CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Camden has ‘lowest fertility rate in the country’

Funding challenge could see primary schools with falling rolls 'share resources'

09 April, 2019 — By Richard Osley

CAMDEN’S education chief last night (Monday) jokingly called on people to “do their bit” to lift the borough from its status as having the lowest fertility rate in the country.

Labour’s Angela Mason was talking about concerns that schools could lose out on government funding due to falling enrolment figures.

The New Journal first revealed last month how the numbers registering at Camden’s primary schools has been on the slide in recent years, with council analysis suggesting high property prices and the low birth rate are factors. With fewer pupils, cash-strapped schools may face further cuts to their budgets due to government funding formulas.

Cllr Mason told a full council meeting that there were a number of issues behind the figures. “I would particularly highlight the very high cost of housing in London and the insecurity in the private rented sector. We’ve also got Brexit and a big increase in Airbnb.  And apparently we have the lowest fertility rate in the country, for some reason I don’t understand. So I’m appealing to everybody to remedy that. I think some of us have done our bit.”

She added that a “strategic plan” was being put in place, adding: “Schools are responding, not by trying to compete against each other but by trying to work together.”

This, Cllr Mason, said would also include a “bullish” publicity campaign, reminding prospective parents that there were good state schools on the doorstep.  “We have the tenth best primary schools in the whole country, and we’ve never had any publicity or campaign,” she said.

But Cllr Mason warned it was a “tough situation”, telling councillors: “We have to look more widely to schools sharing resources, and sharing management to decrease costs and enable them to continue.”

 

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