UCL sponsored Academy School for Camden? Report on the public meeting held at UCL on 5/9/07.

Backdated from previous BA website

UCL sponsored Academy School for Camden A? Report on the public meeting held at UCL on 5/9/07.

Consensus was NOT reached at the 5 Sept public meeting hosted by UCL. The well informed audience of approximately 60/70 stakeholders generally welcomed the involvement by UCL into secondary school education but there was a substantial and lively voice of protest which opposed the location of the new school, the ethos of an A?AcademyA? as opposed to a traditional community school and suspicion over the method that was undertaken by Camden Council in choosing both the location and participation by UCL.

A particularly passionate speech was made by Julian Fulbrook against the choice of location and that this proposal does not serve the educational needs of children where it is needed, namely in the south of the borough. Further questions were asked concerning the admissions policy, governance, and general ethos.

The UCL Provost and Vice Provost gave eloquent speeches about the attributes that UCL would bring to secondary education in Camden and the Leader of Camden Council spoke about the sequence of events that led to UCL being chosen as sponsor of the new Academy School. He also explained about the Call-In and that this would be likely to delay the final decision by Camden Executive.

The theme for the public meeting was for UCL to explain their role in the proposed Academy and a Q & A session, but the Provost eventually had to ‘let go’ and just listen to questions and speeches from the majority of people in the theatre for the remaining hour of the 2 hour meeting. It would be fair to say that the atmosphere in the lecture theatre was ‘uncomfortable’ as the mood of the room was not sympathetic to topic in question. In fairness to them is should be noted that the underground staff strike was on that day and most of the people present came from the south of the borough.

Some in the audience questioned what they saw as the lack of democratic process involved in UCL running an Academy school, the fact that an Academy does not have to comply with traditional secondary school governance, the method used by Camden Council in deciding on both an Academy and the location of the new school in Swiss Cottage, the ‘done deal’ prior to public consultation and against the principle of an Academy rather than UCL offering their expertise to the Camden family of schools. It was not apparent if the 900 or so new school places would be offered exclusively to Camden resident children, and no answer was forthcoming on this question.
The call-in by a group of Labour councillors, will be heard on Sept 12 after which we shall expect a further announcement by Camden Council.

UCL explained that the event was being recorded and that they would respond to unanswered questions in due course, after the final decision on the proposal is made by Camden Executive.

UCL welcomes suggestions and comments and you may email them at:  academy@ucl.ac.uk

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