Consultation on primary school proposals to be considered by Cabinet

Camden’s Cabinet are being asked to consider plans for the Council to start a full public consultation on proposals to ensure Camden’s primary schools are fit for the future amid falling school rolls at their meeting on Thursday, 3 September.

In common with the rest of central London, Camden is facing a dramatic fall in birth rates which means that there are fewer children requiring school places in the borough. As schools are funded on a ‘per pupil’ basis, surplus school places will result in significant funding challenges for schools leading to school closures or unplanned changes.

To respond to this issue, Camden Council have developed a set of proposals to ensure a sustainable school system which will undergo a full public consultation if Cabinet approve this week.

The proposals include removing 135 primary school places a year from the borough’s primary schools whilst also offering opportunities to develop the use of existing underused school buildings.

The proposals in the Cabinet report include:

  • Merging Rhyl and Carlton Primary Schools in Gospel Oak by expanding Rhyl Primary School to include the site of Carlton Primary School and reduce entry to the merged school from a total of four classes to two classes (a reduction of 60 places per year) from September 2021. Technically, this would be achieved by the closure of Carlton Primary School as a legal entity but in practice by drawing upon the strengths of both schools together.
  • Reducing entry at St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School by 15 places per year.
  • Merging Our Lady’s and St Michael’s Primary Schools and to reduce the number of places to the combined school by 30 places a year. Technically, this would be achieved by the closure of St Michael’s School as a legal entity.
  • Reducing entry at Netley Primary School by 15 places per year.
  • Reducing entry at Argyle Primary School also by 15 places per year.
Councillor Angela Mason, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families
Births in our borough have fallen by almost 20% from 2012 which means that some of our schools have high numbers of unfilled places, creating significant funding challenges for individual schools and for schools as a whole.

“We have been working closely with all primary schools in Camden and particularly closely with those with the greatest number of vacancies. 

“If we don’t take action, this will put our primary schools at huge risk, leading to unplanned school closures or changes which in turn could lead to uncertainty for families and poorer outcomes for pupils.

“We know in Camden we are strongest when we work together – our schools are facing this challenge collectively, and we are proposing changes that, whilst difficult, secure a sustainable future for our schools.

“No decisions have yet been made and this report for Cabinet sets out a proposal for a full and comprehensive public consultation starting at the end of September in which everyone can have their voices heard.”
Councillor Angela Mason, Cabinet Member for Best Start for Children and Families

If approved by Cabinet, the Council will undertake a full public consultation in discussion with all key stakeholders and following Covid-19 risk assessments. Consultation will also only begin when the Council can ensure meaningful engagement.

In the report, Camden Council, Camden Learning, schools and other partners also outline proposals to develop a comprehensive education strategy to provide a Camden-wide response to these challenges. This strategy would set out an education vision reflecting the unique attributes and needs of Camden and demonstrating our efforts to be a family-friendly borough.

Read the full Cabinet paper here.