Surrey Quays is giving 16 to 24-year-olds the chance to embark on a free five-week training programme, designed to provide them with the skills they need to build a successful career in retail or hospitality.

The ‘Bright Lights Starting Out in Retail and Hospitality’ programme gets under way in October and will combine classroom teaching alongside work placements at one of Surrey Quays’ retail, food and beverage or leisure brands. At the end of the scheme, trainees will receive their formal qualifications at an official celebration event later this year.

Throughout the course, trainees will also get access to training from industry experts, support with interviews and CV writing, as well as a personal mentor.

The new programme will be funded by Surrey Quays’ owner British Land. It will be delivered in partnership with The Source Skills Academy – a leading centre of excellence for retail and customer service training.

To take part, young people need to sign up to the taster session on 4 October, which will provide them with a flavour of what the programme will involve and an opportunity to speak to some of the course leaders.

Ian Moore, centre manager at Surrey Quays, said: “The Bright Lights Starting Out in Retail and Hospitality programme is a fantastic way for young, unemployed people in Southwark to discover their potential and gain valuable experience of what it’s like to work in the dynamic retail and hospitality sectors.

“The programme coincides with busy recruitment periods at the centre so we, together with our retailers, can’t wait to welcome the new trainees and offer them on-the-job training and support so they can really kickstart their careers.”

Dianne Wainwright, Head of Operations at The Source Skills Academy, said: “We’re giving local young people the chance to obtain nationally recognised qualifications and work experience at some of the country’s biggest retail and hospitality brands.

“We urge Southwark’s young jobseekers to sign up to attend our taster session on 4thOctober, where they’ll get the chance to learn more about the course and hear about our many success stories first-hand.”

To find out more information or sign up to the taster session, email [email protected] or call 0114 263 5619.

Tree Shepherd – Start up and thrive programme from 4 October in Surrey Quays 

This project is offering free support to local businesses through mentoring and the first ‘Start Your Own Enterprise’ programme. The programme will run every Wednesday from 4 October 2017 for eight weeks, and enable budding businesses to explore why they want to run a business, understand their target markets and learn how to price and sell. It’s for anyone with an idea who is interested in taking it further.

The course is free for residents local to the SE16 area (includes nearby SE8 postcodes). Call 0203 948 3023 or email [email protected] for more information or go straight here to register:

Bacon’s College has announced that it is joining the United Learning group of schools.

United Learning’s schools include Paddington Academy, Lambeth Academy, Walthamstow Academy and Guildford High School.

The school – which has more than three centuries of history in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe – was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted earlier this year.

Letters to parents from the headteacher and United Learning are available to download from the college website.

David Cameron visits the Harris Academy Bermondsey where he meets with students and teachers.

Bermondsey might not be normally be associated with its love of Tory politicians, but prime minister David Cameron certainly received a rapturous response from Harris Academy Bermondsey pupils when he dropped in on Monday morning.

If Justin Bieber had visited the Bermondsey girls’ secondary school he would scarcely have caused more of a stir than the prime minister.

Pupils crowded round Mr Cameron during the mid-morning break and clamoured for autographs and selfies.

David Cameron visits the Harris Academy Bermondsey where he meets with students and teachers.

The PM’s visit was to launch a £12 million Government initiative to promote mentoring schemes in secondary schools.

Once the scheme is up and running, Downing Street claims that 25,000 young people a year who are at risk of under achieving or dropping out from education will receive extra support from “high-flying professionals”.

Harris Academy Bermondsey has run a mentoring scheme for its pupils for a decade. Employees from several Southwark-based firms – including News UK, PwC and the Financial Times – act as mentors to girls preparing for GCSE exams at the Southwark Park Road academy.

Harris Academy Bermondsey is part of the Harris Federation of schools founded by the Conservative peer Lord Harris of Peckham.

David Cameron visits the Harris Academy Bermondsey where he meets with students and teachers.

The Compass free school in Bermondsey has had a boost with a positive report from Ofsted.

Last July inspectors gave the secondary school  a ‘requires improvement‘ rating – the second lowest possible grade.

In January, Ofsted inspector Madeleine Gerard carried out a monitoring visit to the school.

Her letter to headteacher Lauren Thorpe has just been made public.

Ms Gerard wrote:

You, senior leaders and members of the governing body have wasted no time in tackling issues for improvement. Working effectively together, you have put your energy into taking action to bring about improvements. You have a clear vision and coherent and strategic plans, which address the key priorities.

Read the letter in full on the Ofsted website.

Southwark Council’s cabinet has agreed to launch a formal consultation on the expansion of Rotherhithe Primary School in Rotherhithe New Road  from two to three forms of entry.

The expansion is to be part-financed by community infrastructure levy (CIL) payments from the major developments at Canada Water.

An extract from the cabinet report discussed on Tuesday:

An analysis of existing application and enrolment trends, as well as pupil projections and recent engagement with the developers has evidenced a need for additional provision in the Rotherhithe peninsular area.

To this end, we have engaged with schools in the area and have ascertained that Rotherhithe Primary School would be suitable for expansion – presently, the school is a 2FE school housed in a variety of buildings that are in a state of poor repair.

A rebuild of the school – full or partial – would allow us to be able to expand the school to contribute to meeting the needs of the new communities anticipated by the Canada Water development.

Therefore, Cabinet approval is sought to proceed to formal consultation for the expansion of the school from 2FE (60 pupils per year group) to 3FE (90).

The school will temporarily expand for 2015-2016, and 2016-2017, with a target for permanent expansion of September 2018.

The school was rated “Good” by Ofsted when inspected in 2014. This would be financed in part by the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) deriving from the Canada Water development on the peninsula.

Newly launched social enterprise Bermondsey Community Kitchen (above Dunn’s Deli at The Blue) is now ready to enrol its first batch of students.

The age group they are looking for currently is 16-24, interested in cookery and would like to gain a City and Guilds qualification.

The contact details are:  [email protected] or call 020 7232 5111.

More details available on the Bermondsey Community Kitchen website.


Plans for a new primary school on the site of the old Galleywall Primary School (which closed in 2005) have moved a step closer to reality with a launch event held last week at the City of London Academy in Lynton Road.

Launch 1 - Group

The event marked the launch of a formal consultation on the plans for the new school – which like Redriff Primary School will be sponsored by the City of London Corporation.

The consultation will run from until Thursday 20 August and will give the local community the opportunity to comment via an online questionnaire at and also via consultation surgeries to be held at the City of London Academy (Southwark) on Tuesday 11 August and Friday 14 August 8.30am-10.00am and 2.30pm-4.00pm.

Executive headteacher Mickey Kelly said: “I am delighted that the celebration launch event was such a resounding success and look forward to opening our Admissions to prospective parents on the 1st September 2015. Children are at the heart of our values and we look forward to welcoming new pupils in September 2016 to our outstanding new primary school at the heart of Bermondsey.”

The new school will open in temporary buildings September 2016 with an initial intake of 60 reception students and reach full capacity of 420 students by 2022.

Building works will cost up to £5.5 million and are due for completion in 2017

Prospective parents can register their interest in admissions at, via telephone on 020 7252-3494 and email on [email protected]

The report of the first Ofsted inspection of the Compass secondary ‘free school’ in Bermondsey has been published and the school has received the second lowest possible rating from the education watchdog.

The Compass School opened in September 2013 on the former Southwark College Bermondsey site in Drummond Road.

Inspectors visited for the first time in May 2015 and their report has now been published.

The school has been given a rating of 3 on a scale of 1 to 4 which means it ‘requires improvement’.

The report is critical of teaching, behaviour and attendance at Compass – but the inspectors also praised the principal and senior leadership for their work to improve the school.

“As we have set out in a letter to parents and our wider community, we are both surprised and deeply disappointed with the judgement we have received from Ofsted,” said principal Lauren Thorpe.

“It does not accurately reflect the fantastic progress that our students are making, nor the ethos and values of our school.

“We have formally set out our concerns about the Ofsted inspection that took place through Ofsted’s complaints process, but are now focussed on moving forward and ensuring that Compass School reaches its ambition to be an outstanding school, where all students can go on to be successful in the career that they choose.”

The new City of London-backed primary school opening next year in the former Galleywall School building will incorporate ‘Galleywall’ in its name.

According to the minutes of  last month’s meeting of the City of London Corporation’s education board:

The Education and Early Years Manager briefed members that the new City of London Primary Academy in Southwark would incorporate Galleywall into its name. This would resonate with the local community given it was the name of the longstanding school that stood on the site. In addition, the name referred the longer history of the site given it dated from a temporary fortification constructed in the area during the 11th century.

The minutes also include this rather pointed note:

The Chairman noted that the Education Board’s responsibility for the free school application at Galleywall Road in Southwark – and over other applications – needed to be asserted to prevent confusion over ‘ownership’ of the application. At present there was a risk that other bodies such as existing academy governing bodies would regard themselves as responsible for what were ultimately City of London Corporation applications. This situation reflected deficiencies in the way in which the City’s academies were now constituted, which needed addressing.