Community has been let down by Edith Neville decision

We write to express our extreme disappointment at the Executive decision last Wednesday night to push ahead with the co-location of Frank Barnes School on the Edith Neville site.  A decision taken against the express, and reasonable, pleas of the pupils,

We write to express our extreme disappointment at the Executive decision last Wednesday night to push ahead with the co-location of Frank Barnes School on the Edith Neville site. A decision taken against the express, and reasonable, pleas of the pupils, parents, governors and teachers at Edith Neville to defer the decision until meaningful dialogue has been possible about whether this move is in the best interests of pupils and what co-location would mean in practice.

The council chamber was packed with pupils and parents from Edith Neville, and the fact that small children were made to wait for nearly two and a half hours for the discussion and decision underlined the fact that it seems that the interests of Camden's children do not lie at the heart of the Tory and Lib Dem councillors taking the decision.

The decision around Edith Neville, and the decision to expand South Camden Community School taken on the same night, show how the council is in danger of squandering the opportunity that has come with the Government investment of over £250 million into Camden's schools. The historic consensus around educational decisions within Camden is in danger of breaking down and the entire educational community are saying as one that the council have got it wrong.

There is no doubt that Frank Barnes needs and deserves a home in Camden; at the same time Edith Neville need to have their special circumstances and needs taken into account and their voice heard in the decision-making process; the expansion of South Camden Community School effectively cuts off any opportunity to explore the undeniable need for secondary provision south of the Euston Road and there are real educational questions about whether this is a good way forward. All these decisions are by-products of the political decision to push ahead with the academy on the Swiss Cottage site and the self-imposed constraints that this timetable has created.


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As ward-councillors for St Pancras and Somers Town our primary concerns at this moment are for the school community around Edith Neville who have been badly let down by the council. It is a great shame that the council were not big enough to say that they had got it wrong and to think again; this investment is a once in a lifetime opportunity and there is only one chance to get it right for the children of the borough.

Councillors Anna Stewart and Roger Robinson

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St Pancras & Somers Town Ward

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