Monday, 5 December 2011

A Common Concern?

As the debate continues over possible expansion of Cheam Common Infants School in response to growing pressure on school places in Worcester Park, a concerned parent has contacted the blog to voice his concerns over the impact that this might have on the school and the surrounding area.

He writes: "It seems that the school is now looking to go ahead with the plans to expand having given everyone "comfort" in knowing that the many side streets can be used for parents dropping off and picking up their little ones (this for some reason being the only concern the school has over the expansion).

No consideration has been given to the residents of these streets, nor to the parents (of which I am one) and the children of Cheam Common Infants.

The school is already at maximum capacity and quite frankly the teaching standards have slipped in the three years I have been involved with the school.

Plans that are being thrown around to cater for this expansion include building on the only small green space the kids now have, rotating break periods and no doubt increasing class sizes.

I am embarrassed to say that the education system in this country has hit an all time low by allowing this to happen in favour of school funds rather than putting the well fare of the children first.

I'd urge all parents and carers and local person to voice your concerns and disagreement of this shift in priorities."

Applications for a place at the Infants’ School have increased considerably in recent years. In 2008 there were only 2 children on the admissions waiting list, in 2010 there was none but this year saw 51 pupils, most of whom lived within a mile of the school, on the waiting list. 

Class sizes in surrounding schools have been increased to try and mitigate this situation, however demand for school places in Worcester Park is predicted to continue to increase, especially with the completion of a further 88 properties on The Hampton’s development.

Sutton Council's education committee is considering four possible options in response to the demand for school places in Worcester Park:
  1. Delay or discontinue the further expansion of capacity in the Worcester Park area;
  2. Expand Cheam Common Infants’ school by one form of entry from September 2012;
  3. Expand Dorchester Primary School by a further form of entry from September 2012’
  4. Provide a 'bulge' reception class at Dorchester Primary School from September 2012.
It is understood that the second option, addition of another form at Cheam Common Infants, is the most favoured option of the four being considered.

The plan to add a further class to the school from September 2012 has already met considerable local controversy, with a petition presented by concerned locals worried about the impact of further expansion on the local community and roads. 

In response to these concerns, Sutton Council has promised to take action through the 'Schools Transport Plan' to engage more directly with parents to encourage considerate parking/discourage aggressive behaviour, advertise a “park and stride” campaign and encourage parking to be further from the schools (agreements were currently being negotiated with local supermarkets to use their car parks as assembly points) and encourage greater levels of cycling and walking to school. 

Cheam Common Infants' School received an overall rating of  'Good' in the OFSTED inspection undertaken last year. /

22 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Anonymous said...

Good job far sighted councillors didn't sell off the area near the North End for short term profit a few years back eh?

Anonymous said...

the mess will be horrendous, the "pretty drawings showing small clusters of children playing in open spaces" would be more appropriately shown as children shoved into sardine tins - build a new school on the Hamptons site - who seem to be providing all these extra children to accomodate - what about the recent "improvements" made to CCI, surely these will be threatened by any expansion - what a waste of money - it always comes down to quick fix now think about it later regardless of cost - would you like your child to go to school on a building site? Also I see that actual amount of "investment" has gone down - not heard of inflation?

young buck said...

answer? Send your kids to Drochester. i did, and in my experience as a parent (with friends whose children go to Cheam Common) and a teacher (not in the borough) I know I made the right choice. Lots of lovely play space, fields for football and an excellent teaching staff. The parents association is also second to none! Vote with your feet.

Anonymous said...

This is going to be a disaster on every level. As a parent with two children at the Infants and juniors. There is just no more space. Staggered play times, staggered lunch times..why dont they open a school at the Hamptons? The traffic by the school is horrendous already. Only one lollipop man at the crossing near sainsburys. Its not safe to let children cross this road at all. What will it be like with another 100 children? what about the noise and disruption to the children at school. Its not going to be silent with all the building work going on. thought to our children already there!

Anonymous said...

I have been concerned about this since the first time they suggested it - the school is busy enough now and traffic will be worst alot of parents do walk but it is still a busy area.
The infants currently dont have a headmistress and the one that left was very keen for expansion. They say it brings more money into the school but it also means more money needs to be spent. They need a new school or expand Green Lane because of people from that area come up to the top of worcester park to go to Cheam Common. I feel it will effect my sons education with all the building work and it will be too big not good for the community.

M said...

I wouldn't mind if the parents of Cheam Common School used the local side streets for picking up their children. What really annoys me is when they use my drive way!

Anonymous said...

I presume everyone opposed to the expansion has or had a child in a school in the local area ? Spare a thought for the children who will potenitally be sent out of the local area to attend primary school. Its bad enough that it happens to our children once they reach high school age. Good schools should be shared. More yellow lines round the school. Current parents walking not driving their children to school would also help. We cant blame those on the waiting list for the current problems with cars around the school. Parents of children already in the school should STOP driving right up to the school if they are that concerend about traffic in the area.

Sue said...

Green Lane has grown in strength, but to increase the size? No way- it has a fantastic close knit two form entry. To increase it would be a disaster.

Anonymous said...

I hear Dorchester has lots of places! - please go and fill them!

Anonymous said...

Its all well and good increasing the number of places at Sutton primary schools (Dorchester has gone to 3 form from this year) but there is no plans increase the provision for secondary school places. We live 700m from Cheam High and did not get a place, in fact no secondary school in Sutton offered our child a place. We were offered a very poor performing school in Mitcham, thankfully we eventually got a place at a school in the Epsom & Ewell borough. I fear this situation is only going to get worse and many families will face the prospect of sending their children to schools in other boroughs thus travelling longer distances which is not ideal.

My driveway is your driveway... apparently! said...

I suspect the only way for local residents to have their voices heard is to take a leaf out of the books of the 'school run mafia' and behave as they do…

1. Firmly affix a ‘child on board’ sign to the rear windows of our cars (which means we can drive how we like, park where we like and hit who we like).

2. Drive the short walking distance to Cheam Common Infants and park across or in a driveway, or better still, park up on the pavement, forcing anyone with a pushchair or pram to use the road.

3. Be sure to leave our engines running, revving occasionally to maximise emissions, as parents and children are seen to approach the rear of the car, whilst studying council issued publications on environmental care and energy reduction.

4. Commence a shouting match with another parked driver, with each of you claiming to have the right of way, since the road, the school and society as a whole were all created solely to fulfil your personal wants and needs.

5. As the argument develops, ensure that passing children are treated to a broad, comprehensive range of obscenities, if possible shouting them loud enough to effect perforated eardrums in the vicinity.

6. Be sure to heard claiming that it’s obvious from the name that Hampton Road isn’t a residential street, but it’s a drive-thro car park facility, for the exclusive use of Hamptons residents undertaking the school run.

7. Once your inventory of four letter words is exhausted, drive away whilst dialling on a mobile phone, making absolutely certain that as you accelerate, the phone has your full attention.

8. Next time a health professional raises concerns relating to child obesity, tell them they know nothing! Inform them that your child exercises every day, walking all the way from the front door to the car door, whilst carrying their own weight in confectionary.

If we manage to manufacture total gridlock of our own, the school run brigade may finally work out that a 10-minute walk is shorter than 30 minutes spent idly and selfishly blocking our streets and driveways.

Nichu said...

I used to walk to and from school (this wasn't that long ago but when kids were still thin). It was the best part of the day, when you got to chat and play with your friends. I would have hated it to have some parent there asking "what did you do today at school?" It was nice to have a bit of time amongst yourselves without parental interference.

I see a lot of families walking to school each morning, who look a lot less stressed than the child on board brigade, cutting corners and opening doors without any regard for anyone else.

Is the "school run" a new invention anyway, since the advent of choice of school. I think they should ensure that all schools are of a reasonable standard so that everyone just goes to the nearest one, stuff the market. I never learned that much at school anyway, learned a lot more from reading books and watching Neighbours.

Anonymous said...

well i thought they should never had sold off half the playground years ago.why oh why did they take the playgrounds from the kids of stinks

It's hell living near this school said...

Yesterday we were treated to a particularly memorable display of utterly mindless stupidity by one of Cheam Common Infant’s many street blocking school runners:

As a resident attempted to turn into their own driveway, one of the ‘Child on Board’ gang accelerated her 4x4 towards the resident’s vehicle and then stopped it between the resident’s vehicle and the resident’s own driveway, thus blocking the resident from completing the manoeuvre and driving off the road (And yes, you’ll easily realise, stopping the resident from actually getting out of the 4x4 driver’s way).

Unable to drive forwards because of the 4x4 school runner, the resident was also blocked from going backwards by the waiting cars arriving behind. Any child attending Cheam Common would have enough of a brain to work out that the 4x4 driver was going nowhere until they gave way…

…but we’re talking about a Cheam Common Infants school runner here! So mirroring the usual antics, she then attempted to assert herself by using full beam headlights and hooting for the resident to reverse their car back down the road – a road now occupied with stationary vehicles!

Eventually, we saw waiting drivers getting out their cars and attempting to explain to the school runner that her mindless stupidity was not progressing anywhere, and we could see drivers gesturing to her that (by the way), there was ample space right next to her, large enough for everyone to get past.

Eventually, after some explanation, it seemed she finally realised that she was not just holding up everybody else – but also herself! The resident finally regained access to their driveway.

If change is coming to this school, perhaps the Council’s priority should be to focus on teaching local parents the benefits of daily exercise and driving skills? I hate to think that the kids currently attending Cheam Common are going to turn out anything like the self-absorbed citizens that their parents are.

Anonymous said...

sutton council are utter knobs & I think they actually know it but wont admit hit - the expansion wont work! - ADMIT IT - go do something else!

Anonymous said...

Having moved to Worcest park, over seven years ago, as a resident of the still expanding Hamptons new Development, my family and I were utterly shocked at the lack of planning to the general infastruction. Going out canvacing with the MP, Paul Burstow, I was shocked to discover that families with young children were failing to get themselves onto GP's waiting lists.

As always local councils and Governments are very egar to give planning permission to big Builders with little regard to the infastructure. Hundreds of new homes built on sites like the Hamptons, never before occupied, obviously means thousands of more people moving into the area, placing hugh pressure onto the existing services. It would be interesting if the local council were to give us a general break down of where the increase to the demographic are coming from in their now egar drive to expand the existing Worcester park schools.

In terms of the specific expansion of Cheam Common schools, one of the undeniable biggist drawbacks is the lack of genuine physical space, as opposed to some other nearby Sutton schools such as Green Lane , Dorcester or even Nonsuch Primary - the later being a one reception school with plently of greenery to expand on.

The ironic thing is that once having had ample space, Cheam Common Infants, sold it off to builders who build new homes on the land.

I am sure that most parents at Cheam Common schools, like myself, would be more than happy to go along with the expansion if the council were to purchase adjacent land on which to accommadate the extra numbers.

Anonymous said...

Its a little too late to start moaning about the school situation in worcester park, we should of all been moaning about the plan to build far to many houses on the old sewage site, i mean come on so so so many houses but no new roads schools or any thing to support the massive influx of people, its the councils fault, again as it often is.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Sutton Council they refused permission, the builders had to go to appeal.

little smiff said...

Fortunately my offspring is now out of the education system so this discussion is of no real importance to me or is it? Judging by the standard of spelling and punctuation in the two anonymous postings from last Friday perhaps I should be seriously concerned about the education system. If anonymous living in the Hamptons had managed to work out that there was no infrastructure to support the development why did they move there? Their geography isn't too hot either as Green Lane school is run by Kingston and not Sutton council. What worries me is that if the education of the parents has failed what chance do their offspring have? How can these parents effectively help their children with homework? Uproar on the BBC news channel yesterday morning when it was suggested that children should learn multiplication tables by rote. Why not? Let's get back to basics. What happened to the "education, education, education" policy of the Blair government? At some point in the future this generation of poorly educated children are going to be in charge of, at least, our local services if not the country. Too much reliance on technology, too little instruction of basic learning. Thankfully I won't be around to see it but I feel sorry for those that will.

annon said...

Both our kids went to Dorchester and we found them less than helpful. My son was bullued but they didnt do anything and some of you may remember the report in the local guardian a few years ago, some of this was true as it was my daughters year that they told two kids to stay at home due to ofsted. Both kids went on to specialist schools for behaviour that they didnt understand. I dont find the head teacher helpful and i dont like theidea of having teachers kids in the same school as we have seen favourtism. Both ours luckily got into cheam high and are doing reall well. I wouldnt send mine to Dorchester again if i could turn back the clock!

Anonymous said...

I had always assumed that any expansion would have been for the benefit of the children? - Sutton Council have obviously thought of this - lessons blended with the stunning tones of heavy machinery, atmospheric dust coating their lungs & less room to run around in & be healthy - their oh so wonderful forward planning using such wonderful data that they obviously have to hand (we all had to fill in those bloody horrendous surveys of who lives in our house etc). & they are always asking us inappropriate questions that have nothing to do with them but they still didn't quite appreciate that actually there are more children around in this area - DER!!! - Perhaps we should all apply to work for London Borough of Sutton because obviously absolutely no qualifications are required for "forward planning schemes for education" - probably most of the infant schools in worcester park are fine as they are & don't need to be crammed with more children - shall we invest in triple decker buses next? - I think that currently Sutton Council should be tried under humanitarian cruelty & health & safety issues. - Yours VERY angry

Anonymous said...

Are Sutton Council actually breaking any laws with this expansion in children per square footage? - like are you allowed to squash four children into say 1 meter square all day?

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