Schools out for seven Kilburn children due to lack of places

Youngsters forced to stay at home as council battles to find them a school

Seven unlucky children did not return to school with their friends this week as they are still waiting for a primary place three months after the start of the academic year.

The four and five-year-olds, who all live in Kilburn, have missed out on several months of lessons and their families remain uncertain whether they will be offered a place this term.

Emma Knowles, whose daughter, Sophie Crowther, has not been given a place, said she is worried the four-year-old is missing out on teaching and forming friendships vital to her development.

“I am really upset because she should be in school now,” said Ms Knowles, who lives in Casterbridge, in Abbey Road, Kilburn.

“She should be having an education.

“I’m worried it is going to hold her back. She won’t get that confidence of being around other children, learning things, and preparing to go on to the next year at school.”

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The single mum said she applied for a place before the deadline, and was shocked when she had not heard back at the same time as other parents.

But when she contacted Camden Council, they said they had no record of her application and Ms Knowles had to reapply.

The only place Sophie was offered was three miles in Kentish Town, which Ms Knowles said is too far.

Sophie is now 26th on the waiting list at Beckford in Dornfell Street and 16th for Kingsgate Primary School in Kingsgate Road, both are in Kilburn.

“I just feel really sorry for Sophie because she is not getting an education,” said Ms Knowles.

Kilburn Cllr Mike Katz, who has launched a petition signed by hundreds of people calling for a new school in his ward, said: “This illustrates the need for long term planning for a new primary school.

“But is educationally disruptive for the children and causes huge concern and stress for parents.”

A Camden Council spokesman said: “Camden takes its responsibility for planning school places very seriously.

“We aim to match the supply of places to local need, by basing our plans on population projections, planned housing developments and with information from our schools.

“We are also reviewing opening another new school in Liddell Road to ensure we meet the needs of local families.”