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Roe Green Strathcona School to close after Brent Council cabinet rubber stamps decision

PUBLISHED: 17:07 10 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:39 11 September 2019

Roe Green Strathcona School's protest outside Brent Civic Centre as the council's cabinet decides the school's future. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Roe Green Strathcona School's protest outside Brent Civic Centre as the council's cabinet decides the school's future. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg

Brent Council's cabinet last night voted through a plan to close Roe Green Strathcona Primary School - as teachers, parents and union members picketed the building.

Roe Green Strathcona School's protest outside Brent Civic Centre as the council's cabinet decides the school's future. Picture: Jonathan GoldbergRoe Green Strathcona School's protest outside Brent Civic Centre as the council's cabinet decides the school's future. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

The school in Strathcona Road will close at the end of July 2022. There will be no more admissions at the end of this school year. Roe Green Infants School, which opened the Strathcona site as a junior school in 2014, will continue to take pupils up to age seven.

Before the meeting, campaigners protested outside of the civic centre, holding placards saying: "Small school, big ideas. Brent, pick on someone your own size."

Teachers went on strike on the same day in a bid to help save their school.

According to Brent Council, the move comes in response to shrinking school rolls. It was initially opened as a 210-place school in 2014, with 30 children in each year group.

Roe Green Strathcona School's protest outside Brent Civic Centre as the council's cabinet decides the school's future. Picture: Jonathan GoldbergRoe Green Strathcona School's protest outside Brent Civic Centre as the council's cabinet decides the school's future. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Yet fewer pupils have been applying since it opened. That year, 34 pupils started the year in reception. This year, the council says, there are just seven. In 2018/2019, 12pc of reception places went spare.

Council planners believe the demand for places will continue to reduce until 2022 when there is a small increase.

A consultation took place this summer, in which 541 respondees urged the council to reconsider. Just one supported the plans.

During a protest outside the civic centre in Wembley in June, teachers asked why Brent's administration was continuing to expand other primary schools while saying there was an oversupply of places.

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At its latest Ofsted inspection, the state school was rated "outstanding".

Labour's Cllr Jumbo Chan, a supporter of the school, said: "Under the current context of a decade-long assault on public education, Labour councils should be doing everything possible to retain and strengthen their local authority schools.

"The council should listen to the teachers, parents and other members of the public who have formally expressed their opposition to its proposals to abandon Roe Green Strathcona.

"A Labour council should be supporting hardworking and loyal teachers, parents and students - including working with them properly to explore all alternatives, not casting them away."

Cllr Amer Agha, Brent Council's Cabinet Member for Schools, Employment & Skills said:

"Roe Green Strathcona is a great school and this was not an easy decision to make. The school is still accepting new pupils and will continue to do so this academic year. Following this we will be taking a phased approach to closing the school. We hope by doing this, we can minimise the disruption to children, parents and teachers at Roe Green Strathcona.

"We will be working closely with all the people affected to ensure that they are supported throughout the process.

"The drop in demand for school places across Brent means the Council needs to make hard decisions about how to best use the limited resources to provide for children in the borough. With 95 per cent of schools in Brent rated either good or outstanding by Ofsted, I'm confident that there are a number of great alternatives that parents can choose for their children.

"We will continue to talk to everyone involved and work together to ensure that Brent children get the best start in life."

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