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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 19 July 2007
Still time for contest

• I AM sorry to read that Fortune Green councillor Jane Schopflin is very, very weary of those of us who are asking for a competition to decide who should run Camden’s new school.
She implies (letters, July 12) that a competition will take too long, Camden will miss its deadlines and BSF  funding might be lost.
Why would the government remove funding from Camden for following the competition procedure laid out specifically for  situations such as this?
Why are councillors claiming a delay of a year or more when the government timetable says seven months?
Why are they worried about local people not being able express their views about the different bids when the seven-month process includes six weeks of consultation? A competition announced on July 25 would be over early in 2008, before the deadline for the outline business case and before detailed design work needs to start.
Furthermore, I understand that Partnership for Schools has already told the council that a competition will not delay the programme.
Camden is in the fortunate position of having at least two bids on the table. One of these (the C of E) has demonstrable support from thousands of residents and parents and 147 existing schools as evidence that they can run good schools.
The other (UCL) has little visible public support and runs a single nursery school. The Ofsted verdict is that the nursery is providing inadequate care and failing to keep children safe. Under these circumstances, I would have thought that the obvious solution would be to identify the C of E as preferred bidder or, if the council wants to be sure that they are getting the best solution (as I hope they do), to run a competition where the bids can be objectively judged.
Jane, you might be weary of our calls for a competition. Those of us supporting the C of E gathered a huge petition of 1,892 supporters in just two months and we have fully engaged with the council’s consultation process. And yet the playing field is still far from level with councillors refusing to commit themselves to a competition.
We too are weary. Weary of ‘consultation’ meetings where no one is listening, and weary of councillors who seem to want to make this crucial decision for political rather than  educational motives.
Chair, Campaign for a Church Secondary School for

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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