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Rebuilding plan will save Frank Barnes for good'

PUBLISHED: 12:17 10 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:56 07 September 2010

BOSSES at threatened Frank Barnes School are hoping to be handed a lifeline this week. The award-winning school for deaf children in Swiss Cottage is due to be bulldozed to make way for Camden s new secondary academy before 2011

Ben McPartland

BOSSES at threatened Frank Barnes School are hoping to be handed a lifeline this week.

The award-winning school for deaf children in Swiss Cottage is due to be bulldozed to make way for Camden's new secondary academy before 2011.

But this week council officers are expected to recommend it is rebuilt next to a new Edith Neville primary school in Somers Town.

Chairman of the board of governors at Frank Barnes, Stephen Phillips, said: "We will wait and see what the council's report says but I am more confident than I have been in the past that a workable solution can be found.

"The council has to come up with something for us, otherwise we will not be vacating the Adelaide Road site."

The council has just finished a series of public talks on the future of the highly-rated special needs school before it makes a decision on April 23.

Other options included a merger with Haringey's Blanche Nevile school for deaf children - but it is expected to be ruled out because of differences in teaching methods between the schools.

A possible relocation to a former caretaker's house next to Primrose Hill primary school is also believed to be off the agenda because of a lack of space.

So the only viable option appears to be a move to Edith Neville on Ossulston Street, which is also due to be completely rebuilt in the near future.

However, more talks are needed before Edith Nevile is satisfied with the plan.

Mr Phillips said: "The only thing which is troubling us at the moment is the concerns expressed by Edith Neville.

"The last thing I would want to see is those concerns ridden roughshod over without any consideration for the children and staff at that school."

If Camden cannot come to a solution, they will be left with a major problem as government guidelines state a special needs school can only be closed if a better option is found for the children.

Governors at Edith Neville were not prepared to comment.

But schools chief Councillor Andrew Mennear said: "Obviously it's our hope that we will be able to take a decision which will satisfactorily resolve this issue. But it's not a decision that affects Frank Barnes alone. Whichever of the options are on the table, we have to ensure that all sides are able to live happily together."

ben.mcpartland@hamhigh.co.uk

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