Brent Council could close Kingsbury pupil referral unit

Local authority announced proposal to staff last week

Brent Council could close a school which teaches some of the borough’s most vulnerable children by the end of the academic year.

Last week, the local authority informed Church Lane Pupil Referral Unit, in Church Lane, Kingsbury, that it is considering closing the school at the end of the summer term, sparking fears for the children’s future and teachers’ jobs.

However, a consultation is yet to take place.

Shocked headteacher Patrick Eames said: “I’m devastated. The staff and children have given their heart and soul to this place.

“It costs a lot less to send a child to school than to send an adult to prison.”

The unit teaches children who have been permanently excluded from mainstream education.

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At the moment there are 13 pupils on the roll but the school can take up to 25.

Mr Eames added: “The pupils here are the most vulnerable people in our borough. They face many challenges and now they are going to face another.”

Eleven permanent members of staff have been told they could be made redundant along with three agency staff.

It is not yet known if the children would be moved to another unit in Poplar Grove, Wembley, near the Chalkhill Estate.

Teaching union representatives have visited the school to discuss the plans.

Jean Roberts, from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “We are concerned about the closure of provisions for the borough’s most vulnerable children.

“Staff are being told they are being made redundant before a consultation has taken place.

“There is also the issue of disrupting the children’s education. Five pupils are supposed to be staying on to sit their GCSEs. It is extremely worrying.”

A Brent Council spokesman confirmed it would be consulting around the future of the referral unit but no decision had been made.