Thursday, 31 May 2012

South Camden School rebrand the right move

I suspect some 'old school' Labour comrades from the school governor community will be taking sideways glances at each other after the rebrand of South Camden Community School to 'Regent High', as reported today in the New Journal - but the new name, logo and uniform shows that there is strong intent to move the school in a new direction.

Of course, the school has had another name in the not-too-distant past - Sir William Collins - but a fresh new image co-incides with the massive regeneration of the surrounding area, with the Francis Crick Centre, King's Cross Central and the council's own Community Investment Programme proposals: giving a huge boost to the local area.

It's a real step forwards.  But I suspect the next step is more profound work with local primary schools, teachers and the wider community to make it much more of a 'school of choice' than before.  

But hopes are high - we've seen how Haverstock school reached this goal, with a strong team, new buildings and a new uniform.

Careers Day to help local people find work

We're doing our bit to give some help to local people in NW5 looking for work – especially young people in search of their first job. 

So Kentish Town and Gospel Oak councillors in conjunction with Frank Dobson MP and Ingestre Community Centre have organised a careers event on Thursday June 7th from 10am to 2pm.

This is free and open to all Camden residents with a special focus on young people. 

The event will include: 

- Three sessions led by HR experts and head hunters on how to apply for jobs online, cv writing and interview skills
- Short speeches and stalls from a number of organisations providing jobs, training, apprenticeship and volunteering opportunities including - Camden Apprenticeships, Kings Cross Construction Skills Centre, Construction firms Kier and Argent, Holts Academy of Jewellery, UCL, London Apprenticeships, Job Centre Plus, Westminster Kingsway College, Camden Volunteer Centre and many more.
- Free food and drink provided by Ingestre Community Centre 

Here's where it is - nearest tube is Tufnell Park, or take a 134 bus to Tufnell Park and it's just around the corner.

If you want to register or have any questions, please contact me via email 

Camden Plan means tough decisions around priorities

Camden's strategic plan for the next 5 years (a.k.a. The Camden Plan) has been published, starting a debate about priorities for the council at a time of very significant cuts to budgets and major legislative changes in welfare, planning, education and health.

Due to the wide range of statutory duties and array of government targets on most areas of activity, previous council strategies often came across as all-things-to-all people.  While the new plan also covers the broad scope of council activity, there is a strong thread running through the Plan around growth and tackling inequality.

The new government settlement in 2014 will set spending for the next 3 years.  In Camden we ear projecting another deep round of cuts - to the tune of another £40-£50 million in revenue spending lost over the period.

While the previous 3 year fiscal plan for the borough was set in the context of the strategy set out by the outgoing Tory-Lib Dem administration, this one will establish new priorities.  The challenge here ultimately boils down to addressing this question:  in order to do more in emerging areas of social need (e.g. apprenticeships and employment) what do we fund less of? 

Ultimately choosing priorities means winners and losers.  For the Left prioritising means more political ownership over budgetary decisions than before - a political challenge in itself.  But, as I have argued elsewhere, there are now clear choices we can make - perhaps unlike the 2011 Budget-setting process - which could show the real differences in approach between Labour-run local authorities and the others.

Krugman slays Forces of the Right

For anyone who missed it the best Newsnight in years, see Professor Paul Krugman destroy The Forces of the Right on last night's programme, as captured by Left Foot Forward.