Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/568/6991
The Socialist 24 February 2009 |
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Greenwich: "Hands off my school"
ABOUT 100 angry parents, school students and education workers crammed into the main hall of Charlotte Turner primary school in Deptford to demand that Greenwich council drop its plans to close the school. The meeting, organised by the council, was part of their sham consultation exercise.
The council's opening presentation, and their remarks throughout the meeting, made it clear that they are offering no alternative to closing the school. When local parents and Onay Kasab, Greenwich Unison branch secretary and Socialist Party member, questioned them about where the plan is to keep the school open, the council's silence was deafening.
One of the parents reported that Greenwich council's deputy leader had told them that the council had already made their decision and that it was a 'done deal' that Charlotte Turner school would close.
When one of the council's officers, trying to justify the plans to close the school, spoke of the numbers of spare places available in both Greenwich and Lewisham, one of the parents immediately undermined his argument. She said that she had spoken to a school about taking her child if Charlotte Turner was to close. This was one of the schools that supposedly had 'spare capacity'. The school had refused her request.
The parents tore shreds out of the council officials there, for how the council is treating their children. Some comments summed up the parents' mood: "You are playing god with our children", "You are messing up 238 children's lives". A retired governor echoed the sentiments of many there when she described the school as being at the heart of the community. Learning support assistants also spoke in the meeting, arguing to keep the school open.
At the end of the meeting and to loud applause one school student got up and said: "The teachers are my second family. Get your hands off my school".
Thanks to parent and campaign organiser Kim Bozek's article in The Socialist, 19 copies of the paper were snatched up, with Kim directly selling seven of them. Campaigners are determined to fight the council's plans and will be having a public meeting at Woolwich Town Hall on 26 February to discuss the next steps.