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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 26 June 2008
Shocking ‘ultimatum’ over future of two good schools

• AS a former teacher at Edith Neville School (retired July 1997), I was shocked to read what amounts to an ultimatum voiced by Conservative education chief Councillor Andrew Mennear, regarding necessary refurbishment of the school building (Outrage as school faces ‘blackmail’ over funding, June 19).
Cllr Mennear says he recognises “that Edith Neville is a school in urgent need of an update” but seems to be creating additional problems in wishing to build the Frank Barnes School for Deaf children on the same site.
This intention seems to be short-sighted.
The council has a duty to cater for both schools which have their own individual specialist needs, nor should Frank Barnes School be relegated to sharing a site when they have been “evicted” from their present area in Swiss Cottage.
Edith Neville has always enjoyed a committed staff, with hard-working and loyal teaching assistants, including the school secretary, who have given many years of unstinting service, to making sure the pupils’ individual needs are catered for.
This has allowed for a secure family atmosphere with the school, where pupils and parents are valued as part of the Somers Town community.
This seeks to give confidence to pupils and to motivate them to meet the educational targets within the curriculum.
Today, without the necessary financial provision, it is ever more difficult to meet all educational needs within the school.
Somers Town is one of Camden’s poorest wards and the duty of elected councillors is to provide extra help in this area. I hope the councillors concerned will rethink these plans as they could jeopardise all the good work that is being done in the schools.
These children are the next generation and if they are to aim to be high achievers you need to promote their self-worth.


I AM concerned about the lack of a proper consultation process leading to a proposed decision for the “co-location” of Frank Barnes School to the new site of a rebuilt Edith Neville Primary School in Ossulston Street.
Of course such a statement can suggest a “nimby” attitude about the presence of a school for the deaf. My position is not from a negative standpoint regarding Frank Barnes School. This is a fine and very important school deserving of better facilities and I hope a co-location partner will be found among schools that, I am told, are coming forward enthusiastically to be host for this proposed move.
My concern is about the possible loss of the best chance for one of the schools in our parish.
Edith Neville School has for a long time been looking forward to a much deserved and long overdue rebuild, offering the very best facilities.
Edith Neville needs a new school that can provide much more space to allow for its designated children’s centre and allow for extended school facilities.
Currently the school has less space than is legally required. This does not stop them producing very high quality teaching and learning but they deserve the chance of the best rebuild with plenty of space and good resources.
The school serves an area with considerable deprivation in places. These areas of our community deserve the very best facilities, and not the best that can be gathered from the crumbs of a compromise.
And, of course, a well-appointed school is good for the whole of Somers Town.
Top class facilities in a new school build can be shared with the local residents through partnerships, so that the benefits can be felt beyond the school community.
So I challenge those with influence to consider the opportunity before us. Let’s try and find the best “co-location” site for Frank Barnes School for the Deaf and the best school rebuild for Edith Neville in Somers Town.
At the very least, let’s have a proper and fair conversation about it!
Acting Team Rector
Parish of Old St Pancras, NW1

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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