Camden News - by RICHARD OSLEY Published: 31 July 2008
Cllr Andrew Mennear
Share school ‘can rule itself,’ says councillor
CAMDEN’S education chief has offered to help a primary school break away from council control, allowing the governors to run it themselves. But Edith Neville Primary School has been warned that going it alone and setting up a Foundation trust to manage its affairs would not stop the Town Hall placing another school on its grounds.
Governors at the school in Ossulston Street, Somers Town, had hoped achieving Foundation status would give them the power to fend off a controversial “co-location” plan that will see Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children moved from its current home in Swiss Cottage and rebuilt on the same site.
The shake-up was agreed by the Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition at the Town Hall last Wednesday. But Conservative Councillor Andrew Mennear said: “If the school really wants to become a Foundation school then we don’t have a problem with that. We would work with the school to achieve what they want. “But our interpretation is that applying for Foundation status would not succeed in changing the council plans.”
He added: “There is a lot of merit in the plans we have for Edith Neville and Frank Barnes on the site and maybe they haven’t got across to parents in a way that we would have liked.”
Frank Barnes is looking for a new home because it will be evicted to make way for Camden’s new academy school in Adelaide Road.
Edith Neville governors responded to the final decision with a letter to the Town Hall, warning councillors and officers that the fight would go on.
Chairwoman of governors Robin Nash said: “I want Camden to be clear that the governing body does not accept this decision. “Camden has still not provided us with any evidence of educational benefits from the proposed co-location for our children and our belief is that there are many disadvantages to off-set the consequent reduction in facilities by losing some of our precious outdoor space. We will continue to resist this proposal.”
She added: “Should the governing body decide that Foundation status is the right answer for the school, we believe that any adjudication would mean that the school would retain full use of the site because there is no surplus land to be given up. “At this point, therefore, after wasting a great deal of taxpayers’ money, Camden will have to go back to the drawing board and begin again their search for a site upon which to relocate Frank Barnes School.”