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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 19 July 2007
Left out of the loop

• AS both a student and an elected representative of young people in Camden, I have been concerned that hardly any of my fellow students are even aware of the prospect of a new school in Camden.
When I attended a general meeting hosted by Cllr Andrew Mennear, our Tory education chief, I was astonished to realise that we as young people weren’t alone in this.
From parents, to governors, teachers and headteachers – the message was the same: you’ve left us out of
the loop.
With regard to the type of school – why would we be better off with an academy?
Camden’s community schools are working. None of them is failing. We are, of course, one of only six 4-star education authorities in the country. Why opt for a different tack?
Liberal Cllr Jane Schopflin wrote in the Journal (letters, July 12) that funding would be “more readily available” for an academy, which Alan Johnson, as then education secretary, assured us is not the case. The councillor’s claim attempts to manipulate the views of the public and holds the entire notion of consultation in contempt.
The council maintains that the impending decision is merely “indicative” and more consultation will follow.
However, any further arguments to deviate from such a decision, when it has been made, would be compromised by the fact they are at odds with the executive’s preferred path of action.
I believe the only feasible option is for an open competition administered by the schools adjudicator, in which Camden enters a bid for a community school. With all the options on the table, the final decision would rest on which proposal could provide the best education for our children.
A principal reason against a competition is that the preferred bidder, UCL, is not comfortable with the idea. I believe that UCL’s interests must come second to those of Camden’s children – and that is why we should not limit our options.
Another argument commonly mounted against holding a competition is the delays it might cause.
But Building Schools for the Future is a landmark project.
The end result will be with us for a very long time. If we rush into a proposal, having allowed little time for consultation and evaluating the options, we could jeopardise its success.
A competition would allow ample time for consultation of all sections of society across Camden. And with more time, we will more likely opt for a solution that will best benefit the future generations of young people in our borough.
UK Youth Parliament
Representative for Camden NW5

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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