Happy New Year

I had a marvellous 2013! The year really finished on a high for my SWEAT (South West Enfield Action Team) primary school campaign and for me personally. There were many ups and downs along the way, but I am a cup 1/2 full type of girl so I enjoy the roller coaster ride of life.

The SWEAT success came after just 9 months of campaigning for increased primary school places in the form of a proposal by Ashmole Academy for a primary school which is scheduled for September 2015. The proposed school is some way off, however the parent support that is needed for it to go ahead has been given by the local community. Members of the SWEAT group and I were busy distributing the Ashmole proposal to toddler groups, nurseries and libraries in December and our efforts have produced the desired result.

The campaign for primary school provision is not over and the 60 school places that Ashmole will provide yearly from 2015 will go someway to ease an increasing problem. Well done Ashmole. The school place requirement will not be satisfied by this proposal and SWEAT will continue to raise awareness in our aim to achieve more school places in the area.

On a personal note I am delighted to have passed Parliamentary Assessment Board and have been added onto the Conservative Party’s list of Approved Candidates. I am looking forward to a busy 2014 in politics.

Primary School Campaign Update

Fantastic News on our Primary School Campaign! Ashmole Academy have announced a proposal to build a New Primary School for local children. Ashmole Academy is located in Barnet but because their school is right on the border of Enfield many of the children that gain admission will be residents of South West Enfield.

If plans go ahead Ashmole Academy may implement a priority zone to include the Fox Lane area which has become a school admission “dead zone”. Residents in the FLDRA area would not be able to get their children into any local school but this may change in 2015.

Well done Ashmole Academy for taking action and for meeting a real need of the local community.

There have been further developments on the Grovelands proposal. You may be aware that Enfield Council proposed a school on the land adjacent to Grovelands Park, and we are all waiting to hear whether the school will pass the first step in the process which will be to gain English Heritage approval. I attended a Friends of Grovelands Meeting last week and was surprised and delighted by the announcement that in general the Friends support the proposal for a school, providing it does not impinge on the current public park. Good news indeed if the proposal gets to the public consultation stage.

Continue reading “Primary School Campaign Update”

Friends of Grovelands Park

I am a member of the Friends of Grovelands Park and I attended a general meeting this week. This year was Grovelands Park centenary and hundreds of people attended the celebrations in the park to make it a marvellous success.

I am surprised that there aren’t more members of this group to support and maintain this historic park. If you want to become more involved with the park and the Friends of Grovelands Park, they are actively seeking more members. Annual membership is £5 and their website is here http://www.n21.net/friends-of-grovelands-park-winchmore-hill-n21-london.html. The next meeting is Thursday 21st November 2013, 8pm at St Paul’s Church Hall.

At the FoG meeting we heard about Travellers being evicted from Edmonton and actively looking for a new place to set up in the Enfield area. I had a traveller knock at my door and ask if I wanted anything sharpened the day before the meeting. Does anyone get anything sharpened on their doorstep by gypsies anymore? Or is it a tactic to check whether anyone is at home? I didn’t feel safe.

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I had to speak out at the FoG meeting about SWEAT (South West Enfield Action Team) and our campaign. I clarified what we are trying to achieve and also what Enfield’s current proposals on the land adjacent to Grovelands are. The majority of FoG members have an open mind about the Grovelands proposals, I think that is because we are all waiting to see whether English Heritage says the concept is viable.

Some members, like me, have strong views, some in favour of a school and some against a school. If you support the school proposal please register your support on the SWEAT website  http://wewantlocalschools.wordpress.com/

Continue reading “Friends of Grovelands Park”

St. Ives and seals (or sea-lions)

We, my family, the in-laws and I, spent a glorious Bank Holiday weekend at St. Ives in Cornwall. After doing a key exchange with my neighbours so they could look after Tin Tin, the cat, whilst we were away, we were off.

We had to exchange keys as we had taken care of their guinea pig, Lily, before the weekend. That had been a concern as Lily had been to the vet a number of times prior to us looking after her. I was worried that the hormonal Lily, who was overheating and had to have an ice pack in her cage day and night would not make it and I didn’t want her to expire on my watch. Fortunately we left her in good health as we set off on our long weekend.

St. Ives has a beautiful little harbour that is quite unspoilt. The resort still has a feel about it that must have been there in Victorian times. When the tide is out you can walk and paddle in the harbour itself but there is also a lovely long and wide beach next to the harbour.

My babies loved paddling in the sea and building sandcastles on the beach. No other entertainment was needed. On one of our evenings we had a Cornish pasty al fresco. Just as the babies were tucking in to their pastry we were joined by a gang of sea gulls who, given half a chance, would have run off with our dinners.

sealsThe evening was completed by a walk up the quay where fishermen were bringing in their catch. As we walked along we noticed huge eyes looking up at us from the sea. The seals (or sea-lions, I don’t know the difference) were seemingly waiting for easy pickings from the fisherman. The whole family of 4 seals came up for a feast which they never got. Children in wet suits were jumping off the quay for fun and neither the children nor the seals were bothered by the presence of the other. It was lovely to watch.

Continue reading “St. Ives and seals (or sea-lions)”

How to engage with the local community?

My family and I took a walk in Grovelands Park over the weekend. We had a lovely time visiting the playgrounds, watching the wildlife, playing ball and eating ice lollies.I met a lady with her 3 year old son who attends the playgroup that I also attend with my 2 year old twins and we enjoyed a catch up chat.

I mention this because as we chatted it became obvious that she did not know anything about the concept proposal by Enfield Council for a new school in the land adjacent to Grovelands Park. Admittedly these proposals are in the very early stages and it will not go ahead without the approval of English Heritage however this is something that directly affects this lady and her son and she has no knowledge of it. She will be applying for a primary school place this autumn and visits Grovelands Park recreationally.

How can we reach mothers with young children so that they are aware of news that they need to know of? I assume that details of this new school proposal will not go out in the School Pack that Enfield Council will provide to the parents of primary school aged children this year.

I know that many mothers use social networking, as I do, but do I find out information that I feel is life affecting through Twitter or Facebook? For me that is a resounding No.

I am a committee member of the Fox Lane and District Residents’ Association and we need to attract the younger community, such as young mothers to join up. When members join our association they receive a newsletter and weekly email updates of local news. News that mothers should know about such as schools, local projects and the like.

Unfortunately Residents’ Associations tend to attract mainly older citizens which means that the whole community is not represented and an emphasis is put on things that may not interest younger generations. On the plus side I can say that being a member of FLDRA makes me feel very young even though I am middle aged.

An issue does exist of how to engage with all members of the local community.

Grovelands Park

I visited Grovelands Park today and have added some images of the Park onto my gallery page. I have recently joined Friends of Grovelands Park which keeps members and the public informed of Park related news.

I attended a meeting of Friends of Grovelands because of the Grovelands Park Improvements Proposal. I anticipated that the proposal would be an agenda item at the Friends meeting. I’m glad I attended  the meeting to put forward the concerns of parents regarding the lack of primary school places in our area and why I, and the SWEAT group, would be supporting Enfield Council’s proposals.

I think that most members at the meeting seemed happy with the concept plans as long as the outlook of the park was not affected. The Friends agreed that the plans were in too early a stage to make any decisions. I came away with the feeling that they have a reasonable outlook, and understand the need for a school in the area.

Continue reading “Grovelands Park”

Broomfield House Film

I have been visiting Broomfield Park since I was a child. My family lived opposite the park in Broomfield Lane and my siblings and I would cross the road and jump or clamber over the park fence to gain entrance.

If you are familiar with the area you will know that Broomfield House is a Grade II listed house in Broomfield Park that originates from the 16th century and was devastated by fire in 1984. It is very sad that Broomfield House exists as charred remains held up by scaffolding and has done so for nearly 30 years. Continue reading “Broomfield House Film”

Grovelands Park Improvements Meeting

I attended a meeting held by Enfield Council proposing a new primary school in the land adjacent to Grovelands Park. I was invited as a key stakeholder because of my interest in Education and my campaign for increased Primary School Provision.

Members of the SWEAT (South West Enfield Action Team) group, created specifically to campaign for local children to go to local schools, and members of FLDRA (Fox Lane District Residents’ Association) also attended in support of the proposals.

Gary Barnes, Assistant Director, Regeneration, presented the concept proposed, a new 2 form entry primary school built in a style to compliment the neighbouring Priory building. The building would be set down in the land and with a green roof so that the vista from the park would not be disturbed. An excellent proposal that is much needed for the local community.

Continue reading “Grovelands Park Improvements Meeting”

Under the knife & cakes

I had Arthroscopy surgery on my right knee in Barnet Hospital as a day case and was very impressed by the efficient service provided by our NHS.

I have (or had)  a torn cartilage as a result of a climbing accident in my youth which was worsened by a skiing accident a few years ago. My first visit to a doctor for this problem was 10 months ago; so 10 months from initial consultation to repair is a time frame that I as a customer am content with. Continue reading “Under the knife & cakes”

St John’s Summer Fete 2013

Remember the fetes of yesteryear when competitions and afternoon teas were compulsory?  Well, St John’s summer fete has decided to go ‘Vintage’ this year based on fetes of the 1940’s and 1950’s.

The Fete runs from 12-4pm with David Burrowes, MP, opening the fete. There are various stalls, bric-a-brac, clothes, cake, gifts, raffle, plants, composting and many more for you to peruse.

For the children there is a bouncy castle and face painting as well as various games to try out, such as the bottle tombola and hunt for silver in the sand!

Continue reading “St John’s Summer Fete 2013”

Sweating for our children

The first meeting of the South West Enfield Action Team (or SWEAT) took place on Tuesday 25th June at my home. I met the other members of our newly formed group who are prepared to give up their free time and campaign for an issue that is so important to every parent, the education of our children.

In the Fox Lane area there are insufficient local school places and many of the parents are forced to transport their children to schools across the borough or have to resort to private education.

Continue reading “Sweating for our children”

Parents take action

The first meeting for the parent action group is scheduled for next Tuesday 25th June. There is a good deal to discuss:

  • The School Expansion Programme Phase 2 Report that was approved by Enfield Cabinet on 19th June
  • The setting of clear objectives for our group
  • The name of our group (my suggestion is SWEAT – South West Enfield Admissions Team, we’re sweating for our children)
  • When, where and the regularity of meetings
  • Analyse and understand the Council’s responses to questions raised at the meeting on Tuesday 30th April
  • Decide next steps

There are 6 members of the group at the moment and we would welcome further members. If you are interested in joining please use the Contact Us page on this website, wewantlocalschools.wordpress.com or Foxlane.net to get in touch with me.

Primary Schools Open Meeting

Last night I chaired the meeting on Primary Schools Admissions held locally and facilitated by the Fox Lane and District Residents’ Association, of which I am a committee member.

The meeting was in two parts:

  • Understanding Central and Local Government strategy on Admissions
  • A forum for the audience to express opinions and concerns and to question the panel.

I want to thank the panel and the audience for attending the meeting and participating in a lively debate. The panel were:

  • David Burrowes MP
  • Cllr Ayfer Orhan (Cabinet Member for Children & Young People)
  • Andrew Fraser (Director of Schools & Children’s Services)
  • Jenny Tosh (Assistant Director for Education)
  • Neil Best (PEP Stakeholder Engagement, Schools & Children’s Services)

David Burrowes spoke first on local issues (he is a local resident) as well as on the national picture and he was followed by Neil Best presenting for the Local Authority.

This was followed by a lively and emotive debate. The audience consisted of parents, local Councillors and FLDRA residents. Many of the audience were residents who had been disappointed by Walker admissions, and the cancelled expansion that was proposed for the school. We were able to provide an update on the Walker position as the Walker Chair of Governors had hand delivered a letter to the FLDRA chairman, two hours before the meeting was due to start. The letter will be published on the FLDRA website http://foxlane.net/ in due course.

I will be posting again after I have gone through all of the content of the meeting. My twitter feed gives an impression of what happened as my husband, Jon, kindly posted as me throughout using the #EnfieldSchools.

The meeting may be over but I see this as the start.

Update–Open Meeting Tuesday 30th April 7.30pm

Did you know that 250,000 school places will be needed by September 2014?

Did you know that a family who live a 90 second walk from Walker School cannot get their children admitted to that school based on the distance criteria?

Did you know that there are plans to build over 300 family homes in the Southgate area? Where will all these incoming families send their children to school? Something needs to change!

I have organised a meeting facilitated by FLDRA (Fox Lane and District Residents’ Association) to debate this problem.

The following representatives of Central and Local Government have agreed to attend this meeting on Primary School Places (or the lack of them):

  • · David Burrowes MP
  • · Cllr Ayfer Orhan Cabinet Member for Children & Young People
  • · Andrew Fraser (Director of Schools & Children’s Services)
  • · Jenny Tosh (Assistant Director for Education)
  • · Michael Toyer (Project Director for the Primary Expansion Programme)

Local Councillors have also been invited and I anticipate there being many parents who will have just received notification of the school that their Reception aged child will attend in September 2013.

The meeting will be in 2 phases:

  1. Understanding Central and Local Government Strategy on Primary School Admissions
  2. A forum for parents to express concerns, views and opinion

If you have a question that you would like the panel to answer then please attend the meeting or submit an advance question to the website http://wewantlocalschools.wordpress.com/ which has been set up specifically for this meeting. There is further information on this website.

Open Meeting Tuesday 30th April

I am organising an open meeting on Tuesday 30th April to debate Primary School Admissions. FLDRA (Fox Lane and District Residents’ Association) are facilitating the meeting of which I am a committee member.

In our residents’ association area there are insufficient Primary Schools and Primary School places. There is one good community school, Walker, which is Ofsted 1 and an Outstanding school. Many parents cheat to get their children into this school by taking out a short term let on the school’s doorstep and then moving once their child is in. Most admissions each year are siblings so someone who lives in Finsbury Park, for example, can send their 3 children to Walker School because of the Sibling criteria. Maybe the sibling criteria should be changed?

The meeting is in its early stages but if we get the buy-in from local and central representatives then we will have a panel to debate with. The meeting will have 2 parts:

  1. Understanding Central and Local Government Strategy on Primary School Admissions
  2. A forum for parents to express concerns, views and opinion

The details of the meeting can be taken on the website I have created for the Campaign We Want Local Schools.

More content to follow soon.

Red Nose Day

2013-03-15 19.45.43Thank you lovely bakers Jon, Mum, Liz, Flavia, Lorraine, Lucille and Julie whose delicious cakes helped raise £165 for Comic Relief.

Thank you also to all those people who supported us in the Bake Off by either sponsoring us or paying to eat our cakes.

It was funny, but also heart breaking to watch Comic Relief on the television whilst we Baked Off. As a mother with young children I got angry hearing about the preventable illnesses that the children in Africa are suffering. My anger is directed towards the Government’s of the countries which are rich in natural resources but allow their people to suffer. Thank goodness for charities like Comic Relief that improve lives.

I am fortunate to have generous friends and family who have helped to make a difference.

The title of Great Bourne Hill Baker went to the only male baker …. the odds were 7 to 1 against … and he is now the official baker in our house …. my Jon!

The Great Bourne Hill Bake Off

 

The Great Bourne Hill Bake Off …. well maybe not great …. and maybe not everyone lives in Bourne Hill … and maybe not funny (although we haven’t seen my daughter’s baking yet) …. but a few of my friends have committed themselves to raising money for Red Nose Day. If you are in the area on Friday 15th March at around 7.30pm and fancy some tea and cake , then for a donation you can sample our wares after a winning cake has been selected.

If you’re not in the area but want to support the cause please sponsor me. Thanks.

International Women’s Day 2013

Today is International Women’s Day; It falls on March 8th every year and has been observed since the early 1900’s.

I was asked to represent David Burrowes MP at an event to celebrate International Women’s Day. David Burrowes is the Conservative MP for the constituency I live in of Enfield-Southgate. I feel proud to have been asked and that David Burrowes has shown faith in my ability to speak publicly for him.

The event was being celebrated by Enfield Saheli and Naree Shakti. Naree Shakti is an organisation that aims to provide an informal advisory service for Asian women who are isolated, by language and cultural barriers. They also provide a number of activities for Asian women, including regular social events, yoga, and an elders drop in club. Naree Shakti have focused on women suffering from domestic abuse and have been very influential within the Asian community in Enfield.

The day to celebrate women was inspiring to say the least, all of the women speakers gave interesting talks or readings. Vijay Rattan gave an informative talk on the historical landmarks in Women’s history and how women have forced change.

The Mayor of Enfield spoke of personal experience, about being widowed and finding the strength like many other women in similar situations to carry on.

My talk gave a bit of background about me trying to progress my career in a male dominated profession and then a message from David. I then summarised the action that the Government is taking to tackle violence against Women and Girls and finally I read parts of a letter from Justine Greening MP written in celebration of International Women’s Day.

The message from all of the speakers was of encouragement to women and of the strength of women.

I am a school governor and mother so my favourite quote of the day was “Educate a man and you educate one person, educate a woman and you educate a generation”.

Eastleigh By-Election

Do the same again and get the same result

Conservatives need to appeal to a younger audience. The Eastleigh By-Election has proven that the old tried and tested campaigning methods aren’t working.

I was involved in telephone canvassing and that is one method of engaging with a specific demographic of voters; voters who have a landline. Other methods of engaging with younger voters are needed. If I had been standing in Eastleigh I would have used a Facebook ad and targeted the area for my advert and targeted a specific age group of 18 – 40 years. I would have been tweeting everyday and made sure all my literature had my Twitter details so anyone could follow me.

Generation Y communicate differently to the older generation and Generation Z (those born after 2000) will communicate differently from them; we Conservatives need to revise our communication strategies accordingly.

I admire Maria Hutchings for her honesty and making clear what her opinions were; for example being opposed to same sex marriage, and I’m sure that would appeal to the old Conservatives. I also think that it would have the opposite affect on younger voters.

I have read that during the lead up to the election and during the day the Conservative Association offices in Eastleigh were closed and unmanned, which appears to me to be a strategical mistake. The Association office  should have been open and welcoming constituents in the lead up to polling day. My own constituency has an Association office however whenever I visit the office it is never open and it is not obvious when it will be open.

In my opinion an Association office is the public face of the Conservative party and shouldn’t be run like a charity shop.  We need to shake up our image? If there is an Association office then it should be obvious when it is open and what its purpose is.

The Association offices need to be welcoming and encouraging the local community to get involved.

I would like to set up or participate in local a Conservative’s Women’s Organisation but because there is a regional office that exists I have been rebuffed. The regional office has invited me to a Christmas lunch which I appreciate however my type of organisation will be the one that teaches new skills, that raises money for charity, that appeals to mothers of younger children as well as older children and has a local community focus.

In summary new ideas, new people and new suggestions should be welcomed. We Conservatives should try out new things and then maybe we’ll appeal to a wider audience. It doesn’t matter if new ideas fail, failure is part of life, however doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is madness.

Conservative Women’s Organisation AGM & Conference 2013

I attended the CWO’s AGM and Conference in Westminster and what a fantastic day. There were speeches by the Chairman and Vice-President of the NCC, introduction by the President of the CWO, speeches by MP’s and debates chaired by MP’s into a range of subjects including cultural attitudes towards women, ageism and water. On paper it doesn’t grip you but I can vouch for there being excellent information sessions followed by interesting debate. The day flew by and has given me food for thought. Pictures of the day can be found in my gallery soon.

The Conservative Women’s Organisation is run by group of dedicated political volunteers who support women into public office. I have found Pauline Lucas and Margaret Bird to be the warmest, friendliest and most approachable of ladies who have unlimited energy and have helped me enormously. The website is here http://www.conservativewomen.org.uk/and I cannot recommend their projects enough.

The CWO runs development workshops at CCHQ which develops skills women require to become Councillors or to pass the Parliamentary Assessment Board. I have attended some of these courses and found them to be invaluable. I recommend them to anyone who wants to become politically active.

Thank you CWO!

Pistorius gets bail

A man admits murdering a woman and is then granted bail. I feel there is an injustice when I see images of Oscar Pistorius going out in his car and being free after admitting killing his girlfriend. His girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, will never have the privilege of life again and how must her family feel seeing him free?

Whilst my family and I were eating our Sunday dinner today we debated the issue of Pistorius’ release around the table and I feel strongly that Pistorius should not have been released.

South Africa is a violent society and I understand that every day the South African newspapers report a new murder, and yet another statistic of violent crime in a country that accepts this as normal. I have advised my daughter to never visit South Africa; the images of Pistorius free sends a message that I interpret as “life is cheap”.

My family suggested that Pistorius is out on bail because he is not a risk to others and that he would not flee. This man has admitted that he killed his girlfriend. If I awoke at night and my husband were not in bed beside me he would be the first thing I would look for.

It doesn’t ring true that Pistorius would shoot someone in the bathroom because he was scared. You would not fire a gun at the bathroom if your partner who usually sleeps beside you is not in the room. You would assume that your partner has gone to the toilet. Pistorius’ claims of being vulnerable because of his disability prove that he is a risk to the public as he shoots first because of his disability. Why is he not a risk now when the symptoms leading to him shooting his girlfriend have not changed.

Broomfield House

I have been visiting Broomfield Park since I was a child. My family lived  opposite the park in Broomfield Lane and my siblings and I would cross the road and jump or clamber over the park fence to gain entrance. We kids couldn’t be bothered to go an extra 50 metres and use the gate.

My parents left us children to freely come and go to the park. Mum and Dad knew that Hassan, the friendly Park Keeper, in his smart uniform with a peaked cap would keep an eye on us. Hassan was of Turkish Cypriot origin, as were we, and my parents had spoken with him to keep an eye on us and keep us safe in the park.

If you are familiar with the area you will know that the Grade II listed house in Broomfield Park that originates from the 16th century was devastated by fire in 1984. It is a shameful that Broomfield House exists as charred remains held up by scaffolding and has done so for nearly 30 years.

Today I was interviewed by Christine Lalla, a film maker who is making a short documentary film with the intention of raising money for the restoration of this historic building. I recounted my childhood memories of Broomfield House to her.

The house had been a Natural History Museum and on the ground floor there was a live bee hive made of glass so you could see the bees in all their activity. There was a glass tunnel which took the bees to their hive from the world outside. It was fascinating to watch, in fact a hive of activity. I remember visiting the upstairs of the museum where there were drawers of exhibits. Some of the exhibits were dead butterflies pinned out with their names. I knew it to be Natural History but to me it seemed very unnatural to look at dead butterflies when there were many live and colourful butterflies fluttering around the flowers outside the house. I only remember going upstairs a couple of times.

I look forward to seeing the end product and hope that it is not just a film but is the restoration of Broomfield House. Does that mean restoration to its former glory? Or does it mean giving the building a purpose, like a school?  It mustn’t be left to rot for another 30 years.

 

Planning permission and effect

Planning permission has been granted to build 3 new family homes in Bourne Hill, see http://foxlane.net/ planning message in FLDRA messages 31st January.

The plot was previously a car park opposite the entrance to Grovelands Park and  would have been used mainly by people going to the park. Is the sale of this plot of land for housing the best outcome for community property? The sale has brought the Council revenue for the short term but what will the long term effect be?
In this area and the nearby Lakes Estate Conservation Area there is a lack of school places both for primary education and secondary education. There is already a crises area in the centre of five or six community schools where children will not be admitted into a school near their home.
Enfield Council have a Primary School Expansion Programme to address this problem in areas all over Enfield however this is a reactive approach that will not resolve an ever growing problem, particularly as some of the proposed schools have objected and been withdrawn from the programme.

The Council receive a five year forecast from the GLA informing them of the number of Education admissions they will require year on year so there is no excuse for the LEA’s lack of forward planning.

There are two publicly owned buildings in Palmers Green that could be ideal for new schools, namely Southgate Town Hall  and Broomfield House. I am not so naive that I don’t understand why Council officers prefer housing opportunities in this old Civic building and this historic building as opposed to Education, and the answer is money.

Housing will bring in revenue and Education will bring expenditure.

Housing will demand increased services and Education will provide a service.

Housing will pollute and Education will be green, local children walking to their local school.

More long term planning please!

 

Happy New Year

I have made several New Year resolutions and one of them is to post more frequently onto my website so here goes. All views expressed are my own and I realise that people may not be interested in my views … but then again some might.

Someone told me that if you don’t post it looks as though you aren’t doing anything but in reality the opposite is true, but being busy is no longer an excuse that I’ll use.

I am no Liz Jones (Daily Mail journalist), and I won’t be making money out of this. I may however make enemies! People who know me will understand the intonation of my posts however those who don’t may think I am very up myself.

The majority of my posts will be on my areas of expertise and interest, so mainly Technology and Education. I look forward to planning my website and my next post will be on the six w’s; what, when, why, who, where and how of my website posts.

A Happy New Year to you all and may 2013 bring you much happiness. After reading to my babies I’ll be off on another New Year’s resolution and trying to get fit.

 

 

Southgate Village Hall

plaqueI have walked past this plaque many times in Southgate and not really noticed it. It remembers a community’s village hall that was knocked down. In its place stands an empty looking office block with a “To Let” sign on it. What a waste!

It should have remained a community hall or maybe an extension for the library or something that benefits the local community.

The reason I am blogging about the village hall is because Enfield Council appear determined to make a similar mistake with Southgate Town Hall. This is an old building in Palmers Green that Enfield Council used to provide Social Services and Housing services from. Enfield Council have left the building and are determined to turn this lovely old community building into housing.

Turning this building into flats will meet a community want, however the needs of the community is for education and this building would be ideally suited as a primary school. There are not enough primary school places in this area and Enfield Council have a Primary School Expansion Programme which affects 10 existing schools in the borough.

Make Southgate Town Hall into a primary school!

Reception with Ken Clarke

I was fortunate to be invited to an evening reception with Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP by my local MP David Burrowes.
The venue was lovely and our hostess welcomed us into her home.

Ken Clarke was very generous in answering all of the questions put to him, even my cheeky question about whether he influenced the 1966 World Cup result.
Ken Clarke was famously in the crowd next to the linesman who couldn’t see whether Geoff Hurst’s ball crossed the goal line.
Apparently Ken and the crowd may have convinced the linesman that it did.
A very nice evening where I met a great politician.

Enfield Primary School Expansion

The London Borough of Enfield has been consulting on how to provide more primary school places in the borough. The Council proposes to expand 10 existing schools to increase the number of children that can be taken into Reception classes and in some cases into Year 1.

In my area of Southgate and Palmers Green there are expansion proposals for Walker School and Broomfield School but there are no proposals for a new school. A new primary school could be situated in the old Southgate Town Hall which is empty.

I support the proposal for the expansion of Walker School which is rated a 1 by Ofsted and offers outstanding education. I attended the consultation meeting at Walker which was the forum to have my say. I live ½ mile from Walker School but will be unable to get my twins admitted due to over subscription. There are other issues with admissions to Walker where parents rent properties next to the school for a short period and then once their children are admitted move further away thus taking places that should rightfully belong to people who really reside in the immediate area, but that’s another story!

I do not support the proposal to expand Broomfield School. Broomfield School is rated a 4 by Ofsted and therefore has issues regarding the quality of education provided. It would mean changing the age of admission from 11-18 to 4-18. I would not want to send my child to a failing school so I cannot understand the thinking behind expanding this school. The effect of an expansion would be to force poor education onto more children in the community. Surely a new school in the area would be a better proposition. There is a separate consultation for Broomfield School.

The consultation period is over but if you wanted to comment or get involved then I think the Programme Director of the Primary School Expansion Programme, Bridget Evans could be a good starting point.