The Call-In and Extraordinary General Meeting of Camden Council on BUILDING SCHOOLS for the FUTURE…OR, Are you beginning to get the message that as a Borough Council, Camden is failing in its responsibilities?

Backdated from previous BA website

On Monday 5th November an extraordinary meeting of Camden Council took place to listen to deputations and answer the Call-In by Labour Members on the Executive’s decision to build a new secondary school in Swiss Cottage, rather than south of Euston Road. The Call-In failed! Observing the farce from the public gallery was NOT entertaining as the ruling executive mumbled their way through their excuses about why they failed to consult properly and ‘did the deal’ behind closed doors with UCL.

Here is the Deputation text:

DEPUTATION
Our parent-led campaign has been active for two years, asking this administration and the previous one for a secondary school south of the Euston Rd.

We have no political axe to grind; this is a community fighting for its needs.

We have engaged fully in the BSF consultation process, though many people didn’t even know it was going on, and we have witnessed this administration’s reluctance to have a real public debate about what Camden parents want and need.

You asked for our input, but you failed to ask us some really important questions.

You never asked us where we wanted the new school to be built and yet parents told you again and again that we needed it in the south.

You never asked us whether we thought demolishing two special schools at Adelaide Rd, and leaving Frank Barnes School without a home, was a fair price to pay for a building site, but you complained that every meeting was dominated by those who felt that it was deeply unfair.

You never asked us whether South Camden Community School should be expanded, yet many parents are against expansion.

You never asked us who should run the new school and yet the demand for a council run community school was repeatedly voiced, along with requests for a church school.

You never asked us whether we wanted a city academy in Camden, yet parents, teachers and governors said emphatically that they didn’t.

You never asked us, but we told you anyway.

Your plan to build a UCL sponsored City Academy at Swiss Cottage was published after the consultation process.
It is now presented as the only option, making the results of your consultation irrelevant.
Since your decision, consultation meetings have been poorly attended.
We believe it’s not the debate that’s keeping people at home, but the lack of debate.

Those who say your decision ignores public opinion are now treated as ungrateful spoilsports.

But we don’t deny the contribution UCL could make to Camden education.

What we strongly object to is that you have not used our valuable feedback to shape policy.

Were we mistaken to think that we were part of a democratic process?

We are encouraged that our lobbying has had one positive effect, an executive resolution on 25th July to work with us outside BSF to address our need for a school in the south.

(although 72 working days later we are still waiting for the first meeting of this proposed ‘steering group’)

Tonight we ask you to be brave enough to act on the clear evidence of your consultation.

Please don’t steamroller your BSF plans through.

Please live up to your manifesto promise to ’open up the council’.

Please let the needs of the people of Camden be the driving force in decision-making.

We urge you to have an open competition and a real public debate about Camden’s new secondary school.

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