Wednesday, 28 March 2012

It's Still All About The Students

If it’s possible, things are just getting more and more hectic, hence the early post as there’s so much to talk about. Everything is becoming concrete at a rapid rate, and all things that parents and our students care about.

We have now firmed up our term dates, both for next year and the year after. They are designed to follow Halton’s term dates, but with a slight change; as we are having a longer school day (so that the students can get the most from the time they have), we have decided to cut the long Autumn Term with a two week half term. This will enable everyone to recharge their batteries so that we make the most of the run through to the Christmas break. You can see and download our term dates from our website.

We have also confirmed the school uniform. This has been based around the premise that it must be cost efficient to parents’ household budgets. We believe a school uniform is a good thing, for lots of reasons (mainly the mental attitude to study that is created when people are dressed appropriately), but are also aware of the pressures on family accounts. So, every item on the school uniform list is available from local superstores, apart from the school badge (which needs to be sewn onto the blazer) and the school tie. Again, the list of items is on the school website and we will be putting photos of students in the uniform on the site shortly.

Thirdly, we have started the recruitment of all the rest of the staff we will require for September. This is a really exciting step, as it will really make everything firmed up. In the last few weeks, I have been receiving emails on a daily basis from people wanting to work at Sandymoor in September, and we are now in a position to start recruiting. All these details are also on our website, along with the timeframes we will be working to for the process. I am so excited about the prospect of selecting nothing but the best teachers and support staff to help me provide the outstanding education we are offering.

And if that wasn’t enough, now that the site(s) have been agreed, we will be applying for planning permission for the school literally in the next few days. This is where politics may well get in the way of what is best for the students and I pray and hope that the elected councillors see that they cannot stop the planning permission being granted, but can only make futile gestures. A joint Policy Statement from the Secretary of State for Communities and the Secretary of State for Education issued earlier this month clearly sets out the requirements for local councils:

“It is the Government’s view that the creation and development of state-funded schools is strongly in the national interest and that planning decision-makers can and should support that objective, in a manner consistent with their statutory obligations.”
“A refusal of any application for a state-funded school, or the imposition of conditions, will have to be clearly justified by the local planning authority. Given the strong policy support for improving state education, the Secretary of State will be minded to consider such a refusal or imposition of conditions to be unreasonable conduct, unless it is supported by clear and cogent evidence.”

I sincerely hope that the animosity felt by the local elected members can be put aside and that they will work with us to provide this unique school for Sandymoor. In fact, if any members read this, I ask that they get in touch with me directly, so I can engage in dialogue with them about this.

Sandymoor School will open and I hope with their support, rather than their opposition.

It’s not about politics, it really is about the students.

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