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It may be only the first week of December, but the local Christmas invitations are coming in thick and fast this year.
“Winter Wonderland” – Friday 16th December, 4pm – 7pm, Castlehaven Community Centre
The community festival will include a Santa’s Grotto; food and gift stalls; music and entertainment; a raffle, and lots more. Download the flyer for full details – and do pop along if you can. This excellent local charity really does deserve your support this Christmas.
Schools and children’s services look set to be hardest hit by the strike action tomorrow, while many other services in Camden will remain open or partically open.
In Haverstock the notable exceptions are Talacre Sports Centre and Queen’s Crescent Library, which both look likely to remain closed for the day.
I’ve reproduced the council’s full summary below, but it’s worth keeping an eye on Camden’s website for further updates. For more information on the background to the strikes and the government’s most recent offer on pensions, the Guardian has a pretty balanced report, here.
Children, schools and families services
- Schools – most schools in Camden will be closed. Parents will have been informed by their child’s school.
- Integrated early years– parents will have been informed by their Children’s Centres. Most will be closed.
- Family services and social work– we will deal with cases on an emergency priority basis.
- Integrated youth support service–YOS Highbury court and essential services will be open.
- Children, schools and families customer service and complaints– will offer a reduced but open service.
- Welfare, inclusion and support in education– will offer a reduced but open service.
- Children’s social work and QA – an emergency service will operate.
Housing and adult social care services
Most of our housing and adult social care services are expected to remain open or partially open, including some of our frontline adult social care services. We are not expecting any of these services to fully close.
Please see a summary below, which will be updated on Wednesday morning:
- Assessment and care management service (this team assesses people’s social care needs and arranges services accordingly) – will be open.
- Careline telecare (our 24 hour telephone support service for vulnerable people) – will be running
- Temporary accommodation (hostels) – will be open
- Residential care homes – will be open
- Supported living services (support services provided to vulnerable tenants) – will be open
- Housing repairs and improvements – will be partially open. We are rescheduling planned work so that we will be able to respond to emergencies and urgent repairs
- Passenger and accessible transport service – is expected to run as usual but will be assessed on Wednesday.
Culture and environment services
- Libraries– we expect to open Swiss Cottage, Holborn and St Pancras libraries, however activities planned for 30 November will not be taking place. All library activities and services will run as usual from Thursday 1 December 2011.
- Camden transport services – there is likely to be considerable disruption. Demand for services will be assessed on the day.
- Environment services – there may be slight delays but most activities will not be affected.
- Leisure centres – Talacre Sports Centre as well as Cantelowes and Camden Town sports pitches will be closed.
- Registrars will be open for the registration of deaths.
Residents and businesses in Steele’s Village are organising a Halloween pumpkin competition.
Judges will be looking for Haverstock’s spookiest Halloween pumpkins on 31st October, from 4pm. The competition is open to children of all ages whose families live, work, shop or go to school in the area.
To enter, please email organiser Lynn Whiting, or drop your details into any of Steele’s Village’s shops before Friday 28th October.
Schools in Camden are to receive an extra £3,579,000 thanks to the Liberal Democrats’ pupil premium.
Every school in the country will get £488 this year for each child on their roll who has free school meals. In a place like Camden, that means a huge cash boost targetted at our poorest pupils.
Of the main schools serving children here in Haverstock ward, Rhyl Primary will get £112,728, while Carlton Primary and Primrose Hill School both receive an extra £95,648. Haverstock School, our main secondary, wins a huge £247,904 – just short of a quarter of a million pounds.
These are significant sums of money, and can be used for extra one on one tuition, lessons after school, or whatever else schools think is needed to help children achieve their best. The Pupil Premium is a policy the Liberal Democrats devised and campaigned for, and our elected ministers put it at the heart of the coalition negotiations. Now it is a reality making a difference to our local schools in Camden.
Labour’s legacy was an education system where the richest 16-year olds were three times as likely to get five good GCSEs as the poorest. It’s pretty ironic that Ed Miliband’s old school, where he is fond of making speeches, will benefit to the tune of a quarter of a million pounds – thanks to a Liberal Democrat policy that his party opposed.
You can find out how much your local school will receive here.
It’s a devastating fact that, after thirteen years of splashing money around, Labour left behind a country where the best way to predict how well a child will do in school was to look at their parent’s income.
No one can be happy with this state of affairs, least of all those of us in places like Camden where there are schools (including the one where I am a governor) where over 80% of the children are on free school meals.
So, it’s a big deal that, from April next year, every school in England will get an extra £430 for each child in their school on free school meals. Based on latest estimates this will mean at least an extra £2,504,320 for schools to spend on the students who need it most in Holborn & St Pancras.
Many of our teachers do a great job in difficult circumstances, and richly deserve the extra support this money will bring. What’s more, the government has enough trust in their professional expertise to let teachers spend it in the way that will make the most difference for children in their school. This could mean one on one lessons, or extra catch up classes after school.
The pupil premium policy was on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto and was a red line in coalition negotiations. It is to the Tories credit that, unlike Labour, they were willing to take the idea on board.
Some in Labour are already moaning (conveniently ignoring the fact that their party preferred to walk away from government rather than having to agree to such a radical, progressive idea). Yet the pupil premium embeds an important principle into our schools system: that poorer children need extra help at the early stages of their education. We all benefit from this, and it’s great that for the first time ever good schools have a financial incentive to take poorer pupils, rather than squabbling over their middle class friends.
Investment in early years and primary education is the best way to turn around a child’s life chances. This extra money will help protect local schools and, in the long term, give a leg up to those who need it most.