Monday, 2 July 2012

Planning permission - revisited!

We now have planning permission for the temporary school & plans are in place to ensure the school is ready in plenty of time for September! Below is the presentation I gave to the committee in support of our case:

Good evening, Chair, members of the committee and thank you for this opportunity to talk about Sandymoor School.

20 years ago, when I started teaching, in inner-city comprehensive schools, I developed a passion for young people that has never left me and when the opportunity to be part of a project to develop a brand new school here came up, I knew I had to be part of it.

The vision for Sandymoor is to add to the provision in Halton, working in partnership with the other schools and local community to ensure that every child in the area has the best possible opportunities. And that is what Sandymoor school is about. A local school for local children, in the Sandymoor & Windmill Hill areas. There are too many young people who are educated out of area, with the lack of community cohesion that brings, and the Sandymoor area of Halton is in need of a heart, something to stop the young families moving away.

With over 3,000 new homes planned as part of the core strategy in East Runcorn, and 10,000 new jobs planned in the Daresbury Science and Innovation Centre, Sandymoor School is ideally placed to help maintain and build on the excellent reputation of Halton as a Beacon Council! With the Shadow Education Minister promising to support successful free schools and Lord Adonis supporting them as a Labour initiative originally, there is national support from all elements of government.

In terms of safety & security of the pupils, as Principal, I take that aspect most seriously:- it is a legal truth that the parents of Sandymoor School's pupils place them into my care, in loco parentis, and I have promised them that I will do my utmost to ensure their safety. Both the temporary site and the main build have been planned with security in mind and that extends to the issues of transport. Either myself or my colleagues will be outside the school in the morning and after school to ensure the students are safe around the roads, to assist in students crossing the road and asking cars to move on.

It is worth stressing that this is all around otterburn lane, not the Wharford lane extension, that I understand is in planning from HCA, and has nothing to do to do with the school's application.

In the community centre next door to the temporary site, there is a nursery and pre-school. Every day, over 40 children are delivered there and collected later in the day, almost entirely by car, using the same roads that our pupils and parents will use. The drop-off & collection times are completely different so there will never be children being dropped off or collected at both venues concurrently. In the first year, we will have no more than 45 students, and a number of those will walk or cycle to school, so the traffic impact will, in fact, be less than for the pre-school.

Sandymoor School will do nothing but add to the whole area, from jobs - there are already 9 of us (myself included) who have livelihoods that depend on Sandymoor, and that will only grow - I have requests weekly from all sorts of people looking to work in the school, from secretarial staff, through caretakers and through to teachers wanting to be part of the school's vision. We had over 100 teachers apply to join the school.

And we are committed to being a community school; from the beginning, we will be providing evening classes to the local community, from Spanish Conversation and Digital Photography skills through to basic literacy & numeracy lessons to those who need it.

Once again, thank you.

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