Young school protesters storm Camden's town hall
By Miguel Cullen PARENTS, teachers and pupils from a Somers Town primary school have stormed Camden Town Hall to protest about its future. More than 400 people tried to enter the King s Cross building on Monday night after a noisy rally outside over Edith
By Miguel Cullen
PARENTS, teachers and pupils from a Somers Town primary school have stormed Camden Town Hall to protest about its future.
More than 400 people tried to enter the King's Cross building on Monday night after a noisy rally outside over Edith Neville School's co-location with Frank Barnes School for deaf children in Swiss Cottage.
The move will see Frank Barnes leave its site to make way for a new secondary academy, which is due to open in 2011. Thirty pupils would move to Edith Neville before redevelopment.
At the moment, there are 262 pupils at Edith Neville in a building suitable for just 155.
Parent Anwar Anwaruzaman said: "This new school really concerns me about my children's education. They haven't given us any plan about how it's going to work.
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"There was no consultation. These are two completely different types of school."
Former pupil Emon Miah, 12, said: "As a primary school, it felt cosy. Now it will be like a zoo.
"There's not enough space. It's not going to feel like a primary school."
Union representative Hugo Pierre, from the Camden branch of Unison, presented a deputation to the council together with school governor Esther Caplin.
The deputation called for Camden Council to abandon the decision to merge the schools immediately. It also called for a proper consultation on the relocation of Frank Barnes with all primaries and to commit to supporting Edith Neville's community plan for its future.
Mr Pierre said: "It is quite staggering that the matter did not go to consultation before the decision was taken.
"Frank Barnes's only option is to co-locate with another Camden school. How could they get themselves into such a mess?"
To loud cheers from the public gallery, he added: "Children's futures are too important to be a political football. Do not let this happen again."
But schools chief, Tory councillor Andrew Mennear, said: "No-one doubts the strength of feeling in the community. The move would provide a lot of advantages. That area of Somers Town requires additional investment."
His comments were met with boos from the gallery.
Labour councillor Nasim Ali said: "These people live in a deprived ward. They are already facing challenges. This is yet another hurdle that has been put in front of them. The council isn't listening to this school's pleas."
Ash Sakula architects, which has been working with Edith Neville on a separate development, added: "In our professional view, there is certainly not enough land to share Edith Neville with another school."