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Council meetings

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Remote: Via Microsoft Office Teams

Contact: Jasmine Kassim 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the open meeting held on 16 February 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 209 KB

Minutes:

None was declared.

 

3.

Decisions made by the Mayor and Cabinet on 10 March 2021 pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Minutes:

Governing Body Proposal regarding the future of St Mary Magdalen’s

Catholic Primary School

 

3.1      The Chair informed Panel Members that Councillor Sorba, had asked for this report to be submitted to this Panel for consideration.

 

3.2      Councillor Sorba said that it was rare for members to receive a consultation report when the anticipated result was the closure of a school. It was because of the critical nature of the decision the Council would be facing at the end of the consultation, and the level of public interest, that he had requested that it be considered by this panel. He said that residents had asked him whether the Council could have done any more to prevent the crisis at the school and the history that had led to the current situation.

 

3.3      Councillor Campbell also expressed her concern at the possible closure of one of Lewisham’s schools and said that any consultation must be very thorough to ensure that members receive all the information required.  She asked who would be consulted and how this would be managed.

 

3.4      The Director of Education said that in April 2018, St Mary Magdalen’s was judged by Ofsted to be good and categorised as a green school. The support from school improvement had, therefore, been minimal. There had been a good relationship between Lewisham and senior leadership and there were no concerns about the school.

 

3.5      In the summer of 2018, some of the statutory assessment results were dis-applied by the Department of Education and the Standard Testing Agency, following allegations that children were being over supported. There was an investigation into these allegations and the results were made null and void. A difficult period for the school then followed and parents’ confidence in the school waned. The Council then worked closely with the diocese to support the school and resolve some of the issues. In 2019 the diocese acted swiftly to put in appropriate new leadership and management.

 

3.6      The Director of Education said that number of children attending faith schools had fallen across London. A local authority would not want to have to consider the closure of a school but the diocese had approached Lewisham for support.

 

3.7      Mr Coleman said that his involvement with the school went back to the dis-application of the sats results and he carried out the investigation on behalf of the diocese. Following the resignation of the Head Teacher and Chair of governors at the time, he attended the school in June/July 2018 and he considered there to be serious issues including:

 

  • The building was damp and the floor was ruined
  • There was a gas leak in the kitchen
  • Serious financial irregularities
  • Accounts that Mr Coleman was not aware of
  • Issues regarding the payment of staff
  • Unusual negotiation of some of the contracts
  • There were issues regarding some of the arrangements with the regard to the amount of time the Head Teacher spent in the school.

 

3.8      Mr Coleman said that there were reduced numbers of children  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.