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Blow for staff and parents as cabinet confirms Roe Green Strathcona school's closure

PUBLISHED: 11:53 16 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:52 16 October 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

Staff, parents and governors have lost their battle to keep a Wembley primary school open after Brent Council rubber stamped its closure in a meeting slammed as a "foregone conclusion".

Roe Green Strathcona teachers, staff, parents, union members lose the battle with Brent Council to keep the school open. Picture: Nathalie RaffrayRoe Green Strathcona teachers, staff, parents, union members lose the battle with Brent Council to keep the school open. Picture: Nathalie Raffray

Cabinet chiefs again voted for the "phased closure" of Roe Green Strathcona, in Strathcona Road, on Monday despite final pleas by supporters to consider their alternatives.

In a blow to teaching staff, governors and union members, the council stood by its decision to stop admissions in 2020 and close for good in 2022.

Cllr Mohammed Butt, council leader, said there had been "much debate" adding: "The issue for me is the future use of the building and how do we move forward."

The council first voted to close the primary on September 9 but the decision was called in for scrutiny by eight councillors opposed to the plan, which was heard on October 2.

Roe Green Strathcona School. Picture: Hema DahaleRoe Green Strathcona School. Picture: Hema Dahale

In a pre-meeting report the council rejected all proposals for the school including the opportunity to provide mainstream education for autistic and special needs children. Jenny Cooper, of the National Education Union, said it was "unforgivable" not to give the school more opportunity to outline its plans.

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The school has only been open since 2014, when Roe Green Infant School in Kingsbury was asked by Brent Council to open the Wembley site to ease rising demand for junior school places - first on a temporary basis and, in 2016, permanently.

A consultation earlier this year saw 541 people object to the school closing and one respondent agree.

Council officers maintain demand for school places is now falling, particularly at Strathcona, and the money saved by closing the school would be spread out among other schools.

One of only two "split site" schools in the borough, they are nearly two miles apart, unlike Leopold Primary in Harlesden, whose sites are in the same catchment area.

Staff said the Wembley site is not even marked on the council's admissions website making it difficult for prospective parents to know the school exists. Deputy head Liz Mclaren said: "The council is partly responsible for these low numbers [at Strathcona] and using this as justification for closure."

The council says the site will be used for the education of 19- to 25-year-olds with special needs.

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