A new primary school for NW6!

As a member of Camden’s Resources & Corporate Performance scrutiny committee, I heard the call-in on the Cabinet’s decision to sell off two hostels which campaigners wanted to use for their proposed free school in Belsize.

This post isn’t about the right or wrongs about that particular decision (though the Department for Education didn’t approve the free school’s application anyway) – although one can’t help but be sympathetic towards parents who aren’t able to send their children to the closet local state school.

As I wrote in the Camden New Journal this week, what the officers’ reports for that call-in meeting made crystal clear to me, is that the real demand for primary school places is west of the Finchley Road – i.e. in Kilburn, West Hampstead and Fortune Green wards.

The sad truth is that as of this September, there were 10 pupils without primary school places in Camden schools – all of them west of the Finchley Road.  This is where the real demand is, and estimates by the council is that, future housing developments in the area means that demand on primary school places in the north-west is likely to remain high.

In Kilburn, the Abbey regeneration will certainly add to the pressure of pupil numbers; whilst there are a number of developments either happening or mooted in West Hampstead and Fortune Green which will do the same.  Whilst the expansion of Emmanuel on Mill Lane is welcome, it only adds another 0.5 form entry – i.e.15 places per year.  Will this be enough?

So, my fellow Kilburn councillors and Labour activists in West Hampstead and Fortune Green are supporting parents’ calls for this demand to be met, campaigning for a new primary school in NW6.

This is something which the council has thought about, but we need to demonstrate that there is strong local support for a new primary school for the area.

We know there are similar pressures the other side of the Kilburn High Road in Brent, and for some children in Brent the nearest local school is in Camden.  However, increasing our capacity means increasing the number of NW6 primary places Camden.

We’ve set up a petition, on- and off-line where local people can show their support for this call.  Please sign it, and encourage others to do the same.







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