, knowing that 67 per cent was the target result to get a chance of entry for the daily trip to school up on Honister Heights from next September.

Croydon’s state schools have long complained, with some justification, that their efforts to climb up the exam league tables have been handicapped by what they see as the “creaming off” of the most able pupils.

Many are packed off each morning to Sutton’s grammar schools, a selective system supported by the local council’s ruling Liberal Democrats and its opposition Conservatives. Among those making the journey through the traffic jams along the A232 from Croydon to Sutton each day is the son of Tory MP Gavin Barwell.

Meanwhile, thousands of other children, predominantly those fortunate to have parents with the cash to afford the £18,000-a-year fees, are siphoned off to one of Croydon’s most successful businesses, the exam-passing factories that are the borough’s tax-subsidised independent schools.

Croydon’s ostensibly non-selective state schools are left to operate as best they can within this most selective of geographical areas. Continue reading

Posted in Alisa Flemming, BRIT School, Charity, Church and religions, Croydon Council, Croydon South, Education, Gavin Barwell MP, Harris Academy Crystal Palace, Kenley, Riddlesdown, Roke Primary, Schools, Whitgift School | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Cabaye is ‘the cream on the trifle’ for Pardew

Palace sit third in the Premier League this morning, after a deserved 2-0 win following a dominating performance at Selhurst Park yesterday against West Bromwich Albion.

Soaring Eagle: Yohan Cabaye takes off after scoring his penalty against WBA yesterday

Soaring Eagle: Yohan Cabaye takes off after scoring his penalty against WBA yesterday

Up against a determined Albion side which had been well-organised by former Eagles boss Tony Pulis, Palace made the breakthrough when Yannick Bolasie headed in Yohan Cabaye’s cross on 68 minutes.

As The Eagles Beak predicted when he was signed in the summer, Cabaye was again winning the plaudits as he ran the game for Palace, and the French international midfielder got on to the score sheet himself from the penalty spot after Chris Brunt succumbed to the torture he’d endured from Wilfried Zaha and brought the winger down in the area.

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Short and sweet – tickets go on sale for Stanley Film Club

Stanley Halls Film ClubTickets are now on sale for the Stanley Film Club’s November edition of Shorts In The South, a quarterly short film night celebrating film-making talent in south-east London.

Enjoy an eclectic mix of shorts, animations and music videos, and stay for a drink with the filmmakers after the show.

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Lambeth axes 50% of public libraries in ‘deeply cynical’ move

Lambeth Council has announced that it is to close five of the borough’s 10 public libraries as a consequence of the cuts in grants from central government. The Labour council’s proposals have been criticised as a “postcode lottery” for the borough’s residents.

library sign upper norwoodToday’s announcement also directly impacts one library which serves part of Croydon: Upper Norwood Joint Library, for a century operated by the two neighbouring local authorities, but which is now being cut-loose by Labour-run Lambeth to be operated by a volunteer-reliant trust working with Croydon Council.

A spokesman for the Save the Upper Norwood Library Campaign described Lambeth’s move towards volunteerism as “deeply cynical”.

The fear and inevitable conclusion is that Croydon Council, confronted with a similar level of cuts from the Tory government, will be faced with the prospect of reconsidering the future operation of its borough network of public libraries, which have already endured cuts and an undermining out-sourcing during the past five years.

Lambeth reckons it will have £200 million less in its annual budget in 2018, compared with 2010. “We’ve done everything you would expect us to do in the first round of cuts to protect front-line services,” Jane Edbrooke, Lambeth’s cabinet member responsible, said. “We reduced management, restructured our departments, reviewed our contracts and reduced our over heads. We spoke to other boroughs about joint working and we’ve also taken the tough decision to put up Council Tax by 1.99 per cent.

“But that only got us so far – and the £90 million of cuts we are now making, on top of the £110 million we’ve already made, means heart breaking decisions which no Labour administration wants to make.” Lambeth Council has already reduced its pay-roll by 1,000 since 2010; the possibility that hundreds more employees – including many who happen to be Croydon residents – could be made redundant seems a real threat. Continue reading

Posted in Community associations, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Education, Greenwich Leisure, Lambeth Council, Libraries, Outside Croydon, Property, Steve Reed MP, Upper Norwood, Upper Norwood Library Trust | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vase provides another chance of football escapism for Trams

Croydon FC get a second chance to taste cup glory on Saturday when they host the high-flying Horsham YMCA in the FA Vase second qualifying round.

UP for the cup: Croydon FC's fans don't have much else to cheer about

Up for the cup: Croydon FC’s fans don’t have much else to cheer

Given the non-league team’s dreadful performances in the league so far – P8 W1 L7 – these early-season cup runs are a welcome opportunity for escape for the Trams.

A 3-1 defeat last Saturday to Brentwood Town – managed by Dean Holdsworth, the former Wimbledon striker – ended for another year Croydon’s FA Cup dream in the preliminary stages. It had been a competition in which Dickson Gill’s side had out-performed itself compared with its results in the Southern Counties East League – or Kent League to any normal football fan. Continue reading

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Goldsmith selection pits Old Etonian against bus driver’s son

WALTER CRONXITE drills into the numbers to show that 70 per cent in a selection vote is not always an overwhelming mandate

So the third Mayor of London will be either the son of a Tooting bus driver, or a multi-millionaire Old Etonian.

Zac Goldsmith: wasn't born with a silver spoon in his mouth, more an entire set of cutlery

Zac Goldsmith: wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, more an entire set of cutlery

Zac Goldsmith was this morning declared the winner of the Conservative Party’s selection process to decide its candidate to run for Mayor of London next May, with the main challenge to come from Sadiq Khan, the MP for Tooting who was chosen by Labour last month.

To many, it will appear that the Tory membership in the capital has decided by an overwhelming majority that the way to follow eight years of a half-arsed part-time Mayor is to offer the electorate a Boris Mark II.

That characterisation of the 40-year-old MP for Richmond Park is probably unfair, as Goldsmith has spent much of his time since entering Parliament reportedly being diligent about his constituency work and also championing some more radical initiatives such as the idea of MP recall. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", 2016 London elections, Boris Johnson, Cane Hill, Caroline Pidgeon, Clare Hilley, Coulsdon, Environment, Gavin Barwell MP, Housing, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Planning, Property, Sadiq Khan MP, Sian Berry, Transport, Whitgift Centre, Zac Goldsmith MP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Black mark for Morgan as his bogus identity gets found out

Coulsdon’s one-man motoring campaign could soon find it more difficult to use false identities online to pursue his own vested interests, as our transport correspondent, JEREMY CLACKSON, reports

Peter Morgan in usual attire in usual mode - forcing his views on others at a public meeting

Peter Morgan in usual attire in usual mode – forcing his views on others at a public meeting

Last night, he was spotted at a public meeting in Lambeth, discussing traffic-calming road restrictions at Loughborough Junction, ostensibly on behalf of one of the few organisations still prepared to tolerate him as a member, the Alliance of British Drivers.

But as real Brixton residents and cycling activists attending the meeting turned to Inside Croydon for more information about the man with a great deal to say for himself, it was quickly established without doubt that Peter Morgan, the Adidas-clad resident of Coulsdon in leafy Surrey, was taking his unique, and twisted, brand of campaigning into inner London.

“I asked him where he lived,” one of the genuine Brixton residents said afterwards, “and he said that he was at the meeting to represent a friend. But he couldn’t remember their name or where they lived.”

Which is unusual for Morgan, who when he’s behind his keyboard running his “Sense With Roads” campaign is usually able to call on a host of bogus and borrowed identities to try to make his own particular interests appear to have widespread appeal.

But Morgan’s schizophrenic trolling might be on borrowed time, at least as far as Croydon is concerned, as the legal team at the council appears to have finally woken up to the games Morgan plays, usually at a cost to the taxpayers. Continue reading

Posted in Community associations, Commuting, Coulsdon, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Cycling, Environment, Norbury, Parking, Selhurst, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Read all about it: from UKIP to refugees, Boxpark to crocuses

These are the stories which most-grabbed the attention of Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader in September 2015…

CCC chairwoman Elizabeth Ash: time to pay up

CCC chairwoman Elizabeth Ash: time to pay up

1, UKIP supporters to face demands for legal costs from council

After staging a takeover of the CCC “community” group, local UKIPpers and right-wingers may now be forced to face the financial consequences of their actions.

2, Heineken refreshes the parts that MP rules could not reach

Bye, bye Mario, as Purley councillor stands down from his second state-funded job.

Boxpark Shoreditch3, Boxpark announced food plan after getting £3m council loan

Another exclusive from Inside Croydon, as Croydon’s council officials get turned over – yet again – when they try to deal with business, this time over a £3-million loan to Boxpark, pictured right. Continue reading

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Restaurateur who underpaid staff is short-listed for award

Croydon’s Labour-run local council is backing “business excellence” awards tonight at which one of the entries short-listed for a prize is a woman who has been prosecuted for failing to pay her workers the legal minimum wage.

Neelofar Khan: Croydon businesswoman prosecuted for failing to pay the minimum wage

Neelofar Khan: Croydon businesswoman prosecuted for failing to pay the minimum wage

When campaigning in the local elections last year, Tony Newman, now Labour’s council leader, said, “We will work to make Croydon a living wage borough.”

Yet tonight, our council will be prominent among the sponsors of a set of awards which will celebrate businesses that exist by not paying for work at all.

Up for the prize as Croydon’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” (yes, seriously) is Neelofar Khan, who now runs a takeaway food business, Zabardast, which has branches in Waterloo and on Dingwall Road.

Khan, 56, has held directorships in a string of businesses, most of which have been dissolved. Among them was the Chilli Chutney restaurant in Streatham, which in 2010 was placed in voluntary liquidation, owing more than £1 million to creditors.  Continue reading

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Mayor of Croydon’s charity wine tasting evening, Oct 23

Fairtrade Wine 1 Continue reading

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Help fire-up Palace Power at energy meeting, Oct 13

Crystal Palace Station energy gardenCrystal Palace railway station will soon be home to a community-led Energy Garden, combining plants and flowers with renewable energy sources.

Join the local community, Palace Power community energy group and the Crystal Palace Transition Town movement for an evening of creative idea-sharing on ways to design vibrant and inviting spaces for everyone to enjoy on Tuesday October 13. Continue reading

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Purley Townswomen’s Guild talk on doorstep crime, Oct 6

townswomens guilds logoThe next meeting of the Purley and District Townswomen’s Guild will feature a special talk from an official from Croydon Trading Standards on doorstep crime and scams – and, of course, how to avoid them.

The meeting will take place at the Purley United Reformed Church,  Brighton Road, from 2pm on Tuesday, October 6.

All are welcome to attend. Continue reading

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‘I wish I could have gone to the BRIT School’ says Cowell

Simon Cowell: would have enjoyed attending the BRIT School

Simon Cowell: would have enjoyed attending the BRIT School

Simon Cowell took time-off from X Factor yesterday to pay a flying visit to the BRIT School in Croydon.

“The second I pulled up I thought, ‘Why didn’t I go to a school like this?’ I would have loved it, because I hated school so much. I was so bored, it was so dusty and old-fashioned,” Cowell said.

“You walk in here, everyone’s having fun, there’s a good energy, you can tell they love being at the school, and just, enthusiasm and optimism.”

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Norbury pub scheme blocked by Town Hall planning officials

Local resident PAUL ORGANE wants to know why Croydon Council has blocked the creation of a community hub

I use Norbury daily, for the railway station to get to work, the bank, the park and the post office.

The high street in Norbury has unfulfilled potential

The high street in Norbury has unfulfilled potential

In the six years I’ve been here, I have never felt there has been more potential for Norbury to become a bustling centre for families, professionals and retirees. I say potential because there are so many closed shops in the area and of those that are open, every other one appears to sell fried chicken, leaving much of the London Road feeling neglected and tired.

There are some recent independent success stories: Affogato has provided the area with a good wide space for local families and workers to enjoy coffees and gelato, and Fryday’s Fish and Chips is always busy. Longer-established cafes Cappucino and Creams are also going strong.

However, when it comes to having somewhere to go for a good pub meal or meet up for a pint with friends, Norbury is definitely lacking.

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Posted in Business, Croydon Council, Croydon North, Norbury, Planning, Property, Pubs, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reader offer: 30% off select meals at PizzaExpress Coulsdon

pizzaAs a special offer for Inside Croydon‘s loyal reader, the management at PizzaExpress Coulsdon is offering 30 per cent off the price of certain meals* at the restaurant between now and October 22.

As we reported yesterday, the latest PizzaExpress in Croydon opened at the weekend.

Located at Trinity Square on Brighton Road in the centre of Coulsdon, the restaurant can seat nearly 150 customers, and is serving the popular range of PizzaExpress food and drink. From next week, it will be offering a special menu to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the first PizzaExpress in 1965. Continue reading

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Ballet and plane-making comes to Upper Norwood, Oct 3

fun palacesUpper Norwood Library is being transformed into a Fun Palace this Saturday, October 3.

The first weekend of October is Fun Palaces weekend, offering a range of activities to bring out the inner artist and the scientist from among 6- to 11-year-olds.

There’s even activities for adults and pre-schoolers, too.

And all events and workshops are completely free. Continue reading

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Cream Tea, Shirley Community Centre, Oct 2

Cream Tea Continue reading

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Whitehorse’s golden shed declared ‘best school in the world’

Suitably reproached, GENE BRODIE, our education correspondent, has been set 100 lines: “I must not slag off dodgy-looking modern architecture”

The giant golden spaceship that has landed on the site of Whitehorse Primary has won an international architecture award

The giant golden spaceship that has landed on the site of Whitehorse Primary has won an international architecture award

Two years ago, an extension to a Thornton Heath primary school had its design described in the Croydon Sadvertiser as “an absolute abomination and a disgrace”.

This week, that same design has been declared as “the best new school in the world” by the internationally respected Architectural Review.

Many locals mistakenly believed that aliens had landed from Mars when the golden roofs of the Whitehorse Manor, part of a £4.5million upgrade of the buildings, were revealed looking like a vast spaceship plonked over the school two years ago.

In a poll of Inside Croydon‘s readers, 54 per cent indicated that the scale and glittering colour of the extension seemed out of keeping with the schools’ original, and listed, 120-year-old building. It was Croydon’s very own carbuncle. But we did feel a little sorry for Jolyon Roberts, one of the schools’ executive heads, who defended the transformational building work.

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Council has no proper benefit analysis on £148,000 cycle race

One night's cycle racing cost Croydon £148,000 - without a penny towards the cost from developers such as Westfield and Boxpark

One night’s cycle racing cost Croydon £148,000 – without a penny towards the cost from developers such as Westfield and Boxpark

Transport correspondent, JEREMY CLACKSON, crunches some numbers and finds that Croydon Council forked out £148,000 for one night’s cycle racing in the town centre and has absolutely no idea whether they got value for money

Here’s a combination of words you will never have seen published on Inside Croydon before: Boris Johnson is right.

The Mayor of London today admitted that he had ordered that London should make an 11th-hour withdrawal from its bid to stage the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2017 – and save our city at least £35 million.

That was the right thing to do.

It’s a pity that the part-time Tory Mayor wasn’t sufficiently on top of his London brief to curtail City Hall’s part in the bidding process until the point when the contract was about to be signed; doubtless, the work that went into preparing the bid and negotiating with the French organisers will be another “Cost of Boris” which London’s Council Tax-payers will end up underwriting long after he has left the post.

London should stage future major sports events, including the Tour – indeed, after this year’s Rugby World Cup, in 2016 London hosts European swimming champs and world track cycling championships, and in 2017 we will be the host city for the third biggest global sporting event, the 10-day-long athletics world championships. Continue reading

Posted in "Hammersfield", Athletics, Boris Johnson, Boxpark, Business, Commuting, Croydon Council, Croydon Guardian, Croydon Harriers, Cycling, Cycling, Environment, Jo Negrini, Martyn Rooney, Mayor of London, Planning, Property, Sport, Tony Newman, Transport, Whitgift Centre | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PizzaExpress serves up 25 jobs in Coulsdon restaurant

PizzaExpress opened a new restaurant in Coulsdon at the weekend, creating 25 jobs, including six pizzaiolos – that’s pizza-makers to you and me – and 14 waiters and waitresses.

Pizzaiolo Jorge Salvador passing the first pizza baked at PizzaExpress Coulsdon to waitress Eleni Lepida

Pizzaiolo Jorge Salvador passing the first pizza baked at PizzaExpress Coulsdon to waitress Eleni Lepida

The restaurant, at Trinity Square on Brighton Road in the centre of Coulsdon, can seat nearly 150 customers, and is expected to get through 10-stone of pizza dough in its first month of operation, when the team prepares to serve up 6,300 pizzas and 4,210 portions of PizzaExpress’ Dough Balls.

Each PizzaExpress restaurant is individually designed – often using well-known places, people or historical events from the area as the basis. The new restaurant’s artwork pays tribute to Coulsdon’s history of chalk and flint mining. Some of the wall panelling features artwork made from using chalks.

Continue reading

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