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Proposal to close Kirkdale Adult Education Centre
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Posts: 83
Joined: May 2010
Post: #1
28-03-2011 04:50 PM

I have enjoyed a number of evening classes at Kirkdake, and if you have too please have your voice heard.

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Posts: 28
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #2
30-03-2011 06:28 PM

This issue will be covered in this evening's Forest Hill Ward Assembly at the Christian Fellowship Centre on Honor Oak Road, 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

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Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #3
30-03-2011 11:10 PM

I attended the meeting this evening. The building is underoccupied for practical reasons and is one of the more costly premises to run and maintain. The proposal is to relocate the specialist workshops to Granville Park and some facilities to Brockley Rise but to cease services at Kirkdale however the plans for the building itself are still at the early stages. There are discussions under way with the local primary school in respect of expansion onto that site. Its good that a mixed education site could be an option for the foreseeable future (
assuming the funding for school expansion can be made available ) It may not however be for ever as if they can reprovide the school on the site its not impossible that evening classes could still continue there on the same premises or that the building could itself be shared.

I do think things could be a lot worse ; Brockley Rise will still provide the service for the forseeable future and we could have lost that. Given the shortage of primary school places in the area extending existing schools in this way could well meet the need without having to go down the free school route.

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Posts: 22
Joined: Nov 2010
Post: #4
02-04-2011 11:36 AM

The petitions to save Lewisham libraries attracted more than 20,000 signatures - sufficient to make the council take notice.

Let's see if we can get as many signatures now against the proposed closure of the Kirkdale adult education centre in July.

All we want is that the Mayor and council should consider alternatives to complete closure of this centre for adult education in west Lewisham by exploring viable alternatives such as sharing the premises with the adjoining school.

Here's the link

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Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #5
03-04-2011 09:40 AM

People round here will be getting writers cramp and with so many petitions I suspect that their impact will be reducing.

As they said at the meeting the Council already are exploring things with the school but as they made clear this was dependent on the school and also the capital funding position. It was clear to me that they were doing what was possible and that they took on board what people were saying. In order to do this however they will have to close and shift the services as the timelines are not necessarily compatible.

One or two of the various objections raised were pretty objectionable. One woman complained that she was working on a piece of artwork at the centre. Tough. Does she think thats/she' more important than other more critical services that the council provides, especially as the Council made it clear that the courses will still run, but from a different centre.

I think we're pretty lucky to have adult education provision at all with Brockley Rise and Granville Park still open. Lets get real. As a local resident I think its a shame but that site is and always has been underoccupied and as demonstrated extremely expensive to run hence I see the Councils plans as a viable and sensible way to save money and maximise potential whilst doing their best to retain as many courses as possible.

There are an abundance of childrens services being cut at the moment and I'd personally prefer to see more funds being put into that than certain adult education courses which are not ( largely) employment related. You can also operate many courses from a range of venues that do not need a dedicated costly underutilised building.

I do also think people should remember that these cuts have originated from the Cut Fast and Deep and Loose ConDem government, not Lewisham Council, so why continually bash the council and not them. Time the blame was laid at the correct door.

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Posts: 269
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #6
03-04-2011 10:59 AM

Roz, I work in adult education and the problem is that provision has already been severely cut, long before the current government's proposals. It was going on under the previous government because - some might argue quite rightly - funds were largely being diverted into E to E (education to employment) schemes for the 14 to 19s. Consequently many courses have already been closed and subsidies drastically reduced.

I have first-hand experience of the vital role adult education services provide and I know that education is more than just about employment. The government would like to reduce education to a set of functional skills which in no way addresses the wide needs of adult learners.

I take your point that children's services are important but adult education has ALREADY taken a series of massive hits. It has always been treated as the poor relation in education and has always been underfunded.

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Posts: 76
Joined: Dec 2003
Post: #7
03-04-2011 02:51 PM

It is correct that the previous Government moved funding from general non-vocational adult education to basic provision for 16 to 19 year olds.

I have always felt that the non-vocational courses provided through adult education were of great value, and, when I chaired the relevant committee some years ago, did whatever was possible to maintain this service.

Further, I never quite understood the logic of cutting this particular budget so severely to fund basic 16 to 19 courses apart from the fact that they were under the same government department.

Having said all that I would argue that, given money is scarce, there is an even weaker case than ever for using it to fund under-used buildings. Keeping Kirkdale open means that less classes can be provided as money that could go on classes has to go to keep an unnecessary building open.

I don't know numbers now, but, when I was involved, Kirkdale had about a thousand students, which sounds a lot, but, of course, they were very part time, and Kirkdale is a big building.

To really court unpopularity, I would suggest that the first line of enquiry should be to sell the building and add the receipts to Lewisham's capital resources. The list of highly desirable public capital projects in Lewisham is doubtless far longer than the funds available for them, and keeping redundant buildings is not sensible. Of course, the School might be able to use the building, but that has a cost in terms of investment, and foregone opportunities for other projects. Where would that use fit against other possible uses of the resources released by sale?

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Posts: 76
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #8
04-04-2011 02:33 PM

For all current and future users of CEL, there is public meeting being held on Thursday 7th April 2011 at 7pm at the Naborhood Centre 44A Sydenham Road London SE26 5QX.
This is meeting is for all those interested from Perry Vale and Sydenham wards, as well as those who were unable to attend the recent Forest Hill assembly where this was discussed, and any other interested parties.

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Tim Lund

Posts: 255
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #9
04-04-2011 05:46 PM

I agree with much of what Roz writes - people round here do risk getting writer's cramp and with so many petitions of reducing impact, and that it's not fair to blame the Lewisham Council automatically.

Like Merlin, I too have enjoyed courses at the Kirkdale Centre, but when my course was cut, one enterprising member of the class found an alternative venue, made private arrangements, and the group still flourishes, without public money.

The building is a nice bit of architecture, but I can well believe it's not that practical to heat and maintain, so it's hard to ignore Dave Whiting's economic rationality.

There's a deeper problem for the Council, which is that it seems long since to have lost confidence in providing 'universal' public goods, such as adult education which is not justifiable by economic rationality - e.g. "E to E (education to employment) schemes for the 14 to 19s". Instead, its severely restricted spending has to be focused on the most needy. It's pretty hard to argue against this ... until you realise that the articulate, and relatively advantaged, such as readers and contributors to Forums such as this, no longer think of the Council as providing anything for them, other than maybe pothole repairs. With the loss universal services, a sense of social solidarity is lost.

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Posts: 269
Joined: Apr 2005
Post: #10
04-04-2011 06:16 PM

Depends how you define the 'most needy'.

For instance, basic literacy and numeracy provision for adult learners (ie post 16), is now universally considered as crucial. The government also recognises this but is sending out very mixed messages right now.

The social and economic gain resulting from such provision can't be underestimated.

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Posts: 1,796
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
04-04-2011 11:11 PM

Do we need a specific dedicated building in order to provide adult education courses? Why can't we go back to using existing school buildings in the evenings- I'm sure we used to do that- therefore keeping these otherwise expensive to provide places fully utilised. When I lived in Glasgow I worked for the Council in the evenings on reception on such a school which was open in the evenings and weekends to the public for courses and swimming. I know that Forest Hill Boys offers sports facilities to the public but other schools don't really seem to do this.

My point badly made probably was that an undertaking seemed to be given by the Council to maintain as many courses as possible but holding some of the studio based ones at other centres.

My point about this government is that is requiring local authorities to make cuts at speed. You might accept the arguments for doing so but what this is likely to mean is that decisions are made which are not properly thought through which can itself lead to mistakes being made that can have their own costs. I don't think the Council in this case has time to work through a series of options for this, it has to identify savings in adult education as in every other sector and fairly quickly in order to survive at all. Idon't think therefore by any account that the retention of Kirkdale for this purpose is realistic. It might be realistic for primary school expansion or even a mixed use site for housing and education however its probably not going to get its market value in a forced sale or until things improve economically.

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Posts: 1,361
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #12
05-04-2011 07:42 AM


15,000 additional primary school places will be required in London in future. I think councils will probably need to do what you suggest. It would make sense to use the existing buildings as schools during the day and adult education centres at night.

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Posts: 51
Joined: Sep 2010
Post: #13
25-04-2011 05:53 AM

Learners and prospective learners may be interested in this:

Proposed closure of

Kirkdale Adult Education Centre

84 Kirkdale, Sydenham, SE26 4BH

A public meeting has been organised at which senior council officers will present a proposal to close Kirkdale Adult Education Centre. The closure is being proposed as a solution to the reduction in adult education funding from the Skills Funding Agency.
The meeting is a chance for you to comment on the proposal.
Date: Monday 9th May
Time: 7.00 p.m.
Venue: Forest Hill Methodist Church and Centre
Normanton Street (off Perry Hill)
London SE23 2DS
There is also the option of viewing and commenting on the proposal by logging on to the Lewisham website – – and clicking the link ‘check our active consultations’.

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Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010
Post: #14
11-05-2011 10:52 AM

Although the consultation meeting at the Naborhood Centre was meant to cover users living in Perry Vale, as well as those in Sydenham, the alternative meeting on Monday 9th May was not well publicised or attended. I noticed from the stats produced that the largest number of Lewisham Adult Ed users live in Perry Vale.

Therefore there will be a brief item included in the Perry Vale Local Assembly meeting (7pm, 19th May at Forest Hill School - but this will be near the end of the meeting) and a chance to respond (probably only in writing as time will be limited) before the consultation closes. If you've responded to the consultation already, you don't need to again (it just takes up Council officers' time removing the duplicates).

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