CamdenNewJournal

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Primary school looks to build classroom on canal in Primrose Hill

Children raise money for new installation with sponsored bounce

03 April, 2017 — By Tom Foot

Headteacher Robin Warren joins Primrose Hill Primary School pupils for this week’s sponsored bounce

A PRIMARY school is expanding with a new classroom – on the Regent’s Canal. Parents, teachers and children at Primrose Hill are fundraising for a new “floating classroom” on the canal near the bridge in Gloucester Avenue.

In a London first, special science classes would be taken in a canal boat that could also be used for field trips and could be rented out over the weekends.

The Canal and River Trust said it had taken the “very rare” decision to grant a permanent canal towpath mooring because the school’s plan was a “special case”.

Headteacher Robin Warren said: “There will definitely be a focus on science and it will bring the canal to life for the children. There are quite a lot of children here who hadn’t been on the canal, even though it’s right next to the school.”

Mr Warren, who has a ship’s anchor tattoo on his arm and is the son of a fisherman, added: “We had a lot of persuading to do but we have got permission now. It’s the first non-residential towpath mooring to be granted on the canal for a very long time.”

The Canal & River Trust initially scotched the application saying there wasn’t enough room for canal boats there. But following a letters campaign from parents and children at Primrose Hill, the Trust are now backing the scheme.

Mr Warren said the school want to raise around £70,000 to buy a barge that could be kitted out as a classroom, and there will be an annual cost of around £5,000, which will be paid for through private funds.

On Tuesday, schoolchildren were sponsored to spend 10 minutes jumping on a bouncy castle in the playground and there is a balloon launch and fun run planned for later in the year.

Mr Warren, who celebrated his 40th birthday on Tuesday, said: “This morning I was called upstairs to an emergency – but when I got there it was the whole school in the hall. It was a real surprise. They all sang Holiday by Madonna.”

In a statement, the Canal & River Trust said: “We originally had some qualms as we were worried about how a mooring here may affect other boats navigating the Regent’s Canal and the perceived loss of a towpath mooring spot.  However, after spending some time talking with the school, we decided to approve the scheme as it will bring a great deal of value to the local community and schoolchildren.   “It’s very rare that we grant permanent towpath mooring on any section of the canal but we felt this was a special case.”

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