Having been born and raised in Carshalton and Wallington, I have been through the local education system myself, as well as being a member of the People Committee on Sutton Council as a local councillor, which oversees the Council’s performance in the few areas it still has responsibility for as a Local Education Authority.
I have seen first-hand the hard work and dedication of local teachers and all staff within the local education sector. Thanks to their efforts, our Borough consistently performs incredibly well, with pupils of all backgrounds and abilities going on to achieving their full potential.
However, that is not to say that we do not face challenges.
In terms of the immediate future, my focus for education locally will be on the following.
Delivering more new school places
We are facing a real challenge at secondary level to provide the number of places we are going to need in September 2020 and 2021.
Schools have been incredibly generous with expanding and providing bulge classes, but I know this has stretched schools to their limits.
Therefore, I am pushing for a new secondary school to be built in the Borough as soon as possible. There is currently an appeal being heard on the Council's irresponsible decision to refuse planning permission for a school on a brownfield site in Rosehill. I am currently arguing that the decision should be overturned and permission be given to build this new school.
Tackling the crisis in EHCP provision
You may have seen the coverage in the national media about Sutton’s dismal performance in the operation of the Council’s SEND service, particularly with Cognus.
Parents are desperately trying to get their children access to EHCP plans, and I know schools have also been frustrated in wanting to help our most vulnerable children but felt blockages from the Council’s end. They have even set up a Sutton EHCP Crisis group to bring people together to draw attention to this scandal.
I will work with schools and with parents to ensure that the most vulnerable local children get the help and support they need.
Getting schools the resources they need
We are investing in our schools so that they can continue to provide our children with the best possible start in life.
Every secondary school pupil will receive an additional minimum of £5,000 next year and every primary school pupil will receive an additional minimum of £4,000 by 2021-22. In Sutton this is an increase of 4.21%.
This funding follows the Prime Minister’s announcement in August that the budget for schools and high needs would be increased by a total of over £14 billion over three years, rising to £52.2 billion by 2022-23.