Crossways Academy future in doubt

Lewisham Council officers have is to launch a consultation about the future of Crossways Academy, the sixth form college on Sprules Road, Brockley.

In a report set to be discussed on June 20th, proposals are presented to "consult on the closure of Crossways Sixth Form in order for Christ the King Sixth Form College, an outstanding, over-subscribed provider, to expand their post-16 provision on to the site."

The document says:

The consultation is designed both to inform discussion by interested stakeholders within Lewisham, and to allow individuals and groups to report their views.

The Local Authority has had increasing concerns about the long term sustainability of Crossways Sixth Form and how it could secure the future of high quality post-16 provision on the site. These concerns are focused on its financial viability, set against a backdrop of declining numbers together with the capacity of the school to improve outcomes rapidly. 

Despite the best combined efforts of the school leadership, governors and Local Authority, the school has been unable to demonstrate the rapid and sustained improvements needed to secure its own future as a stand-alone institution.

Crossways Academy was built less than a decade ago and describes itself as "one of London's most modern sixth forms".

Thanks to those who linked to the report on the "Suggest a Topic" thread.


Anonymous said...

Excellent local SE4 blog had a good article about this over a month ago:

worth catching

That the Council feel pressed to launch a consultation means that they have to make a decision that they feel might be unpopular (but they'll make that decision regardless of the feedback from the consultation). The council always launch consultations geared to getting the answer they want - and they employ a firm to undertake this task with that message clearly in place.

Ian on the Hill said...

Can't say I'll be sorry to see the back of Strangeways.
It always seemed to be soaking up an awful lot of money for not very much achievement.

Anonymous said...

The school openned in 2005 by 2009 it was no longer substainable.

When proposed it was said the school was for students in the north of the borough.

In the 18 months it took to be constructed it was apparent there were insufficient students to fill the school.

Suddenly when the school openned students from the deep south of the borough were to be bussed to Spurles Road.

At the time the council were looking for a sight to house a new secondary school and providing buisness plans to support its applications for funds for Building Schools for The Future.

Were the council working in the dark, not knowing schools would go their own way?

Also, why did students not choose Crossways?

Tressilliana said...

What a chequered past that site has had.

To my knowledge, the schools there have been:

Brockley Central School (mixed)
Samuel Pepys Secondary Modern School (boys only)
Hatcham Wood (co-ed comprehensive)
Telegraph Hill (ditto - this was effectively HW with the uniform changed but all the same children and most of the same staff - it lasted about a year)
Crossways Academy (which isn't an Academy legally - confused - you will be)

Constant change doesn't help improve schools. Let's hope Christ The King is left to get on with the job in peace for a few years.

Tamsin said...

Maybe the ground is cursed and they should start of with an exorcism...

Chris Tarrant was a supply teacher for a while (I think when it was Hatcham Wood) and even someone with his personality could not contol the kids.

Hardlianotion said...

Maybe it is something to do with the school fabric. Last time I wandered past, it was easier to tell who the security company manning the premises is than what the school itself is called. A thoroughly depressing place to have to attend, I think.

Anonymous said...

It's no wonder people move out of London when their kids hit 6. Unless you have 800k for a house near one of the few good schools of course.

Tressilliana said...

That's not really fair, Anon. The schools in Lewisham have improved considerably in the last 20 years.

Anonymous said...

You missed my point, you need serious money to live near the good ones. The bad ones although improved are still terrible in comparison.

Most of Lewisham is still pretty rough and run down.

Robert said...

I think it also used to be called Walbutton Road School prior to Samuel Pepys.

MalB said...

It must have been possible to estimate the number of sixth-form places now needed in the borough fairly accurately even 10 years ago. After all, sixth-formers don't magically come into existence aged 9.

It also seems unlikely that a school designed for six-formers with a 25 year life would be built to cater for a 6 year bulge in demand.

Questions, I hope, will be asked therefore about quite why the school was built as it was, when it was; about the demand management ability of the education department and their forward planning; and/or about the management of educational quality at the school by the education department.

At around the time it was built there were considerable questions about the education planning process system in the borough, leading, as I recall it, to a campaign which even had a local resident standing against Steve Bullock as mayor.

There would appear to be some lessons to be learnt from all this even if we don't quite know what those lessons are yet.

At the same time as they are now consulting on the closure of Crossways Academy, there would appear to be under-resourcing of the demand for early years places, with the result that the Haberdashers' Aske's school virtually next door has applied for a Free School infants' school to be built on the Pepys Road site (although there must be concerns whether this can be accommodated without further ruining the appearance of the site).

Is there room for some joined-up thinking around this which could benefit the area?

Anonymous said...

Declining numbers but expansion approved.

Despite the report to the Mayor stating the school is unsubstainable due to low student numbers an application to expand the building was granted in January 2012.

It is proposed to erect a two storey extension on the northern end of the building.

The extension is required to provide four additional classrooms and two staff work

The additional accommodation will not result in an increase in pupil
numbers it will simply improve functionality of the academy providing existing
pupils with enhanced facilities.

Yet on the council's website (not dated) it has....

Such has been the success of the College that additional facilities are now required to accommodate the increasing number of students who wish to go there.

It seems bizarre to be planning to expand a school while knowing the pupil numbers are too low for the school to survive.

Anonymous said...

Link to council webpage which may have been created 17 May 2011...

If I was cynical I might suggest the planning application was part of the negotiations to ditch the school.

But it looks like the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing, despite publicly available documents dated 2009.

Anonymous said...

It is amasing that people are still talking about Crossways Academy when it lost the title Academy over 3 years ago. It was orginally called academy before academy schools came into existance.Crossways Sixth Form gives students a second chance and is doing a tremendous job with their students. The teachers work hard and get results.Having visited the school on many occasions I have found the students to be polite and respectful. There are some very talented and intelligent students there.
When people talk about the school in such a negative way they forget they are talking about the young people who attend the school. Consider how they must be feeling.
The take over by Christ The King is a political one. The school is not failing.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher at Crossway's Sixth Form I would like to invite you to come and look around and see for yourselves what the school is like. I have worked here for two years teaching English and Drama and can honestly say that it has been the best teaching I have ever done. The students are committed, hardworking, enthusiastic and working very hard to achieve the best they possibly can - I couldn't say more about my own children...
We take students that get Cs at GCSE - I think we're the only Sixth Form that do...and most go on to University and some get A*s. I think Crossways is the best kind of Sixth Form - one that is willing to give ALL students a chance!!

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher here at Crossways and I have to say, that it's the warmest, most exciting and safest educational institution I've ever had the pleasure of working at. I find it so difficult to read the words 'depressing' and 'strange' in order to describe it.

The students that choose to attend Crossways are inspired by the wonderful teaching that goes on here. In turn, they then go on to be upstanding members of our community.

The negative comments are not only unnecessary and unfounded but are also extremely damaging to the prospective, present and past students of our school.

I am proud to say that I work here and our students are proud to say they have been educated here.

Those who are well informed about our current situation will share my thoughts. Thank you for these messages of support.

Anonymous said...

Most people who comment on Crossways Sixth form have never even driven past it, yet alone been inside. They are basing their judgements on 'hear say', which is very damaging.
All kids deserve an education and many of you need to realise that not all your kids will get into schools such as Christ the King, Addey and Stanhope etc. As a matter of fact, students who have been thrown onto the scraphead by CtK have been taken in by Crossways and are now at University, where many of their students end up. Be very careful about judgements. You never know what your or your children's future holds. Places like Crossways are needed!!

Anonymous said...

I have to add my voice to those of the teachers, please visit the school and spend time talking to the students before you comment. My daughter is in her last year at this sixth form and doing extremely well. She has blossomed in her short time there and with the support of her excellent teachers has dug down and produced excellent AS results and expecting to do just as well in her A2's.

Tressilliana said...

7 anonymous comments in a row in a few hours - organised campaign? Fair enough, I'm pleased to hear it's not all doom and gloom and I hope the new regime works out for staff and pupils alike.

Anonymous said...

Mayor approves 6th form at Addey Stanhope, himself making Crossways unsubtainable.

Timing is everything in politics, looks like the council are back to their old pre 2006 tricks.

January planning approval to expand Crossways

March 23 Addey Stanhope announce 6th Form consultation.

May Addey consultation completed.

June Mayor agrees consultation on closure on Crossways.

One week later Mayor agrees to 6th Form at Addey Stanhope, due to lack of places in the borough!

Don't you just love it when everything goes to plan.

Anonymous said...

In the early days the results of Crossways Academy as it was then were good leading to a positive OFSTED report (not sure when). It took most of its students from Crofton (which was then taken by the council and given to Predergast) and Catford Girls (which was also taken out of the equation) leading to a drop in numbers.

From all accounts the new Principal made a lot of errors and the school went downhill from there.

Dickie said...

Brockley central Sxchool was the best school in Deptford. 1st class education, first class teachers and excellent exam results both Girld and Boys

The Beauty In The Geek said...

As a student from Crossways I think it is important to remember that EVERY student who has failed in CTK and moved to Crossways has PASSED with flying colours, and gotten much more out of it than just a great education.

Crossways is a family. We are a SMALL school hence the lower number of students.
We are only 'under subscribed' in the eyes of politics.

I have just finished my first year at Crossways, and despite the very nasty, uneducated comments from people (who didn't even know where the college was, let alone been inside) warning me not to go there, especially because I had been accepted into a Grammar school, I still went.

To date - Choosing Crossways was my best educational decision.

I have received 2 A grades from my 4 AS levels and I am waiting on my other two grades. While, in the grammar school which I refused, some students didn't even receive a grade because they failed so badly due to the sudden independence and thinking that the fact that their schools name has the word 'Grammar' or 'Academy' in it is going to get them the high grades.

At Crossways, you are pushed to work harder but you will ALWAYS have the support of teachers who actually know your name, your subjects and ambitions. Rather than you being just another number in the system reeling in money.

So Crossways owes money, who doesn't at some time in their life ?

We must remember that they used the money to make OUR learning experience the BEST it could possibly be.

Through Crossways I have gained contacts in the industry that I want to work in, and very valuable work experience to set me apart in my CV and Personal Statement.

Not to mention the truly AMAZING people, students and teachers alike.

So what if you've seen one kid in a hoodie, suddenly we are all criminals ?

Every school has it's rift rafts but I can confidently say that EVERY student who comes in to Crossways leaves MORE mature. How do I know about EVERY student ? Because Everyone knows Everyone. It's just that good.

- Crossways students are NOT the ones who run in and out of busses before the doors close.
- Crossways students are NOT the ones caught shoplifting.
- Crossways students are NOT the ones bullying each other because a girl wore the same jeans last week.

I think you'll find that CTK students have been caught red handed doing these.
But it doesn't mean that ALL the students are criminals.

- Crossways students ARE the ones trying to save their school,because they know it would be like throwing away a diamond before it's been fully polished.
- Crossways students ARE the students getting involved with their local community, instead of causing havoc, and trying to prove just how good we are. e.g. Our Art Exhibition where we invited the locals.
- Crossways students are the ones constantly trying to improve themselves, for themselves. But also to prove to uneducated gossips that WE are not the negative stereotypes they make up to make themselves feel better.

Crossways believe in giving students a SECOND CHANCE, because it is hard to be YOUNG, and people make mistakes.

We will NOT apologise for trying to improve the next generation, even if it makes us look like we're taking in 'bad students' with 'bad grades'.

I know some people are arrogant enough to read this and still let social prejudice block their minds. It's a shame that they'll never know the truth, but to be honest, those type of people don't really deserve to see the progress inside the college.

I am not asking you to campaign for us.
I am not asking you to become our best friends.
I am not asking you to join us in our attempt to salvage our reputation.

But I AM asking you to accept that the STEREOTYPES are INCORRECT.
Don't judge us, until you come and see the Miraculous achievement that we are.

Please and Thank You.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the reality is, the College is not in a good place with the Principal deciding to resign this week (she probably had no option), the VP leaving for a new job and the Finance Director on gardening leave it is difficult to see who will be in charge come September.

Anonymous said...

A large amount of crossways students went there because they failed to get into anywhere else. This shows crossways to giving teenagers a second change, where schools like Christ the King do not. If Cross ways does become an extension of Christ the King I worry it is taking away a chance for a teenager to achieve the qualifications they need.

Whilst studying at Crossways I saw the teachers to be amazing at the jobs. As a former student of Prendergast sixth form it, a high achieving college, I can say the the teacher are just as good, if not better, then they were there.

I just finished a year at crossways and awaiting my results, but what ever the outcome i'm happy Crossways gave me a chance, which many school do not do anymore all in the name of 'results'. Education shouldn't be about results, and it sickens me what has happened to the educational system. School deny students access simply because it may effect there result. This tells me that the students are no longer what's important, but merely the image of the college.

I loved my year at Crossway Sixth Form, and feel it would be a disaster to shut down one of the few student oriented colleges left.

Also i'm pretty sure comments at 19 June 2012 12:23 was my dramam teacher last year, an example of one of many spectacular teachers which care about it's students.

Nathan Odong said...

I'm currently a student at Crossways Sixth Form right now (the name will change in February).

Just out of wonder, do you know if the previous schools were bigger than the site now?

Former crossways teach said...

I worked at Crossways as a teacher and I have to say it was the shittist job I had the misfortune of having. The staff were rude and irritable to each other the ones that were good left because they had to carry the crap teachers and the ones that were left were so shit at their jobs they must have faked their degrees but management were so desperate they'd take any twat on who spun them a line. I'd see some interview candidates walk through the door take 1 look around and feck off back home again. It was a fecking zoo.

The kids were always fighting inside and outside the lessons they didn't do any work or were rude and back chatted us teachers some were always coming back from lunch stoned having smoking weed outside the gates and I had to tell some girls to stop verbally abusing a local pensioner. Who was clearly senile.

I stuck it out for as long as I could but when the PA to the VP said we had to "Make do and mend" I thought she was really taking the piss. I mean that was the Death Knell as far as I was concerned. The management was so crap at their jobs it was like they could do nothing but watch the ship sink and I think most of them fucked off like rats before the shit hit the fan.

That place had what was coming to it. I hope they sacked the feckin lot of them. I bet all the kids they pushed out have ended up either in prison, on the dole, flipping burgers or jockeying a register in Tescos.

ann said...

It is unfortunate CTK took over Crossways with a head teacher managing three different sites at the same time! Talk about efficiency! It also has a bad reputation and a big number of teachers are resigning every year.

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