Carden Primary School protest: Parents call council plans to reduce classroom sizes 'discriminatory and unfair’

Brighton and Hove City Council is consulting the public about proposals to reduce school admission numbers at seven primary schools in the city

Monday, 29th November 2021, 5:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 9:53 am

Parents and teachers of a Brighton primary school have labelled the city council’s proposals to cut reception classroom sizes as ‘discriminatory and unfair’.

The council’s plans for Carden Primary School in Hollingbury were met with strong opposition at a school meeting on Thursday, November 25, with many in attendance saying the plans would ‘tear the heart out of the local community’.

Brighton and Hove City Council is consulting the public about proposals to reduce school admission numbers at seven primary schools in the city.

The council’s plans for Carden Primary School in Hollingbury were met with strong opposition at a school meeting on Thursday, November 25, with many in attendance saying the plans would ‘tear the heart out of the local community’.

The council said the plans were an option for addressing the problems in future years caused by the national falling birth rate.

Parents and teachers argued the cuts would be devastating to the school and would disproportionally hit poorer families, pupils with special educational needs and the area’s diverse community.

Abby Kinslow, the Parents Teachers Association spokeswoman, said: “This is a diverse area and that is reflected in the school’s intake. The pupils are 44% BAME and there are students from the Muslim community, the traveller community and social housing.

“We will keep fighting for a two-form entry school where children, staff and parents thrive, because one-form entry will be the start of a painful demise.

Parents also argued the proposals were at odds with council values supporting diversity and cutting carbon emissions.

"Our good teachers will leave, our integration will fail, our community will be fractured and our budget won’t balance."

Parents also argued the proposals were at odds with council values supporting diversity and cutting carbon emissions.

"Discriminatory and unfair"

Carden Primary School was awarded Good status by Ofsted in late September this year.

In its report, Ofsted praised the school’s diversity and a commitment to inclusivity that makes pupils ‘feel well-cared for and secure’.

Parent Reyna Kothari said she chose Carden because it is one of the few schools in Brighton that is not predominantly ethnically white

Another parent Kate Milner-Gulland said: “As a group you can tell we’ve found lots of holes in the local authority’s argument so we can only conclude this is a discriminatory decision. This community has been targeted and they do not believe the argument is fair.”

Petitions and Protests

The meeting follows a protest march on the same day, which saw dozens of people marching from the school in County Oak Avenue to Carden Park.

There is also a petition challenging the proposals, which has gained more than 1,500 signatures.

Councillor Sarah Nield, of the council’s Children, Young People and Skills Committee, said: “This consultation is a chance for governors, headteachers, families and residents to give their views on our proposals – and to suggest alternative options for addressing the problems in future years caused by the falling birth rate.

"Councils have no control over the birth rate, or which schools parents prefer for their children. This makes planning for future school places a complex task.

“We will continue to work with all our schools to help them address the pressures caused by falling pupil numbers.”

A decision about school admission numbers is due to be taken at a meeting of the councils' Children, Young People and Skills Committee on January 10.

READ MORE: