Why a Frank Barnes merger would be inappropriate

There are a number of issues I would like to clarify following your story about the future of the Frank Barnes School in Camden (Swiss Cottage deaf school told it is not wanted – Ham&High January 31). The e-mail was not secret . It was part of the normal

There are a number of issues I would like to clarify following your story about the future of the Frank Barnes School in Camden (Swiss Cottage deaf school told it is not wanted - Ham&High January 31).

The e-mail was not 'secret'. It was part of the normal correspondence between interested parties during this kind of decision-making process. It's a shame we were not approached for a chance to fully explain our position before publication.

The story is, understandably, selective in quoting from my e-mail. To give a more complete picture, it also says: "In Haringey, we are neutral on the issue of closing Frank Barnes. If it is to close, we would want to see appropriate provision for the children. We would also want to help and cooperate with our adjoining local authority as it plans special school provision.

"Blanche Nevile is ... valued by Haringey Council, by the children who attend it and by their parents. Similarly, they and we value the close partnership with Highgate Primary and the degree of inclusion this allows Blanche Nevile pupils; and the enrichment provided to Highgate Primary pupils. We know that the Frank Barnes approach is different to that at Blanche Nevile.


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"We respect that, but would be concerned if the impact of Frank Barnes closing were to radically change the educational philosophy that governs the way Blanche Nevile works and works in partnership with Highgate Primary. Accordingly, we do not consider that any form of school merger would be appropriate."

If pupils did move to Blanche Nevile, they would be welcome and appropriate provision for their needs would be made - the two schools have a different approach for the use of British Sign Language and other ways of communicating.

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Ian Bailey

Deputy Director, Children and Young People Services, Haringey Council

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