School funding cuts are ‘cruel and unfair’ say Croydon heads

The borough’s most senior teachers are warning that their schools are ‘barely able to cope’ with the budgets provided by the Government. Our education correspondent GENE BRODIE reports

Sarah Jones at the school gates: the MP has been shocked by the findings of her survey

A survey of Croydon’s headteachers has found that 95 per cent of them are either “unhappy” or “very unhappy” with their school’s funding from the Government.

The Croydon Schools Survey, conducted over the last month, shows that 92 per cent of schools have cut staff, with 73 per cent cutting teaching assistant posts.

More than one-third of Croydon’s schools have had to axe teaching posts because of a lack of money.

Headteachers reported increasing difficulties with staff retention, support for vulnerable students and school maintenance.

The survey was carried out by Sarah Jones, Labour’s new MP for Croydon Central, together with the Croydon Headteachers’ Association (CHTA), and involved questioning 54 headteachers across the borough. Continue reading

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Pop-Up business school shop, Whitgift Centre, Oct 19-28

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Council planners ignore Queen’s Hotel objections from MP

Croydon Council’s planning department has gone against the views of two MPs, a pair of London Assembly Members, elected councillors and hundreds of angry residents, and has recommended approval of a monstrous expansion of the historic Queen’s Hotel on Church Road in Crystal Palace.

Under threat: council officials have backed a scheme to build on the site of the Queen’s Hotel

But the officer’s report to tonight’s planning meeting fails to mention the strong objections to the scheme raised by Croydon North MP, Steve Reed OBE.

Euro Hotels, the property’s owner, want to demolish Victorian heritage buildings and build on the site of the hotel, replacing much of it with a hideous 530-room halfway house, from which they can fleece London councils of tens of thousands of pounds weekly in rents for short-term accommodation. Continue reading

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Cubs get to cook up a treat at Kenley’s Indian restaurant

A Purley cub pack has spiced up its activities this week with a behind-the-scenes visit to a Indian restaurant, where they saw first-hand how naan bread is made and baked.

Cubs line up for their taste of a curry at Saffron Kenley

The visit, to Saffron Kenley on Godstone Road, was organised by Paul Bates, the cub scout leader of the 11th Purley (St James Riddlesdown) pack.

“We are always trying to offer our cubs opportunities that they might not otherwise have,” Bates said.

“All of the children started off trying poppadoms and they were then taken upstairs to see the chef making and cooking naan breads. After that it was chicken tikka masala with pilau rice. Continue reading

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Mayor Khan seeks housing deal over £1.4bn Westfield project

BARRATT HOLMES asks: will Westfield show up at the third time of asking for a planning meeting later this month?

Westfield’s housing proposals have become a key issue over the town centre redevelopment

There should be an announcement “within days” over the redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre, after months of negotiations between developers Westfield and Hammerson and Government ministers and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

As revealed exclusively by Inside Croydon earlier this week, Tony Newman, the council leader, accompanied by Croydon Conservatives’ Tim Pollard, met with ministers on Monday. Gavin Barwell, the Nando’s-loving former governor of the Whitgift Foundation and sometime MP for Croydon Central, has also attended meetings with Westfield in the past fortnight, as concerns over the stalled £1.4billion have continued to mount. Continue reading

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Red Riding Hood, Sanderstead Dramatic Club, Jan 6-13

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‘A lot of issues aren’t partisan’ says some-time Progress MP

Progress: Steve Reed OBE

After a couple of years doing his best to pretend he had nothing to do with the Blairite factionalists in Progress (he did: he was deputy chair), and a year after he was part of the “chicken coup” of Labour MPs who tried to oust the democratically elected leader of their party, Steve Reed OBE has shown his true colours.

“No one party has a complete monopoly on wisdom. You absolutely need to listen to other people’s experiences. And a lot of issues aren’t that partisan.”

That is a sample of what Reed, the MP for Lambeth South/Croydon North (delete to taste), told a journalist from The Observer for a news review supplement piece at the weekend on politicians who do have chums on the “other” side.

For the purposes of the article, Reed was paired off with Heidi Allen, the Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire and apparently, someone whose company he regularly enjoys over a curry or a visit to the Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in Soho. Continue reading

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