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No debate' over school closure

PUBLISHED: 17:18 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:13 25 August 2010

COUNCIL bosses have gagged opposition to the closure of a school on special measures, a councillor has warned.

COUNCIL bosses have 'gagged' opposition to the closure of a school on special measures, a councillor has warned.

Spencer Drury, leader of the opposition on Greenwich council, told the Times that proposals to close Charlotte Turner School, in Benbow Lane, Deptford, will never be debated.

Yesterday a motion to discuss the primary school's future, after it failed an Ofsted inspection last year, was blocked because a consultation on its closure is underway.

Mr Drury said: "I'm really shocked by this.

"The councillors will never have their say. They are effectively gagged. I've never had this happen before."

In an Ofsted report last November, the school was rated 'inadequate' in all areas.

Greenwich council said the school failed to live up to expectations despite parents calling its headteacher, Ann Mills, 'superwoman'.

Ofsted said Ms Mills lacked experience but was left with no deputy head and was "trying to do too many things herself" despite getting temporary help from other heads.

Kim Bozek, who has three children at Charlotte Turner, said: "It was unfair that she was left trying to run the school and it was hardly surprising it failed the inspection.

"We think the council are trying to sweep this all under the carpet because they want to save money."

Councillors proposed sending Charlotte Turner pupils to Morden Mount School, a 30 minute walk away in Lewisham Road.

Last June, Morden Mount was graded 'inadequate' for its overall effectiveness, achievement and teaching in an Ofsted inspection.

It was given a notice to improve and took the second lowest score, 'satisfactory', in every other key area.

Mrs Bozek added: "They just want to shove our kids into another failing school."

Greenwich Unison called a public meeting to be held alongside the full meeting of Greenwich council at 7pm today.

Unison branch secretary Onay Kasab said: "If this is a genuine consultation, then there can only be one conclusion - Charlotte Turner must not close."

A council spokesman said councillors were determined to drive up levels of attainment.

He added: "It would be legally inappropriate for the council to engage in a debate during the ongoing period of statutory consultation.

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