Saturday, 26 April 2014

To Learn About Contruction

For many Mummies and Daddies, last week contained a certain amount on anxiety. We were of course all awaiting the very important news about where out little ones would be spending the next several very important years of their lives being educated.

We had submitted our list before Christmas with a local outstanding Catholic school at the top and a variety of other schools trailing below in descending order of satisfaction for one reason or another. It didn't turn out too badly; we ended up with Dorchester Primary which was actually our second choice and not one I am unhappy with.

Dorchester Primary School however is looking a little different to how it looked six months ago. There has been a mad rush over the last couple of years to expand schools all over the borough as the council has suddenly noticed we haven't got enough school places for the number of children in the borough and is now racing against time to smooth over the problem. (Unsuccessfully it would seem according to this Sutton Guardian report.)

Dorchester is one of those selected for expansion and this September will be welcoming 90 new young children (including WP Junior) instead of 60, to what is now mostly a construction site and a bunch of portacabins.

That's not to say work isn't progressing quickly. Ten large precontructed sections arrived on Wednesday, having snaked their way up Clarkes Avenue behind a man walking ahead of the ultra wide loads. (Local residents apparently received prior warning of the event). Ten more arrived yesterday (Friday) with a further ten scheduled for Monday. This (plus two more I believe) will make up the ground floor of the new building. Another 30 sections are due to go on top as a second floor and it should all be put together within a few weeks apparently. (That's just the basic floor, wall and ceiling etc. All the wiring, piping etc. comes next.) They seem to be so desperate to meet the deadline that they have even been working Sundays, much to the consternation of local residents in Dorchester Road and nearby.

February this year
Hopefully come September there will be some semblance of a main school building for WP Junior to start his school life in. That's not to say I'm against portacabins - the current students seem to be coping with them and I spent a short spell of my school life in them (a couple of years ago now...). The buildings being replaced were only supposed to be temporary anyway, but were left as they were for decades - so work has certainly needed to be done.

Of course another concern is the loss of Louise Austin to cancer earlier this year. She was a very great asset to the school and will be missed and undoubtedly some things will change now that she is no longer around. We had assumed she would still be in charge when WP Junior started and I am sorry that his time there will not have overlapped with hers. I haven't yet met Deborah Damestani, the new acting head teacher. No doubt I will soon. Most importantly I hope that she and whoever becomes permanent headteacher continue to steer the school in the direction of outstanding. Perhaps (and hopefully) some nice new school buildings might help in this regard.

Promoted by Ranulph Murray, on behalf of Sutton Borough Conservatives Federation, both of 2a Sutton Court Road, Sutton, SM1 4SY

5 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

The Dutchman said...

You obviously failed to play the outrageous "I'm well religious me" game well enough. The sooner religion is banned as a selection criteria in state funded education the better. Parents that want their kid to exclusively mix with CoE/Catholic/Muslim kids, fine, you pay for it.

Jalyn said...

Dear Dutchman,
Just so you're aware, CofE schools are not filled exclusively with CofE children. At our children's CofE Worcester Park primary school there are plenty of catholics, muslims and atheists who just want their kids to go to a good school. Of course there are places reserved for CofE children but this is limited to a certain number, then it goes on distance to school regardless of what religion (or not) someone is.

Guest D said...

I don't think that is the Dutchman's point, he is saying (I think) that it as an anachronism that religion has a say in the entrance to state funded schools.

Originally, in this country all schools were either for the families of the clergy, those that worked in the church or who were members of guilds sponsoring the school.

From around the 14th Century Public Schools came into existence, which by definition were open to everyone (who could pay, get a bursary or the school was Charitable). Though these usually had a strong Christian ethos, they didn't require Church membership.

I wouldn't go the way of the French who will not let religion have any part in State Funded education, but I do question whether the state should sponsor Religious Schools, particularly with rumours about Moslem Free Schools.

The Dutchman said...

Thus leading to the entirely logical situation where a child that lives 0.5 miles from a primary school fails to get a place because a child from 3 miles away that happens to share the "correct" religious affiliation get preferential treatment.

Plus you have the situation where primary schools are removing the limit on "
religious children in order to further discriminate against non-believers, or those from other religions. I thought most religions taught concepts such as "love thy neighbour" but it seems that entirely depends on who your neighbours are.

Jalyn said...

At our small CofE school all children live within the "catchment" area no matter what religious background they come from - no one comes from 3 miles away as the catchment doesn't expand that distance. We have found that siblings are a bigger barrier to entry than the church quota. Your understanding of the situation applies more to the local catholic schools who only take catholic children, and from much greater distances.

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