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Roe Green Strathcona: Staff to strike for fourth time as cabinet decision to close school is called-in

PUBLISHED: 17:38 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:31 01 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 and parents at a primary school in Wembley are going on strike for the fourth time on the day a decision to close it for good comes under scrutiny.

Brent cabinet members rubber stamped plans to close Roe Green Strathcona School at a meeting on September 9.

But eight councillors have demanded the council call in their decision for further scrutiny which will be heard next Wednesday at 6pm at Brent Civic Centre.

Staff, union members, pupils and parents will hold a protest outside council headquarters from 4.30pm.

The school in Strathcona Road has only been open since 2014.

Roe Green Infant School in Kingsbury had come to Brent's aid at a time of rising primary school demands and agreed to run a separate site, Roe Green Strathcona School, in Wembley, on a temporary basis.

To increase school capacity Brent gave the school permanent status in 2016.

But now, claiming there are falling primary school demands, Brent is reducing the lower age limit from four to seven years old, with no reception pupils enrolled from September 2020.

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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.

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

Cllr Ihtesham Malik Afzal, one of the eight councillors calling in the proposal said: "We understand the restrictions imposed on the council, whether they be legal or financial constraints.

"At a time where we are seeing continual cuts to Council budgets, we understand the pressures being put on all areas.

"But we have to do what we can, to ask those questions, to get the answers and try to come up with an alternative to closing the school; a school which, after having stepped in to help the Council when it was in need of a site, is providing great education, under difficult circumstances, to the children that go to Strathcona.

And we hope, through this call-in, we can come to a solution which will understand the restrictions placed on the Council, but that will provide a positive outcome for the school, the teachers, the parents and - most importantly - the children in the area."

Jenny Cooper, District Secretary for Brent National Education Union, said: "We commend our brave members and their parent supporters for their fierce, collective campaign to try to defend this successful local authority school; our action will be suspended as soon as the council reassures us the school will be saved."

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