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Parents win battle for school places

PUBLISHED: 11:43 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:42 07 September 2010

Children celebrate at Courthop School

Children celebrate at Courthop School

PARENTS of the children at Courthope Education Centre are relieved and delighted they have finally been offered permanent places at Primrose Hill School. The governing body of the school in Princess Road agreed on Tuesday to accept a bulge

Susanna Wilkey

PARENTS of the children at Courthope Education Centre are relieved and delighted they have finally been offered permanent places at Primrose Hill School.

The governing body of the school in Princess Road agreed on Tuesday to accept a bulge class of children who have been marooned in the temporary centre since September.

After a campaign by furious parents last year, the centre was set up in a church hall in South End Green to deal with the 25 extra children who were not offered a school place in Camden.

The place crisis hit the northwest of the borough hard where, due to fewer schools and distance-based entry criteria, many children were left with nowhere to go.

Parent Leila Roy, whose son Anton goes to Courthope, said: "I am really pleased. It is still not walking distance from us but it is an amazing school so we are delighted. Most of the parents are just pleased to finally have a school and one that is outstanding is great after everything that has happened."

Parent Stephen Joseph, whose son Spencer is at the centre, said: "This is good news - at least he has a school now. We are pleased he will be at a proper primary even though the Courthope Centre has been brilliant."

A campaign for a new primary school in Belsize was set up in reaction to the Courthope situation and parents have vowed to continue that campaign.

But others are unhappy at the council's whole handling of the situation.

Renee Horsford, whose son Kye attends the centre, said: "The whole thing has been really upsetting and I am not very happy about any of it. It is really hard in this situation and it will be an upheaval for him to change.

"Primrose Hill is still quite far away from us but it is good that he will hopefully stay with his current classmates."

Saggit Gavish, who has daughter Mia at Courthope, said: "We are relieved because it is very difficult not to know what is going on with your child going to school.

"We still want to know what is going to happen to the next set of children who don't have a place though and we will continue trying to find a permanent solution."

The children will start at Primrose Hill School - rated outstanding by Ofsted - in September as part of Year 1.

All 25 children at Courthope have been offered places and improvements are being made to the school to accommodate the extra class.

Belsize Park councillor Alexis Rowell, who supported the parents' campaign, said: "Primrose Hill will see these children all the way through school, which is great news for these parents. But Camden is not saying what will happen to the next lot of children.

"It is not the ideal solution - that would have been a new school in the northwest of Belsize. But it is a good stopgap for these parents. There are still problems and we will still be pushing for a new school in Belsize."

Camden's children and young people's boss Cllr Janet Grauberg said: "We're committed to finding a long-term solution to the shortage of primary places for children in the north-west of the borough through expanding existing schools and, if possible, providing a new school. But this new class at Primrose Hill is a really excellent short-term solution.


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