Islington governor accuses council of stabbing school in the back

A SCHOOL governor has broken ranks to accuse Islington Council bosses of stabbing her school “in the back”.

Liz Smithson, chairwoman of governors at Moreland Primary School in Goswell Road, Finsbury, has written an explosive letter criticising council plans to shut down the run-down school.

Ms Smithson, who claimed the council had promised Moreland a new building, wrote: “We have been patiently waiting for the first hole to be dug for our new school – this was promised.

“Never could I have envisaged the new Labour council stabbing us in the back. Most of our community are Labour voters and feel very let down.”

The council wants to demolish Moreland Primary School and transfer pupils to the nearby St Luke’s Church of England Primary School. It says Moreland is in a run-down 1960s building, is only rated satisfactory by Ofsted inspectors, and regularly attracts only half the pupils it has space for – while St Luke’s is rated outstanding and is three times oversubscribed. A new and enlarged St Luke’s would be built on Moreland’s site, while the current St Luke’s site in Radnor Street, Finsbury, would be sold off for housing to pay for the scheme.

Many Muslim parents are concerned about how their children would fit in at a Church of England School. And a joint letter from acting headteacher Gordon Canning, school business manager Caroline Bradbury and Ms Smithson accused the council of “abandoning” the community.

Islington Council is still consulting on the plans which, if approved, would see the new St Luke’s open in 2013.

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Councillor Richard Watts, the council’s executive member for schools, promised to meet Ms Smithson. He said: “The promise to give Moreland a new school came from the previous Liberal Democrat administration. They promised it but there was no money to do it. We we are now trying to do is to ensure that Moreland kids get a outstanding school in a building they deserve.”