Sunday 20 October 2019

Brent Cabinet closes Strathcona School and six Children's Centres

I have been away for a week in Edinbugh and catching up on Monday's Cabinet meeting which I missed. As I feared the Cabinet rejected the Scrutiny Committee's recomendations and rubber-stamped the closure decision - certainly no attempt to move heaven and earth to stop the closure of a great local school.

The Harrow Times reports Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, as repeating his confusion of local government funding cuts with the Direct Schools Grant. It states: 'He criticised cuts from central Government - suggesting that these have forced the council's hand..' Any savings on the DSG expenditure in Brent will be redistibuted to schools (a very small amount per school) and can't be used to fund other council services threatened with cuts.


Jenny Cooper, joint secretary of Brent NEU said:
It was a sad day for democracy. The council cabinet ignored speakers and our members from Roe Green Strathcona and voted to go ahead and close the school anyway. The school gave rousing, dignified, eloquent and well researched speeches, presenting their arguments and suggestions. It was clear they were the experts in the room. They voiced their utter disgust for the lack of democracy and engagement from the council. The head looked at the councillors and, in a raised voice, sarcastically said "Forward together", underlining the irony of the council's strapline. Community supporters left after the vote to shouts of "nonsense!" and "shame on you, Brent!". Our members and the school have been treated with absolute disdain. Now the fight begins to protect jobs.
At the same meeting the Cabinet approved what amounts to the closure of nearly  half its Children's Centres disguised as the creation of Family Hubs:

Although Mount Stewart, Treetops, Wembley Primary, Welcome/Barham Park, Wykeham and Harmony sites may be used by neighbouring schools or privation/voluntary  provision the unique and essential services offered by Children's Centres will be lost.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

According to the Kilburn Times report '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".'

There may have been "much debate", but Mo and his Cabinet were obviously not listening to the sensible and clearly set out views of the Council's own Scrutiny Committee, the education professionals or the local community.

Theyve lost the plot as far as good democratic local government is concerned. Time to go, Mo?