Forced marriage in Somers Town
ONE of the stars of Camden’s primary schools gives an interesting interview to today’s Independent, telling how Edith Neville School resisted what sounds like a spot of stiff bullying from the council. Sean O’Regan, headteacher at the school in Somers Town, calmly reflects on Camden’s attempts to relocate another school onto its already cramped grounds last year.
This was after the Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children was effectively evicted from its Swiss Cottage home to make room for the UCL Academy and told it had to go elsewhere. The council eventually backed off from the Edith Neville groundshare idea, albeit after a big march from children and their parents. In what sounds like a happy conclusion, Frank Barnes is to get a new school on the King’s Cross railwaylands site after a temporary stay in the Jubilee Waterside centre.
But Sean – the pupils down there are encouraged to use his first name – does leave one question unanswered. He tells us that during the heat of the stand-off a councillor told him: “It’s a forced marriage. Make it work.”
Those are sharp words – and pretty insensitive given the demographics of the school’s catchment area – to be pouring into the ear of a headteacher who was simply trying to do the best for his school.
But who is this councillor with the nasty bark? Sean doesn’t say.
Whoever it was, he or she should be fully aware by now what a good job Edith Neville does, and be thinking about supporting it rather than issuing hectoring demands of the we-know-best variety.
Well it wasn’t a Labour councillor, we were fully behind the school when the Tories and Lib Dems tried to ram this through.
They also, disgracefully, accused parents, governors and teachers of being discriminatory towards disabled people. Their behaviour will be remembered, no doubt, in Somers Town.