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Headteacher Marianne Porter announces Brecknock School farewell

Schools need more support, says head who has taught at four Camden primaries

19 April, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

Marianne Porter with pupils at Brecknock

A HEADTEACHER who is about to start her final term at a Camden Town primary has warned that schools will need more support in the future.

Marianne Porter is leaving Brecknock Primary School, in Cliff Villas, after four years at the helm. She has previously taught at four other Camden primary schools – Hawley, Rhyl, Primrose Hill and Beckford – and is now planning to do some travelling in the United States.

“There isn’t as much support for schools as there has been in times of the past,” said Ms Porter. “I have come across children over the years with mental health issues, a number of issues, and during my career there has been more support around for those children. I don’t want to say the cuts have affected schools, it’s not as simple as that, but there is less support around for those with long-term additional needs. Schools are very much islands now.”

Ms Porter said schools had more support when the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) was in operation from the 1960s until the 1990s. “There was a central organisation and they would have educational psychologists, art therapists,” she said. “Maybe there was a waste of money at that time, but those people were around. “It’s less easy for one school to be able to afford that than it is for one big organisation. Yes there was a lot of money spent on that authority but at least there was one organisation doing that, not everybody working on their own.”

Ms Porter added: “Camden schools continue to share with each other. We are a member of a number of hubs of Camden schools and that is really helpful because you can’t operate completely as an island.

Camden schools are a very cooperative community and have always worked really well together.” Her own children – now aged 18 and 25 – went to Hawley and Primrose Hill as youngsters.

She said: “My ideal school model is all about balance. You need freedom. Teachers need to be able to hone their craft, make mistakes and do it better next time. You can’t over-regiment. Teaching children to be literate and numerate is the key to success but they do that best in a creative environment.”

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