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.
Active Ageing Event - All Saints Church 27/05/2019 19:38:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
All Saints Church in Sanderstead will be hosting an NHS Active Ageing Event tomorrow between 12 noon and 3pm.
Together with a range of local health and community organisation being availabe to discuss their services, there will also be a number of taster sessions in activities such as seated exercise, seated youga and Zumba.
Free refreshments will be available.
Helen Pankhust - Deeds Not Words 27/05/2019 14:27:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
On Thursday I attended a talk at Croydon College by Helen Pankhurst, writer of the book Deeds Not Words, and grand-daughter of Sylvia Pankhurst. The event was attended by pupils of a number of local schools and those from the College itself.
Helen's talk was interactive, giving the audience am opportunity to consider how much more equal (or not) women had become in the past century. Whilst Helen lead the discussion in areas such a politics and the work place I was interested to hear that the comments from the audience tended towards pressures on women and girls to look a certain way, and after an intervention from another speaker, how the discussion turned towardsintersectionality.
It was great to speak to Helen in person afterwards. When I dashed off afterwards to collect my daughter from school she was very impressed by who I'd just met.
Riddlesdown Residents Association AGM 16/05/2019 09:50:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
I was very pleased to attend the Riddlesdown Residents Association AGM last night.
We heard from a representative from TFL on the local bus services. I'm not certain that she understood the concerns of local residents about the reduced 412 service. As the service becomes less regular and shorter in length, residts will use it less and TFL may use those reduced figures to justify further cuts to the service rather than reflecting on why it's not working for local residents. There was news of possibly 2 extra buses in the morning travelling from Selsdon to Riddlesdown to deliver school children. However, this did not address the need for more buses going in the opposite direction for people who work in Croydon town centre and for children returning home in the afternoon; local residentswill be aware of the masses of children desperately trying to get on a bus in the afternoon.
Outside of the main meeting I was able to speak to individual residents about licensing issues, planning applications and community ward budget funding.
Riddlesdown Litter Pick - Tomorrow 10/05/2019 16:31:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
A reminder that the next Riddledown Litter Pick is tomorrow
Meeting as usual at the bottom of Dunmail Drive/The White Path, on Mitchley Hill at 2pm. All equipment will be provided. The last litter pick saw us collect less than usual so hopefully there is less littering taking place.
Sanderstead Residents Association AGM 09/05/2019 09:59:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
I was delighted to attend the Sanderstead Residents Association AGM last night.
We heard from a number of speakers about projects taking a place in the area including the planting of trees in the area, and there were a number fo cheques given to local organisations such as the South East Cancer Help Centre. Chris Philp MP provided an overview of local and national politics and answered a number of questions from residents.
It was sad to hear that Dennis King will be standing down as Chair of the AGM. Dennis asked for more people to join the committee, with a particular request for more women to lend their voice.
Domestic Abuse Awareness Event 30/04/2019 11:09:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
St Mary's Church, Purley Oaks Road hosted a Women's Aid event last night attended by a wide range of people from the church, interested local residents and Councillors Yvette Hopley, Lynne Hale, Simon Brew, Margaret Bird and myself. The event itself was brilliantly organised by Johanna Svensson.
Ruth Buckland from Bromley and Croydon Women's Aid spoke about the types of domestic abuse suffered by c.2m adults in the UK each year in 2018 alone. Domestic abuse is not necessarily physical violence but can also include emotional, psychological, sexual and economic abuse; it is common for more than one to be present in an abusive relationship.
It was reassuring to hear Ruth's very positive opinion on the Domesitc Abuse Bill which was published in January 2019. Measures include addressing coercive control and economic abusive as well and how domestic abuse affects children. There are also proposed measured to make the legal process easier for victims at a time of trauma.
There is help available to those in need. The advise given to those who are in imminient danger is to call 999 and leave immediately. Those who have the time for a planned exit can contact Women's Aid or Croydon's Family Justice Centre, which is more commonly known as the FJC.
Useful Contact Details:
Bromley and Croydon Womens Aid
020 8313 9303 (Monday to Friday 9am - 4.30pm)
Croydon Family Justice Centre (FJC)
020 8313 9303
Their drop-in and helpline are available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 9.30am to 4.30pm
National Domesitc Abuse Helpline (24 hour helpline)
0808 2000 247
Upcoming Women's Aid Event 25/04/2019 11:44:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Croydon and Bromley's Womens Aid will be holding an event at St Mary's Church on Purley Oaks Road, at 6.30pm on Monday 29th April.
The event will dispel myths about domestice abuse. The event is open to all, no booking needed. There will be an opportunity to become involved in the work that Women's Aid do in Croydon and there will be people on hand if you need to speak in confidence about any personal issues.
Visit to Children in Care, Adoption and Fostering Services 09/04/2019 20:53:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Another visit today to Children's Services, this time to meet with members of the teams working in the adoption and fostering areas.
Initially we spoke with the UASC (unaccompanied asylum-seeking children) team about how they assess and support children newly arrived at the Home Office in Croydon.
We also spoke to the Fostering and Adoption teams about the work they do with children and carers. I was particulalry interested in the post-adoption work.
There is to be a move to a regional adoption service which will see Croydon's adoption service merge with those of a number of south London boroughs. The aim is to improve adoption matching times, adopter recruitment and support in order to improve the long term outcomes for vulnerable children. The move to the new service will need to be managed well to avoid disruption to the provision in the interim.
Paint your wagon (and horse)! 02/04/2019 23:00:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
Cllr Brew and I had a delightful time trying to muster some artistic talent at Christ Church Purley this morning. Alan Potter, the artist creating the 'Iron Horse' sculpture that will be installed in Purley Rotary Field, is hosting 4 sessions that invite members of the public to decorate their own mini version of the sculpture. These smaller pieces will be placed in the park as part of the unveiling arrangements.
Around 20 people came to this morning's session - from babies and parents, a PCSO and very talented PC from the Purley Oaks & Riddlesdown SNT team, and residents who'd popped in to the café and were drawn in by the excitement. It was a very enjoyable way to spend a morning.
Alan is holidng 2 more sessions at Christ Church on Thursday at 10am and 1.30pm, and there will also be sessions for the children of Christ Church School. Do pop along on Thursday if you can - as you can see, no artistic experience is required!
Visit to Children Services Single Point of Contact 21/03/2019 20:07:00.......Posted by Helen Redfern
I had the opportunity to visit Croydon Council's Children Services Single Point of Contact ("SPOC"). This is the initial point of help for residents and agencies who have safety concerns. It was reported that until recently the systems used to record incoming work was woefully insufficient with poor workflow systems too. It was indicated that this has been significantly improved recently.
I then had the opportunity to speak to social workers, including some who have been recruited since the Inadequate Ofsted inspection in 2017. At Scrutiny Children and Young People Sub-Committee, we often hear how difficult it is to recruit and retain staff. Generally, the staff I met were happy in their roles, and with the environment in which they work at Bernard Weatherill House, with staff commuting from places such as Milton Keynes and Brighton.
It was a great opportunity to learn more about how the process works.
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