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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 21 February 2008
Old story on a new school

WHAT sort of of idiots does Frank Dobson MP take us for?
In his article (Forum, February 14), our long-serving MP claims to have cleared all the obstacles in the way of siting a new secondary school south of the Euston Road.
He quotes education secretary Ed Balls as saying that Camden Council can delay deciding where to site their new secondary school if they wish, and saying that he is “prepared to consider” a four-form entry school. (His predecessors insisted that six-form entry was the minimum size regarded as viable).
OK, Frank. You’re so clever. If it’s so easy now, why wasn’t the new school south of the Euston Road provided years ago then? People have been pointing to the need for it and campaigning for it for over 35 years. It was actually promised us by Labour back in the days of the Inner London Education Authority, and that’s 20 years ago.
You, Frank Dobson, have been MP here since 1979. Yet it is only now, when the Liberal Democrat/Conservative partnership administration is co-operating with the Labour government to provide the first new secondary school to be built anywhere in Camden for decades, that you stir.
Everyone agrees there is a strong case for a new secondary school south of the Euston Road. But there is a very real need elsewhere too, and especially in the north-west of the borough. Fewer than half Camden’s children of secondary school age can get into Camden’s own secondary schools.
Mr Dobson urges delay, and further pursuit of something which he himself has failed to deliver in almost 30 years’ tenure.
Hasn’t he learnt yet that taking Labour ministers at their word is tantamount to kissing money goodbye? Camden is still waiting for the £283 million withheld by government that was supposed to pay to bring Camden’s council homes up to decent standard.
The Building Schools for the Future programme is already lagging years behind its target dates. Having promised to open hundreds of new schools by now, Labour has in fact provided only a handful.
Even last week, as you reported, the Labour government suddenly decided £10 million promised to Camden in December would not be coming after all, because the government had got its sums wrong.
With this mob it’s “now you see it, now you don’t”.
Mr Dobson may think it’s a good idea to procrastinate on providing a new school. Some of us, though, would like to see the job done before another 30 years have passed.
Robin Young
Bedford Avenue, WC1

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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