Camden’s Cabinet accepted the report on the disposal of Wren Street for our University Training School (UTS) last Wednesday 24th July. This decision builds on a previous one in 2009 where the Wren Street site would be redeveloped for a school or for commercial use.
Campaigner Polly Shields presented a deputation to Cabinet before the decision was made:
Over the last eight years, parents from the area of Camden south of the Euston Road have appeared regularly in this chamber to make the case for a secondary school to serve our area. It is fantastic, and almost unbelievable, to be here now to witness the first real steps being made towards our school actually being built.
Since the news broke in the Camden New Journal, people have been contacting the campaign by email, and coming up to us in the street to tell us how pleased and excited they are, to congratulate the campaign, to tell us they want to join in and for their children to attend the new school. This is a school that has widespread community support from local residents, parents of children of all ages, primary schools, councillors, community organisations, and our MP. Building a fantastic new school on the Wren Street site is an immensely popular move.
But it’s not just popular – it is necessary. The pupil population statistics have long supported the need for a new secondary school. There already are, and will continue to be, over a thousand kids aged between 11 and 15 living in this area – over 80% of whom currently go to secondaries outside Camden. Having a school in our area will at last allow the diverse children of this community to be educated together in their borough of residence.
So this is an historic opportunity for a long-standing need to be met. But it is also so much more than that. By partnering the Institute of Education, and building a University Training School, we will be creating a trailblazer, a new way of training teachers which builds innovation into its educational offer from the ground up. Our vision is for a flagship school with a creative, relevant and rigorous curriculum which can meet the needs of all its pupils.
We recognise that there are major challenges ahead, particularly in terms of funding, and how to design and build on a restricted site. But we are determined to aim high, not to settle for second best, and to make every square centimetre count. We are confident that the combined creativity of all those keen to make the school happen will result in a really high-quality offer for local families, which is nothing less than they deserve.