Parents oppose school expansion

Story: Brent Moya

An Area Panel / education department meeting on 18th September provoked lively debate over the planned expansion of Saint Catherine’s Roman Catholic Primary. 45 parents met panel Chair Cllr Jackie Drayton and Cllr Ibrar Hussain. They were joined by Education Deputy Director, Paul Makin and John Wade from the Roman Catholic Diocese, to defend the proposals.

In reply to opposition to the proposal from parents, Paul Makin said:

“There is pressure on schools in Burngreave with many children going to school outside the area. In order to deal with the continued demand, the Cabinet thought it necessary to expand local schools.”

On the subject of increased traffic, Makin seemed unfazed:

“While we understand concerns regarding increased traffic and disruption from building works, we assure you that we are experienced in this role,and increased traffic will be dealt with.”

Defending the proposal for the catholic diocese, John Wade said:

“We think it will consolidate and benefit the local community. This is an outstanding Catholic School and we want to serve the future of Catholics in this community.”

Jackie Drayton emphasized creating space for local children, “This is a move to ensure that children in this area can continue to come to this school.”

Many parents raised concerns that traffic outside St Catherine’s was already causing problems:

“We have an increased number of children getting run over and buses struggling to get up and down the road,” argued one parent.

“You would be taking away playing space when there isn’t enough of it anyway and there are massive problems with obesity in this country,” added another parent.

On the playground size, school head Mrs Fiona Rigby said:

“We didn’t have a quality play space for Key Stage 1 (infants) but we do now. There are high levels of physical activity within this school and, if this development went ahead, then I wouldn’t have any concern for the amount of space.”

Another parent claimed that with the school size set to double, the main hall would not be big enough to house the whole school at assembly time.

“We are gradually moving away from the ethos that this school has been built on.”

Councillor Harry Harpham (Cabinet member for education) said he would report back concerns to Cabinet and claims were made that, if parents were not happy with the proposals, then they would not go ahead. Cabinet meets on 26th September and will have to consider the recommendations to approve the proposals as well as the petition from 165 people against them.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Derrick Okrah on 2007-09-28 22:58:16.
The content of the page was last modified by Lisa Swift on 2007-10-01 13:36:59.

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