Visit to Pupil Referral Unit 13/03/2019 10:01:00......Posted by Helen Redfern
Members of the Scrutiny Children and Young People Sub-Committee visited the Key Stage 3 Referral Unit ("PRU") on Coombe Road last Friday. We met Jenny Adamson, the Head Teacher of Saffron Valley Collegiate and Kay Wilson, Head Teacher of the KS£ provision that takes in children at risk of exclusion or those already permanently excluded/
Prior to the visit, I had read various media reports suggesting that exclsuion and attending a PRU puts children in danger. In the above context, the visit was an eye-opener. The unit provides a very postitve warm environment. Lessons were conducted in small well-behaved groups whilst an assembly saw a number of pupils rewared for good behaviour and good performance with congratulations coming from staff and their fellow pupils.
It is often asserted that some of Croydon's schools are purposely excluding pupils for minor offences in order to protect their exam results, sometimes by illegally off-rolling'. At present there doesn't appear to be evidence to support this and whilst it would be inappropriate to go into individual details, it is clear that pupils are not be referred to the unit on a whim, and it was a testament to the unit that the environment in the school was so calm. Jenny Adamson compared the PRU system to a hospital that takes in injured patients and treats them; she sees their role as treating the children until they are better - the word treatment came up often during the visit. The childrens' needs were very much at the centre of the unit.
Staff spoke of the sometimes difficult relationshp that they have with social workers, with a lack of consistency, poorly briefed new social workers and poor communication beng specifically mentioned; the Council must work to resolve this.
All of the Sub-Committee members expressed how impressed they were by the Key Stage 3 Pupil Referral Unit. Clearly more needs to be done by Croydon's Childrens' Services to ensure that all agencies are working together for the best outcome for the children and their families.
Holocaust Memorial Day 27/01/2020 14:20:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day – a day in which we remember the Holocaust of the Jews and other minority groups in World War 2, along with the far too many genocides that have happened since them including in East Africa and Bosnia.
Holocaust Memorial Day has been commemorated in Croydon Town Hall for just under 20 years. Today we started with the candle lighting ceremony in the foyer of the Town Hall. Marilyn Arbisman from Croydon Synagogue spoke about the liberation of Auschwitz but also about how minorities continue to be persecuted, speaking particularly about persecution of Christians across the Middle East.
The event then moved to the Council Chamber where we heard from Safet Vukalic, a survivor of the Bosnian Genocide. He was saved from being sent to a concentration camp at the age of 16 years old by his mother raising her voice for him to come back as he wasn’t old enough. Later, when he realised that the images of the emaciated Bosnian men at Trnopolje camp were being shown on British TV, he was sure that the European nations and UN would put a stop to what was happening and yet it took 3 more years for the international community to step in effectively. Thank you to Safet for sharing his story.
As usual we had wonderful contributions from local school children including from Oasis Academy Coulsdon, St Peters in South Croydon (with an amazing story from Felix) and, of course, a great contribution from children and staff from Riddlesdown Collegiate (see photo). We also heard some beautiful music performed by Whitgift and Trinity Schools.
I am especially pleased that local schools are engaging young people in the issues of holocaust. Children absolutely understand the absurdity of treating some people as ‘other’, dehumanising them and normalising their abuse. I hope that the children and young people who came today learnt as much from the speeches that they heard today as they had already in their classrooms.
Riddlesdown Crime Figures 16/01/2020 20:39:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
This weeks crime report from the Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown Police team shows that there were 6 thefts/burglaries, of which 5 were in small area in Riddlesdown. Police are aware that there has been a recent increase in activity in Riddlesdown Road, Riddlesdown Avenue and Grasmere Road.
The Police ask that residents remain vigilent and that they call 101 or 999 if they see something that doesn't seem right.
If you want more advice on keeping safe, please take a look at: https://met.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention
There is also a Smart Water event at Selsdon Library this Saturday between 12 noon and 4pm.
Sanderstead Road Re-opened 14/01/2020 23:10:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Sanderstead Road was reopened today after several weeks of closure to enable the replacement of the rail bridge. Having driven down there myself today, I also notice that the road surface looks new and there are new road markings.
The road will close again between 24-27th January to allow the scaffolding to be removed. We then all look forward to the South Croydon Rec being put back to at lease the condition it was in when work began.
Womens Aid Funding 09/01/2020 22:27:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
I am deighted to have been able to use part of my Community Ward Funding to make a contribution to Bromley and Croydon's Women's Aid.
I had started to speak with Womens Aid about providing some funding in November but unfortuantely that conversation had to pause during the pre-election period. As soon as the General Election had passed I was able to confirm that I would contribute £2,000 to their Croydon Welfare Fund which provides for the emergency needs of women and children fleeing domestic abuse and funds refuges, as well as outings for those children during the school holidays.
The funding will help women to access safety in the first place. Sometimes women have no funds to physically reach the refuge so this fund can provide the travel fares. Frequently women need to visit solicitors in different parts of London, and again this fund helps with the travel costs, espcially for those women with limited funds, or who have no recourse to public funds.
Women and children may arrive at the refuge with very few possessions so the fund helps to provide food, clothing and toiletries.
Womens Aid also runs activities for children in the Croydon refuges, paying for materials and toys, as well as outside activities. These can be a crucial tool in helping children and their mums to rebuild their relationships, make new memories and overcome the trauma that they have experienced.
I'm really pleased that the funding can help at such a difficult time.
Riddlesdown Collegiate Admissions Criteria Consultation 13/12/2019 12:58:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
I hear regularly from Riddlesdown residents about the quantitiy of school traffic and parking in the area south of Mitchley Avenue. I also hear from Riddlesdown sesidents who live within a mile of Riddlesdown Collegiate but who find that they do not live close enough for their children to gain a place there on the basis of distance and who had previoulsy struggled to get their child into a feeder school. An obvious solutuon to cutting the traffic would be to make it easier for local families to gain access to their local school, with these children far more likely to walk the short distance to school. The obstacle to this was priority provision being given to children at 5 feeder schools and the 15% of places going to those to children who passed an entrance exam.
I was delighted to hear over Half Term that the Collegiate Trust was consulting on its admissions criteria.The proposal is for the removal of both feeder schools and the entrance examination. I understand that this proposal has caused some upset in the local area amongst those families who were relying on the feeder status to gain a place for their child. However, without feeder schools, the 'catchment area' will greatly increase and I would expect that most local families with a child at the closest primary schools will still gain a place, and children who live in Riddlesdown itself will be given priority.
I have written in support of the consultation on the basis that it will make Riddlesdown Collegiate a local school for local children and that in doing so it will reduce the traffic and parking that causes so much distress to local residents.
Croydon Local Plan Review - and it's lack of infrastructure 27/11/2019 12:17:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
I visited the Croydon Local Plan pop-up event outside Purley Leisure Centre this morning. It seems that every option seeks to add more homes to our local area without any regard to improving the infrastructure that gives a quality of living to residents.
In Riddlesdown we are all aware of houses being demolished in order to build more (usually) 9 more homes. These applications, which are almost always approved, claim to provide family housing. I would contest that that is the case if the parent in that family home has to make a 1 hour round journey on foot to take her children to primary school (no parking space means they have to walk and there is no local non-selective primary school in Riddlesdown) before they even think about taking a (reduced frequency) bus into town for work. And then they do that all again on the way back home.
Every Strategic Option in the proposed Local Plan involves a considerable increase in the housing units across Sanderstead and Purley - between 7K and 11K depending on the option. However, I saw no proposal for new schools, GP surgeries, bus routes, community centres. I really don't know how residents are expected to access local services if there aren't any and car usuage is made as difficult as possible.
If you want to learn more about the proposals, the following website provides more detail. It is vital that residents contribute to the discussion, especially adding examples of how the proposed infrastrucuture will not support increased housing and population.
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women 25/11/2019 11:36:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Last week I received a press release promoting a Borough-wide initiative to inform domestic abuse victims about how they can seek help against domestic abuse inall its forms. It begins today to coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Today marks the start of an annual 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.
The Council’s FJC (Family Justice Centre) team, which works to support people who are experiencing domestic abuse, will be using this period to engage with local partners to raise awareness of this crime, and the impact it can have.
The team will be in Centrale Shopping Centre with staff from Croydon’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre on the 25th. The event, from 11am to 4pm, will be an opportunity for people to meet the services and to discuss their concerns.
Posters promoting where to get help against this crime will also be put up in the hallways of all council housing blocks. I am unaware of posters being placed anywhere else.
I have spent some time seeking clarification on how else female residents can access the information during the remaining 15 days of action. So far, I have not been able to receive any further details but I will continue to seek more information so that our residents know how to access help.
I tried to visit the stall at Centrale today but couldn't fnd it - and the Centrale Managment couldn't help. Apparently it was inside the volunteer centre. Given that I stood in the doorway to see what volunteer opportunities they had this week, I can only assume it was a very small stall at the back of the unit. I'm disappointed that the only awareness event for residents was so well hidden from residents - the remaining events are for Council staff and other professionals.
If you need to talk about your own circumstances, or someone you care about, more information about the FJC can be found here:
Croydon's Green Fund 09/11/2019 13:44:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Croydon's Green Fund is now open for bids to provide funding support for projects, activities and initiatives that promote environmental protection, green living and a sustainable lifestyle in Croydon.
A sum of £250,000 is available each year over 3 years for voluntary organisations delivering projects within Croydon requiring £1,000 to £50,000.
The projects must take place in Croydon and shoiud deliver ad environmental benefit.
412 Timetable Changes 03/11/2019 15:30:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Residents should note that not only has the 412 route been curtailed, bus times have also been amended e.g. in the morning, commuters into Croydon town centre will find that buses are scheduled to depart the bus stops around 7 minutes earlier than previously schduled. Given that during the morning rush hour, buses usually ran around 6-8 minutes late anyway, it is hard ot forecast what the realtime schedule will prove to be.
I also note that there are temporary traffic lights at the far west end of Mitchley Avenue which will cause some disruption.
Changes to 412 bus route 01/11/2019 21:29:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Changes to the 412 bus route will begin tomorrow, Saturday 2nd November, with the bus no longer running between Katharine Street and West Croyon, and missing out the Whitgift Shopping Centre stop.
On the way into Croydon the bus will follow the current route from Purley as far as stop KS (Croydon Flyover) on Croydon High Street before going via Fell Road and Park Lane to Katharine Street, setting down at bus stop KB (Katharine Street).
Towards Purley the 412 will start at bus stop KB before going via Croydon High Street to bus stop KN (Croydon Flyover) and then contiue as normal.
Together with the recent reduction in the frequency of the service, this is a further erosion of our public transport service in Riddledown. I'm sure many residents will be inconvenienced and disappointed by the decisions made by TFL.
Please do contact us with any issues or concerns you may have. We answer all our constituents' correspondence and value your comments. If you want your concern addressed by your local team, please follow the link above.