Ambitious for our Children and Grandchildren
Labour is committed to building a unified National Education Service (NES) for England built on the principle that ‘Every Child and Adult Matters’. Labour believes that education is a right and not a privilege. Years of savage public expenditure and a Tory funding formula that is leaving budgets under-funded means that head teachers are facing their biggest challenge in years to protect the quality of education in their schools. In addition, the public sector pay cap has driven many of our best teachers to work overseas or leave the profession altogether, a huge waste of valuable public resources that have gone into the training of these teachers now lost.
We are focused on ensuring that Sutton’s Children’s Services, Centres and all our state-funded schools offer genuinely safe, inclusive, community-based provision that serves the needs of all of our children and young people; regardless of ability or need and are all rated good or outstanding by OFSTED.
1. Acknowledge the achievements of school leaders, teachers and support staff against a backdrop of central government attacks on local services, school budgets and the implementation of a 7-year public sector pay cap. Labour is committed to protecting our schools from funding cuts and will continue to oppose Government policies that reduce available resources to schools and children.
School Places and Admissions
2. Respect the wishes of Sutton parents for their children to attend a good or outstanding local school. The demand for school places has increased dramatically in recent years and is projected to rise further. We also recognise that an influx of out-borough pupils is a feature of our education landscape and will remain until national legislation changes this. Labour will ensure that any school expansion is well managed and meets the needs of the local community as well as serving the interests of the children already enrolled at the school itself. Any proposed new secondary school should be built in an area where there is local demand. At present too many Sutton pupils are compelled to attend school outside the borough due to a lack of local school places. Labour will work closely with school leaders regarding any expansion of current provision.
3. Meet the need for additional places in both the primary and secondary phases in the borough by supporting the expansion of existing maintained schools, the recently established Co-op sponsored Sutton Education Trust, other local federations and Academy Trusts, rather than the provision of ‘Free Schools’ by outside providers.
4. Seek to increase accountability and transparency of academy schools to reduce the attainment gap between pupils from poorer households and those from wealthier backgrounds.
5. Reject the expansion of existing grammar schools and will regularly ensure that parents understand their current legal rights over any change of status of schools.
Childcare and Early Years
6. Continue to welcome the existence of Co-operative childcare in the borough.
7. Assist Sutton parents to access the 30-hour Early Years funding support.
8. Seek to expand Sure Start provision in the borough
9. Wherever possible, and working in partnership with co-operative enterprises, seek to develop and expand extended school provision across the whole borough
10. Continue to support the recently launched co-operative Sutton Education Trust as an alternative to the Multi-Academy Trust model being promoted by the Department for Education, and note that the SET is evolving
11. Continue to monitor and press for an ongoing reduction in class sizes at primary level
12. Seek to improve opportunities for secondary phase students to transfer between schools where the need of the individual student warrants this, regardless of schools’ admission arrangements at age 11.
Sixth Form, Further and Higher Education and Lifelong Learning
13. Facilitate the free movement of students between all the borough’s sixth forms, thereby offering the widest possible range and combination of academic, vocational and technical course choices. This will be achieved by encouraging and facilitating the closest co-operation between the borough’s secondary schools and colleges of further education.
14. Carry out a review of post 16 provision in the borough with particular reference to vocational education and education to the age of 25 for those young people who hold an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
15. Develop Lifelong education into a more integrated service will be a big change that comes out of Labour’s National Education Service (NES). We will work with Carshalton College, Sutton College and Orchard Hill College to develop a full post-18 aspect of NES in Sutton. The Council as part of the NES system will encourage proper apprenticeship schemes in the borough.
16. Seek to identify and mitigate or remove barriers preventing the most economically challenged young people in Sutton from attending university and other forms of tertiary education.
17. Look for an opportunity to develop a local university implanted site in the borough possibly in conjunction with a Higher Education Provider and the Cancer Hub
18. Ensure that the Citizenship curriculum includes the role of civil society, co-operative and mutual ownership. Business studies should include details of co-operative and mutual structures and legal forms. Every child in Sutton will be offered the opportunity to join the SW London Credit Union to familiarise them with responsible credit and saving.
19. Support creation of Code Clubs in all our primary schools to give Sutton children a head start in learning about computing.
20. Look to see if elements of Newham’s “Every Child a Musician” schemes could be developed in Sutton.
21. Be proactive in supporting schools to attract the best and brightest talent to teach in Sutton schools. Furthermore, we will support schools to diminish the difference in outcomes between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged children, a difference which in Sutton is unacceptably wide compared to other London boroughs.
22. Support school improvement through a Continuous Professional Development programme. The Council will facilitate networking to develop and promote best practice. We will also work to encourage all schools to contribute towards facilities time for the teaching and support staff unions to have adequate representation. We would also seek to establish links with local Teacher Training Colleges to provide career development opportunities for current teachers, job opportunities for Newly Qualified Teachers and teaching practice for Student Teachers to retain and attract teachers to Sutton.
23. Ensure the council provides a forum for school and college collaboration in providing high quality independent and impartial careers education advice. In addition to higher education advice (including UK top universities), we will in concert with other agencies including business, promote apprenticeships that contain accredited high-quality training.
24. Work with Transport for London and where possible co-operative providers to establish a borough-wide Green School Travel Scheme. We will also encourage Walk to School schemes in primary schools.
25. Protect free school meals for Key Stage 1 pupils and support all healthy options initiatives that recognise the importance of proper nutrition to educational attainment. Assist schools in identifying those eligible for free school meals thereby providing additional resources for children through the Pupil Premium. We will also seek to expand into Key stage 2 and aim to provide kitchen facilities in all schools to enable provision of breakfast and after-school clubs.
Special Needs and Safeguarding
26. In collaboration with other agencies such as CAHMS, NHS England and NHS Sutton CCG, promote mental health and well-being for young people.
27. Support children with special education, health and care needs by ensuring that provision is based on need rather than geography. We will also seek to provide additional resources in the areas of Educational Psychology and Speech and Language therapy. We will aim for early identification of dyslexia and other learning disabilities and difficulties which are rarely identified or supported in Sutton
28. Ensure that all Sutton’s children’s safeguarding and social services are fit for purpose. Labour will provide early supportive interventions to wherever possible keep families together, reducing the need for foster placement and forced adoption. At the same time, where appropriate, we will support existing foster carers in the borough by providing additional support services and increasing the Foster Carer’s Grant. We will continue to use the Fostercare Co-operative which has successfully found homes for difficult-to-place children.
Education Governance and Support
29. Recognise the essential contribution of governors to the Borough’s education services and work in partnership with the Forum of Sutton Governors to support governors and seek their views.
30. Oppose the Government’s forced academisation programme. We want as part of the National Education Service to see a mix of both municipal-run schools and Co-operative Schools Trusts
31. Before the NES is established, encourage a local model of provision and seek to expand educational opportunities through co-operation between all Borough maintained, federated, single and multi-academy trust schools, to share and maximise the effective use of resources. We would establish a Sutton Schools Partnership Forum to facilitate this process.
32. Ensure that Cognus Limited (previously Sutton Education Services Ltd) is fully accountable to Sutton Council for the quality of services it provides.
33. Support initiatives and projects that promote a positive image of young people and celebrate their achievements, such as demonstrated by the Co-operative groups’ 'Truth about Youth' project. We will review all policies such as citizenship, planning and retail licensing with a view to challenging gender stereotyping and sexual objectification of young women.
34. Carry out a feasibility study to re-introduce a network of youth centres – perhaps integrated with schools - and to strengthen and consolidate the council’s Integrated Services for Young People (ISYP), with particular emphasis on:
• Re-providing support for the Sutton Youth Parliament and Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.
• Provision of additional Outreach Youth Workers, with a brief to target young people at risk of causing nuisance or engaging in anti-social behaviour.
• Increasing co-operation and support for voluntary sector provision of Youth activities (e.g. Woodcraft Folk, Scouts, Guides, Boys/Girls Brigades etc)
35. Consult young people as to whether they would wish to have an elected Young Mayor for Sutton with a budget to spend, similar to Labour Croydon’s youth democracy initiative