Welcome to Hendon Greens

Welcome to the blog of the Barnet Green Party's Hendon group. Andrew Newby was Green Party candidate in Hendon constituency in the 2010 general election.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Last night's CELS Committee

This is my report of Monday 21st's Children Education Libraries and Safeguarding committee It is a rather partisan perspective but for some reason no one from the Press gallery or Barnet Bloggers turned up not even Dan, so this is a Barnet Green Party exclusive. The meeting started late due to the clock. The chair. is sporting an impressive beard. There are 3 suits sitting in the gallery waiting to speak, and a pile of recycling on the desk for anyone who doesn't have a way of reading the megabytes of reports on an electronic device. (I let my dad have a flick through afterwards). There was a quick presentation on a youth centre which is envisioned to be built on Montrose playing fields. Questions were raised about access which will come back to Planning and there'll be a consultation. They said it will cost £6m to build. I am not sure if this is in Northern money? The football pitches at Pavilion Way are also being encroached on, by an academy. Schools first. Much time was spent discussing how the improvement director is improving the exam results. One way of massaging the figures is to exclude foreign children from the primary school statistics. Great lengths were spent to scrutinise the exam results at different sorts of schools and absence for religious holidays, cheap holidays, and other reasons. However I did not hear the word "refugee" or "migrant" once. When asking questions I would expect the Labour Group to be on our side. This time they seemed content to stick to the same agenda. They had had a private briefing and discussed the difference between acadamys, free schools, and so on. I was half expecting them to mock the Tory leader for leaving his child in a pub, or even saying "I have crowd sourced my questions from thousands of residents emails and I have a question from Steve who is a TA." New school places are being created with a new primary in West Hendon which the locals know is not going to be built until the very end of the phased demolition and gentrification of the estate. There's also early indication of a secondary on the ruins of Grahame Park or Whitefield Estate. Labour asked about Hendon College and FE which is not the responsibility of the council. When I was a NEET I felt like a statistic and it seems nothing much has changed on that front. Libraries wasn't on the agenda so there will be a separate meeting. Safeguarding was left till last, finishing at about half past 8. By which time most of the Councillors had run out of energy for asking questions. The report contains some shocking figures. However I personally have issues with the language used to talk about risk in an unscientific way. I think too much focus is on safeguarding and not enough on the real issues families face; things like neglect, digital safety, things officially priorities but at the coal face that's not the experience we've had with social workers. We're told to look at the Barnet Website for a new campaign to recruit new social workers. One plank is higher pay, another is being supported by a computer system. Hardly a good pitch to come and join Barnet's team; personally if I was a social worker I'd rather work temporarily for an agency and get on with the work. Ben 22/9/15

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