Councillors have dismissed a plea to “pause” plans to close a primary school through a merger.

Opposition councillors had asked Islington Council to reconsider plans to shut Montem Primary School and allow pupils to transfer to nearby Duncombe Primary School.

It came just weeks after the council’s executive agreed to amalgamate the two schools on August 31.

Leader of the opposition and Highbury Green party councillor Benali Hamdache said his group was “pretty concerned" about the process that had been taken.

He explained that the impact of the plans on Drayton Park School, which shares a governing board with Montem through the Edventure Collaborative Federation, had not been “fully considered”.

Cllr Hamdache added that individual schools were being shut down in a “salami slicing approach”.

Schools in and around Hornsey have the highest vacancy rate in the borough, and the council initially earmarked the school in the area most acutely impacted by falling rolls for closure – Pooles Park.

But the Department for Education approved an academy trust to take over that school before it could be closed – forcing the council to look elsewhere to combat falling pupil rolls.

For every unused pupil place in Islington, the council says, the school will miss out on an average of £5,500 a year.

Council leader Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz last week said the opposition's plea to revisit the decision was “disappointing” as the council had worked “tirelessly” to exhaust all options in tackling falling pupil numbers.

Cllr Hamdache, who called for the review with independent councillors Asima Shaikh (Finsbury Park) and Matt Nathan (Clerkenwell), urged the council to pause the next stage of the process to allow a “better, holistic approach to the crisis in student numbers.”

But Islington’s children’s services scrutiny committee dismissed these calls at a meeting on Monday (February 26), voting that it “does not object” to the executive’s decision to press ahead with the merger plans.

Cllr Comer Schwartz said the Labour-run council is “committed to giving our young people the best possible start in life, and that includes a first-class education".

She added: “Our council has looked at the situation across the borough, analysing all possible solutions and impacts on children, in particular those with SEND, and we believe the amalgamation of Duncombe and Montem is the best way forward to bring the best of both these good schools together.”

A formal consultation on the plans is due to end on March 18.