More of your letters on the controversy surrounding a School for the Future
True consultation and open competition seem to be firmly off the agenda where the Lib Dems and Tories are concerned, if their recent showing in the Building Schools for the Future debate is anything to go by. Having attended the majority of the BSF con
True consultation and open competition seem to be firmly off the agenda where the Lib Dems and Tories are concerned, if their recent showing in the Building Schools for the Future debate is anything to go by.
Having attended the majority of the BSF 'consultation' meetings, I don't know why I was surprised, but last week's offering was a complete farce.
For every view expressed by a parent, school governor, teacher, etc, there was a lengthy diatribe from the executive members or senior officers telling us why that view was wrong.
Concerns at the lack of proper investigation into the competing need, and hence location for a secondary school, are simply brushed off. You can almost see the crocodile tears for children and families trying to find schools in the south of the borough.
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The blame for the tight deadline for consultation is laid at the feet of government, when it was this administration who decided to make the BSF bid in the current round and so limit the consultation period available. It was clearly their choice to rush this through.
Of course this 'listening' council goes even further in its complete disregard for the voices of our communities. There is clear interest from parents in having either a church or community school and great opposition to an academy, but commitment to providing for an open competition for the management model of the new school is woefully absent.
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If this is truly a listening council, we should see a measured response on these issues that will ensure we have schools in Camden fit for the 21st century. Our future generations of school children deserve more than the quick fix they are currently being offered.
Let's have proper consultation, sensible research into alternative sites and an even-handed competition on the model for our new school.
Cllr Heather Johnson
Chair, Children, Schools and Families Scrutiny Committee
UCL proposes to sponsor a secondary school in Camden, but is trying to hold the council to ransom over it (UCL under fire over secondary school takeover plan, H&H July 5).
Why should the people of Camden put up with this approach? UCL is insisting on nominating a majority of the governors and do not want to enter a competition open to public scrutiny where the quality of their bid will be properly tested.
A new school with community status could still have up to four sponsor governors nominated by UCL and work co-operatively with other schools. Such a proposal could command the support of most Camden residents as well as those working within education in Camden, including UCL staff.
Instead, UCL seems determined to be as undemocratic and arrogant as possible. CASE urges the council to reject this power-hungry grab for control of educational resources that should guarantee the future of all our children and not just a select few.
Chair, Camden Campaign for State Education, Lupton Street, NW5
The area between Hampstead and Avenue Road probably has the highest density of schools in the country. Given the severe traffic problems which this creates, it is surprising that this is not a major consideration when deciding where to put a large new school.
The need for a new secondary school in the south of the borough is evident, and other than the administrative convenience for Camden of using a site already used for education, Avenue Road is not an obvious choice.
It also seems to be accepted unquestioningly that the site is large enough to provide proper facilities for 800-plus pupils, but perhaps they will not need outdoor activity space as they will be fully occupied in the state of the art laboratories.
Of course UCL's involvement in the project may be too 'suspicious' and the possibility of creating a school which aims towards excellence in science might be construed to be rather elitist - almost like a grammar school. Is this what Ms Millar and Ms Roberts (H&H letters, July 5) are so suspicious about?
The borough needs this school and is fortunate to have the possibility of support from UCL, but it needs it in the south of the borough.
Frognal Lane, NW3
I signed the petition calling for a CoE school in Camden. The track record and the reputation of CoE schools are both excellent and I am pleased to offer my support.
I am upset that the council will not commit itself to running a competition for the new school. We all want the best for our children and so I am pleased that CASE and CSSC have joined forces in an 'unholy alliance' to press for a competition.
I think that any organisation which wants to run the new school should be prepared to set ou its strengths for all to see. Then perhaps the CoE will have a chance to win over its detractors.
Fitzjohns Avenue, NW3