Ofsted rates Kensington Avenue Primary as a ‘good’ school


Kensington Avenue Primary School’s standards of teaching and pupil behaviour have impressed Ofsted inspectors enough for the school to receive a ‘good’ rating.

Previous inspections had indicated improvements were needed in a number of areas, but, following a recent visit, Ofsted has confirmed how hard work and a clear vision from staff and governors has paid off. With help from the Council, Kensington has developed a strong leadership team who, the Ofsted inspectors noted, ‘have established a school where pupils are keen to succeed.’

The report also highlighted how teachers now successfully encourage and motivate children of different abilities and also create an environment where ‘pupils are polite, friendly, and keen to learn.’

Head Teacher, Clare Cranham, said: “As well as praise for teaching staff I’m delighted the inspectors also recognised how our pupils’ enthusiasm and confidence has increased and how this is reflected in their attainment. We always welcome feedback from Ofsted, and we agreed with their comments about how we could still do more to set challenging work for more able pupils. We’re already addressing this by looking to find new ways of helping children fully master maths and literacy skills.”

The school has also been listening to what children themselves want, and, as a result, there are plans for more ‘deep learning’ days where classes use practical experiences to focus on key writing skills. Clare added that attendance had also been addressed since earlier inspections. She said: “We’re working hard to get every child to be an ‘attendance H-E-R-O’: Here, Every day, Ready and On time. We know there are a small number of families who need more encouragement to ensure their children come to school regularly, and this is high on our list of priorities.”

The Council’s school improvements team works with schools across the borough to help raise standards. Councillor Alisa Flemming, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning, said, “Croydon now has more good and outstanding schools than ever before, and the academic results being achieved in the borough are improving every year. I’m delighted Kensington Avenue has joined the ranks of Ofsted’s ‘good’ rated schools, and I’m sure with a little more work they can achieve an outstanding rating in the future.”

Source: Your Croydon

Check out what’s happening in Croydon this summer as Boxpark reveal their long list of activities


Boxpark Croydon has announced a jam-packed schedule for the summer.

From movie screenings to a heritage vinyl marker, there’s plenty to do in Croydon this time of the year. For mums and dads who want to teach their kids some dance moves early on, Baby Loves Disco will be inviting parents and their nippers to “throw some shapes together” (22nd July). You can forget The Voice or X Factor, Hip Hop Karaoke (2nd June, 21st July) will give those who fancy themselves the next Biggie a chance to shine.

Here’s the full list of what’s happening at Boxpark this summer.

June:

  • 15th – Jay Knoxx – Funky House
  • 16th – Friday Feelings
  • 17th – Rapture LDN
  • 18th – Sweatbox Session
  • 19th – Cuban Fury Screening
  • 22nd – Nation of Billions
  • 23rd – Future SNDS
  • 24th – Baby Loves Disco
  • 24th – Heritage Vinyl Market
  • 25th – Trinity Boys Choir
  • 28th – Well Versed
  • 29th – DJ Deluxe
  • 30th – The Pit LDN

July:

  • 1st – All About House
  • 2nd – Reggae Sunday Sessions – Venum Sound
  • 4th – Reverb
  • 5th – Loud Music Collective
  • 6th – Pirate Radio Sessions
  • 7th – Experience Barcelona
  • 8th – Fight Klub
  • 8th – Vibes 2 Unites
  • 9th – Great Big Lunch
  • 12th – Colourful Radio
  • 13th – Fix LDN
  • 14th – Friday Feelings
  • 15th – Croydon Pride – TBC
  • 19th – London Mozart Players x Shift K3Y
  • 20th – Girl Gang
  • 21st – Hip Hop Karaoke
  • 21st – Friday Feelings
  • 22nd – Baby Loves Disco
  • 26th – Well Versed
  • 27th – Nicky Blackmarket
  • 28th – Fiona Hall

August:

  • 3rd – TBC
  • 4th – Hip Hop Karaoke
  • 7th – Reggae Sunday Sessions – Venum Sound
  • 9th – Colourful Radio
  • 10th – Afrobeats – SIlverstone
  • 11th – Friday Feelings
  • 12th – Baby Loves Disco
  • 24th – DJ Ace – Record Box
  • 26th – Fight Klub
  • 30th – Well Versed
Source: Croydon Guardian

New art for Surrey Street as further improvements get under way


A diverse range of art is being installed in the newly improved Surrey Street as Croydon looks to further cement its reputation as the home of street art in the capital.

Boy Soldier by the artist Schoony is the second in a series of varied art pieces to be installed as part of the upgrade. The thought provoking, anti-war piece is about the horror of children being forced into conflict around the world. The urban art sculpture which is located at the entrance to Exchange Square, first shot to fame after it was unveiled outside the Houses of Parliament as an anti-war protest in 2008.

A mural celebrating relationships on the exterior wall of Don’s café by Rich Simmons is among other pieces commissioned, along with the decoration of disused air con units in Middle Street and the painting of the stairs up to the Arcade – which will also be fitted with interactive lighting – by Rise Gallery’s Kevin Zuchowski-Morrison and Charlie Henson.

Decorative netting filled with colourful shapes will be erected to a secure a void between two buildings and make the street’s appearance more pleasing. Wayfinding signs, which will light up will also be installed. A further mural is planned for Middle Street and programmable, strobe lighting will also be fitted in shop fronts next to Crisis.

The installations, which are part of the council’s £1.1 million renovation of the 700-year-old market, come after a Saatchi gallery artist’s neon flourish became the first piece of public art installed in Surrey Street in February. Lauren Baker’s quotation design which reads ‘A simple hello could lead to a million things’, was installed on the footbridge to bring a positive message to the area and to provide a fun, alternative way to light the area under the bridge. The artwork, which is being installed to attract a greater footfall to Surrey Street, boosting business for market traders and shops, has been financed by section 106 funding which is specifically ring-fenced for public art in this area.

Councillor Mark Watson, Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs, said, “I am delighted such a variety of art is being installed in Surrey Street. Croydon’s burgeoning reputation for its fantastic street art will be further enhanced by these new pieces, which will help make Surrey Street a new destination for art lovers.”

Source: Your Croydon

London’s international dance festival brings spectacular open-air show to Croydon


London’s international dance festival Dance Umbrella has named Croydon among the venues for a spectacular open-air, gravity-defying performance this autumn.

Released this week, the 2017 Dance Umbrella programme describes Origami as ‘the unlikely pairing of a monumental shipping container and a gravity-defying dancer’. Inspired by the Japanese art of paper folding, the performance is a breath-taking spectacle where the container unfurls, as dancer and choreographer Satchie Noro dangles from its sharp corners and glides on its edges. The container continues to move throughout the performance.

Croydon is one of just five locations across the capital selected to host the free 40-minute show, supported by Croydon Council. Suitable for everyone, the performance will take place in The Queen’s Gardens on Saturday 14 October at 1.30pm and 6.30pm. Community dance workshops and performances will also be held in the Braithwaite Hall, with details to be publicised nearer the time.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said, “Dance Umbrella is London’s ultimate celebration of contemporary dance so I’m delighted that Croydon is hosting such an exciting performance. Croydon is fast gaining a reputation as a borough that invests in arts and culture and a place that embraces creativity. Our cultural programme continues to go from strength to strength and this year has seen us welcome some fabulous new artists and organisations to the borough, while helping to grow our own local talent. It’s great to see our cultural scene evolving.”

Dance Umbrella is London’s annual international festival of contemporary dance. The 2017 programme runs from October 11-28. For more information on the show visit www.danceumbrella.co.uk.

Source: Your Croydon

 

New playground opens thanks to the power of community spirit


A £100,000 new playground has been opened at South Norwood Lakes thanks to the fundraising efforts of a group of local residents.

Thornton Heath-born Olympian, Donna Fraser, was amongst those who attended the launch event to congratulate the team behind the project. The Lakes Playground Action Group (LPAG) have been working closely with the council for several years to improve play facilities in the area. They developed a project plan and set themselves the £100,000 target, which was met thanks to funding from a range of different sources.

Councillor Timothy Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said, “This project has been a showcase of a community-led campaign that has delivered a stunning all-age children’s playground. LPAG should be rightly proud of their achievement, and the council has been equally proud to support them in their efforts.”

LPAG members did a range of sponsored activities, local councillors contributed £2,000 from their ward budgets, and the council also provided £24,000 of Section 106 planning development money to support the scheme. Generous contributions of £39,500 from the Veolia Environmental Trust and £19,500 from the London Marathon Charitable Trust made up the bulk of the rest of the funding.

Paul Taylor, the Executive Director of the Veolia Environmental Trust, adds, “We were glad we could provide support through the Landfill Communities Fund for the improvements, and it is great to hear that the play area is now open and already being enjoyed by many. This project is an excellent example of how local residents can come together to realise the change they want to see for their community.”

Additional help was provided by Tesco’s ‘bags of help’ scheme, which donated just over £4,500, and sponsorship of £350 each from Brown & Greens and North Music Ltd. Local estate agents, Pedder, contributed £1,000, and thanks to public votes the Lloyds Bank Community Fund helped out with another £2,000.

The installation of new play equipment was overseen by the Council’s education project management team, and the official opening took place on Saturday 10 June. Vanessa Potter, LPAG’s Chair, said: “We set out with a ten-point plan, and it’s brilliant to see the playground finally open. Back in 2013 we formed a committee and applied for charity status. After that we made sure we spoke to as many people as possible and worked with the council to draw up detailed plans and set a realistic fundraising target. We started small by applying for small pots of money and running a crowdfunding campaign, and this allowed us to then apply for larger grants. It’s taken time – but seeing the children using the equipment at the weekend means it has all been worth it, and we were thrilled to be joined at the opening activities by Trustee of The London Marathon Charitable Trust, local Olympian, Donna Fraser.”

Source: Your Croydon

SMEs invited to contribute to Small Business Commission report


Croydon businesses have one last opportunity to contribute to a new report recommending action the Council and partners can take to better support the growth and success of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Keen to boost the success of local businesses and further strengthen Croydon’s economy, earlier this year the Council set up the Small Business Commission to investigate the challenges faced by local SMEs when trying to grow. The Commission’s initial findings have been published in an interim report to be presented at Cabinet next Monday, alongside a draft action plan which the Council and other public bodies will use to strategically plan how they can help local businesses move forward.

Made up of representatives from local SMEs and business groups, the Commission surveyed over 1,500 local businesses, held focus groups and individual interviews with business owners across the borough to understand the common barriers faced by Croydon’s business community. Preliminary findings indicated that problems accessing funding, the rising cost of business rates, recruiting and keeping suitable staff and finding affordable business space, were some of the most common obstacles to local companies’ growth. Promoting the funding opportunities available to SMEs, the creation of a bi-monthly newsletter highlighting opportunities for grants, funding, networking and support information and better promotion and wayfinding signage to the borough’s district centres are among the recommendations made so far by the commission.

Councillor Mark Watson, Cabinet Member for Economy and Jobs, said, “I welcome the initial findings of the Small Business Commission, which recognises Croydon’s business community’s ambitions and its determination to succeed in today’s competitive global market. I am pleased a number of achievable actions have been put forward that will enable the council and its partners to further support local businesses to grow, creating a thriving local economy and new job opportunities for Croydon residents. I’d encourage all Croydon SMEs to share their views on the initial recommendations and help shape the final report and action plan.”

Andrew Bauer, Chairman of the Small Business Commission added: “We’ve heard the views of hundreds of local businesses and it’s clear from our investigation Croydon has a dynamic, innovative and ambitious business community. I’d urge all businesses to read our findings and share their feedback with us, particularly if their views and experience differs to those we have spoken to.”

Any contributions to the report should be emailed to carol.squires@croydon.gov.uk.

Source: Your Croydon

West Croydon Bus Station is officially an award-winning architectural marvel


Croydon is now home to the capital’s most “charming and creative” bus station according to judges after it defeated tough competition to win two of London’s most coveted architecture awards.

West Croydon Bus Station won the 2017 Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) London Award in the regional category, a much-improved design that now oversees the estimated 150 buses that enter each hour, and seven million passengers on 25 different routes. The new infrastructure was designed by Transport for London’s (TfL) in-house teams with an environmentally-friendly approach which includes new solar panels, LED material to light the station instead of conventional bulbs, and air source heat pumps for the summer and winter months. It improves on the previous station that was originally built in 1985. Martin Eriksson, TfL’s architect, was also awarded the RIBA London Project Architect of the Year Award.

Judges said “the project made a brilliant case for the value of a brilliant design on even small-scale infrastructure, and for projects that are fully achievable under budget with the right leadership and vision”. They added: “It is a first building in what the jury hopes will be a continuing programme to improve the quality of bus stations across London.”

In the same week, it also won a highly commended award in the infrastructure category at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Awards. Winning architect Martin Eriksson, said: “We wanted to design a building which recognises the importance of our customers and improves their journeys. It was vital that it was safe, attractive, and respected the environment, and at the same time works for the huge number of customers using this important interchange for the borough.” The station is one of several improvements by Croydon Council, in partnership with TfL, to support the West Croydon Masterplan and other projects.

Source: Croydon Guardian

Council plan for hundreds of affordable rented homes


Croydon households will get guaranteed cheaper rents in 340 properties if innovative council proposals for genuinely affordable homes are approved.

Eligible borough residents would pay just 65% of the typical private rent for 340 new properties being delivered on Council land by housebuilder HUB, the local authority and its development company, Brick by Brick. This means a two-bedroom privately rented flat in Croydon at £1,380 per month would cost £900 – making it affordable for people earning the minimum London living wage or on benefits. Tenants would also get a three-year contract instead of the usual six months with a private landlord. To make this happen, the Council is proposing an independent body provisionally called Croydon Homes to set affordable rent levels, boost housing supply and give priority to local people in most need. It would also save the Council £1.4 million on its temporary accommodation costs.

Councillor Alison Butler, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes, Regeneration and Planning, said, “Rents and demand for private homes in Croydon are continuing to rise out of people’s reach, so this council is taking action to guarantee genuinely affordable social rented housing for hundreds of local families.”

Councillor Simon Hall, Cabinet Member for Finance and Treasury, said: “Government cuts to council budgets mean we have to be more innovative with less money, and these proposals will make housing more affordable for both local tenants and the Council for years to come.”

If Cabinet approves the plans on 19 June, the Ccouncil will set up Croydon Homes later this year, ready for when Brick by Brick starts building its first 151 affordable properties across the borough in 2018. HUB’s 93 units will come as part of a 514-home redevelopment of the Council’s former Taberner House site. The Council is currently using the remaining 96 properties as temporary accommodation.

Source: Your Croydon

 

 

New cycling routes could be built in Croydon over the next five years


Croydon Council has revealed a series of cycle routes to get people out of their cars and onto a bike.

The map outlines where Croydon’s proposed cycle routes would be implemented over the next five years. By 2022, Croydon could have a network of “quietway” cycle routes across the borough. This plan extends along the route of the A23 between Purley and Coulsdon where a segregated cycle “highway” could be built. As it stands, only around one per cent of Croydon’s population cycle for at least 30 minutes five times a week according to Croydon Council’s draft cycling strategy. It says “only one per cent of Croydon residents regularly cycle compared to two per cent in outer London and three per cent across London as a whole. Croydon residents also have relatively low cycle ownership.”

Addiscombe Cycling Club’s general secretary Phil Hawkes said without knowing the “types” of proposed routes it was hard to comment as “badly designed cycle lanes can actually create danger and conflict.” He said: “Getting more people to use cycling is clearly a worthy aim – to reduce traffic, pollution and improve fitness. However, a lot of cycle lanes in the area are currently poorly designed and even encourage riders to cycle into dangerous situations (for example on the left-hand side of traffic that may be turning left). There are also ‘shared-use’ paths which create conflict with pedestrians. Narrow cycle lanes (such as on the Brighton Road to the South of Purley) encourage drivers to pass cyclists more closely than the Highway Code would suggest for a road without a cycle lane at all. As a club, we want users of all forms of transport to be able to use the roads safely and in accordance with the Highway Code.”

To pay for the new infrastructure, part of the proposed strategy suggested that “consideration be given to increasing the funding allocation from the Local Implementation Plan.” So far £480,000 of Section 106 funding has already been drawn down to deliver cycle infrastructure. “The intention is to continue this to support delivery of the programme associated with the draft Cycle Strategy,” the strategy said. If a report undertaken by the Transport for London proves to be right, then there is quite a bit of room for improvement for the two-wheeled community. “An analysis of the potential for cycling based on an assessment of the number of cyclable trips (has been done),” the report said. “This indicates that Croydon as a borough has the highest potential for cycling of all London boroughs with 400,000 daily cycle trips that could be made by residents. Currently only 6,000 daily cycle trips are made.”

Source: Croydon Guardian

Coombe Wood Secondary School will open in South Croydon in 2018


A new school with an emphasis on sporting excellence is preparing to open in South Croydon next year.

Coombe Wood School has been approved by the Department for Education and the Educational Funding Agency as a secondary school for both boys and girls. While the aim of the school – which is set to open in September 2018 – is said to “support children who attend local primary schools, those who live closest and those who have an Educational Health Care Plan or who are Looked After,” it will also place a value on sporting ability. Ten per cent of the school’s admittance will be based on a sporting aptitude assessment which hopes to identify young children who would benefit from attending a school with enhanced sports facilities. Specifically, the school will look at students involved in cycling, dance, futsal and football.

The proposed location of the school is on Coombe Road Playing Fields which is opposite Lloyd Park. This site was designated by Croydon Council as outlined in the Croydon Local Plan.

Source: Croydon Guardian