CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Questions remain to be answered about Camden’s ‘vision’ and proposed closures

14 February, 2020

Carlton School

• CAMDEN’S vision for a better borough, Camden 2025, commits the council to “making sure everyone in the borough has a voice”.

This is a great ambition. However, as a Gospel Oak resident concerned about the council’s proposal to close Carlton School, it’s hardly felt like locals have a say.

On November 19 I wrote to council leader Georgia Gould and Cllr Angela Mason, cabinet member for “best schools”, expressing my concerns, shortly after the announcement that Camden proposed to close Carlton.

Despite numerous reminders, the leader has not answered my questions, while the reply from the cabinet member requires clarification and further information, which has not been forthcoming.

Questions included:

– The reasoning behind the choice of Carlton, when rolls are falling in other Camden schools.

– Availability of places in other local primaries if children have to transfer.

– Closure costs.

– A request for an impact assessment, especially since closure of Gospel Oak Nursery in Lismore Circus, five minutes’ walk away, is also proposed.

I assume both Cllr Gould and Cllr Mason are aware of the motion passed by the Gospel Oak branch of the Labour Party in January, asking that the threat of Carlton’s closure be removed immediately, so that the threat itself does not cause damage to the school.

It horrifies me that Camden proposes to close its primary school with the most deprived intake. This is a school with “low starting levels of attainment, yet [children] achieve average or above average national attainment levels by the end of Year 6” (2018/19 figures, source: GOV.UK).

As a local resident and active member of the Labour Party since 1983, I ask the council leader what has happened to accountability?

And, why is Camden Council making such an important decision before carrying out an impact assessment? And why have parents had to wait so long for clear, honest answers?

I also ask if Camden would make the bold move in the face of government cuts, and help Carlton to adapt to falling rolls rather than close it? This would set Camden out as a leading local authority. We are talking here about children’s lives and their future.

MYRA FARNWORTH,
NW5

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