Carlton Primary School to close as Camden Council approves Rhyl merger
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The closure of Carlton Primary School will go ahead after a council cabinet vote on Wednesday (December 16).
Camden’s cabinet signed off the plans to merge the school in Grafton Road with nearby Rhyl Primary School, in Rhyl Street.
Parents and teachers have campaigned and petitioned to save Carlton, proposing an alternative solution – which was rejected – for it to run as a one-form entry school.
The council says the merger is necessary due to births in the borough dropping by nearly 20% since 2012, leaving schools with falling rolls and greater financial difficulties due to the allocation of per-pupil funding.
Shoda Rackal, from Carlton School’s Parents and Carers Action Group, criticised the council’s consultation for an alleged lack of engagement with the Black and minority ethnic (BAME) community.
She told the meeting: “Shamefully, school governors are not interested in what BAME parents want for our children, many of us are struggling with other issues – a lack of money, difficulty in our jobs, bereavement, and caring for family members with ill-health.
“We are in a constant state of anxiety and are struggling to support our own children's education. To suggest an upheaval of change in school and splitting up siblings puts further strain on mothers.”
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The merger is supported by both schools. In a joint statement the Carlton head Jacqueline Phelan, and the Rhyl principal Helen Connor said: “Carlton is highly regarded and valued within the community.
“The proposed provision of education, as well as early years and community services on this site, would enable the merged school to build on this strength in meeting the needs of local families and children.”
The council’s education chief, Cllr Angela Mason, said: “We recognise the important place Carlton has in the local community.
“Nobody wants to see Carlton or any school close, but the dramatic fall in numbers means that we have to look at the best way of sustaining primary education in this area and ensuring our family of schools are fit for the future.
“If we don’t take action, our primary schools would be at huge risk of becoming unviable, leading to unplanned closures or further changes that would mean greater uncertainty for families and poorer outcomes for pupils.”
The council is issuing a statutory notice of the decision from January 7 to February 4 next year.
The move is then expected to be signed off by the cabinet in March. For more information click here.