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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 11 June 2009
Parents and places

• YOUR suggestion (Parents teach Tories a lesson in school places crisis, Comment, June 4) that somehow Conservatives are blocking a resolution of the primary school places issue in the wider Belsize area is completely false.
There has been no attempt made to “face down the parents”.
In complete contrast, following the petition presented by local parents at the last full council meeting, I immediately arranged a public meeting at which a working party of parents and officers was formed to attempt to find both a short-term and a long-term solution.
When Liberal Democrat councillors cheered the calls for a new primary in Belsize at that last full council meeting, I pointed out that I saw this as their agreement to free up the necessary funds for this to go ahead.
I effectively represent a “spending ministry” at the Town Hall, and it’s necessary for me to play what cards I have to secure additional funds.
Furthermore it’s national education rules which force Camden to fill empty places at all the schools in the borough before looking to expand provision elsewhere.
I think this policy is misguided and prevents real parental choice.
I’ve expressed this view to Michael Gove, the Conservative education spokesman, and hope a future Conservative government will tackle it.
But, in the meantime, Camden Council will continue to make the best possible case for new school places in the wider Belsize area, just as we work hard with local parents to find some sort of solution to the current issue.
Cllr Andrew Mennear
Executive Member for Schools

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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