Kennington parents held a passionate and helpful meeting last night in St Anselm's Church on the subject of primary school places.
Parents were concerned that two local schools, Henry Fawcett (pictured) and Vauxhall, had recently been through special measures, and that Archbishop Sumner's is oversubscribed.
In attendance were headteachers from Henry Fawcett and Archibishop Sumner's; Cllr Pete Robbins, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People; Kate Hoey MP; Cathy Twist, Lambeth Council's Assistant Director for Standards; and Mark Harrison, Councillor for Prince's ward and Chair of Lambeth's CYPS Scrutiny Committee.
An important point made at the meeting is that the Council intervened decisively at both Henry Fawcett and Vauxhall, and both schools are now out of special measures and are showing excellent improvements. The Associate Headteacher of Henry Fawcett invited parents to visit the school to see the improvements for themeselves and speak to her and the staff.
There was a strong feeling that Archbishop Sumner's should be expanded. Pete Robbins promised that this would be considered, and expansion onto the site of the Olive School on Oakden Street has not been ruled out. However, the extreme pressure on primary places in the south of the borough means that money for expansion of primary schools has to be focused there over the coming year.
Finally there was a discussion about admissions policy. Lambeth can only follow guidelines on admissions that are set nationally. Parents express a preference, and can't always be guaranteed a school of their choice. An important change this year is that primary admissions will be changed to a London-wide system, so parents can apply for primary schools in other boroughs and are not restricted to one borough.