I think #MentalHealth support in schools SHOULD be statutory!

Child depression

As someone who has experience of mental health issues, I am constantly concerned by the lack of effort shown by various sections of society when it comes to mental health.

I recently read that figures from Public Health England showed 1 in 10 children aged 5 to 16 has a diagnosable mental health problem!

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It’s been 6 years since #NorwoodSchool fence issue was settled …

Elter Walk

Did you know it’s been 6 years since the Norwood School fence issue was finally settled? Initially, things were running smoothly, but that now seems to have changed?

Since the initial voluntary key holders were no longer able to continue locking and unlocking the gates at the weekends, the school has done nothing to ensure that the gates, as per the agreement and signage that hangs on the fence, are open to members of public, outside of school hours.

I’ve since been contacted by local residents, and in response I stood up and raised the issue at a meeting of Full Council.

I asked Cllr John Holdich, Tory leader of Peterborough City Council, if he could provide me, and residents, with a response as to what they can do to make sure that the school does unlock the gates outside of school hours, to benefit local children, enabling them to play safely, make the land accessible to wheelchair users, and encourage the use of this green open space for a range of leisure activities?

Map of Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Fr8hhVJ3epu

Norwood School

Councillor Holdich responded:

“Initially and for the first few years of the use of the field, the school caretaker was opening the school field at around 4.15 after school clubs finished, and then the 21 members of the community were locking the gates at dusk to prevent access during dark and prevent unwanted use. This was the agreement for community use. There have been several different community key holders over this period.

“Unfortunately the community failed in locking the gates in the evening and so the gates remained open all night. As a matter of safeguarding and preventing night time use the school decided to leave the gates locked. This has appeared to have been no problem whatsoever as far as the school is aware no complaints to the school made in the last two of years and therefore the gates have remained locked.”

Do you agree with Tory Cllr Holdich that the “community failed” on this?

Or

Do you think its strange that land owned by local people and tax payers, is inaccessible despite an agreement to make it so, that wheelchair users specifically are affected, and why a school that employs a caretaker to open up and lock the other gates at the front of the school, can’t afford the time to do the same for the ones on the field?

OMG
Why is it so hard sometimes in Peterborough to find a solution??

Previous Articles:

Guess how much the new Schools at the Paston Reserve are going to cost?

Paston Reserve

Whilst reading through the latest budget proposals from the the City Council, I noticed that money had been allocated for the primary and secondary schools, planned to be built in the area, commonly known, as Manor Drive.

For the Primary School, the Council has allocated just under £7,000,000 between now and 2021, and for the Secondary School, they’ve allocated over £25,000,000.

You might remember that originally, the plan was for just one school on the site, but once the secondary school places shortage kicked in, the Tories at the Town Hall decided to include a secondary school at the location, which also mean nearly 280 affordable homes would no longer be built.

It also meant that the planned opening of the Primary School was delayed by a year.

I’ve now sent of a request for more information on this planned development, relating to aspects like who will be constructing the schools, designing them, naming them and of course pushing for road safety assurances.

As ever, I’d love to read your thoughts and comments on this matter, so please do post below!

Related articles:

 

Just 23% of local schools have a 20 mph speed restriction zone!

IMG_8016-1024x679

Road Safety outside schools is an ever increasing concern for local residents, officers at the Town Hall and of course us councillors!

Over the years, I’ve personally campaigned for additional road markings, crossings, signage and of course for the introduction of 20 mph zones outside of local schools.

So earlier this year, I thought I would ask the Tories at the Town Hall, how many of our local schools actually had such speed zones outside them?

At the meeting, I discovered there are presently 85 schools in Peterborough – 60 Primary, 13 Secondary, 9 Special, 3 Further Education Centres and that 20 mph limits are in place outside JUST 20 schools.

That means 76% do not have them!

I for one will certainly be calling for such a scheme outside the schools that are planned to be built at the Manor Drive area.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions, so please do post some below!

Google hangout could save PCC and local schools £’s

What’s this to do with?

There’s been a lot of talk about schools facing financial pressures and, of course, Peterborough City Council, in recent months.

Sadly, the City Council and many local schools, still spend far too much time sending PDFs, “trying” to arrange meetings, acknowledging apologies and trying to get awareness for events.

So, one way to stop all this archaic activity and thus save money, is to become more effective and efficient, so isn’t it about time to start using Google Hangouts?

What does Darren think?

Peterborough was awarded Smart City of the Year in 2015, apparently beating competition from cities such as Moscow, Dubai and Buenos Aires. Not sure if we entered in 2016?

My point here is, its one thing to win an award and another thing altogether to actually do what needs to be done!

From my experience, as a school governor or a city councillor, there are times when you can’t make a meeting, or get sent loads of PDFs about stuff, that often is not clear in its content.

So why not save time, and thus money, by broadcasting meetings on Google Hangouts?

That way, if you are waiting outside for your child, at a social event etc You could actually log in and contribute, before leaving the hangout.

Or if you get caught in traffic, you could pull over and partake fully?

Perhaps most importantly for local schools, parents could actually watch meetings, LIVE from the comfort of their homes!

Wanna find out more?

PS…

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A university in Peterborough by ………. 2022?

So what’s this about?

Well you know that issue, that many people think is an urban myth, about Peterborough getting what most describe as a “proper” university? Well, according to the Principle of Peterborough Regional College, the earliest we can expect to see one is 2022.

Have a listen to the interview below and then let me know your thoughts below please!

What does Darren think?

I think a university would be a great thing for the city, but I am worried that a Tory administration who cannot even provide homes and housing for the present population, will be incapable of providing the accommodation, that will be required with a planned student population of 12,500!

Don’t get me wrong, as a Lib Dem, I’m a HUGE fan of education!

I’m simply mindful, that if this type of thing is overseen by the inept Conservatives, check out the state of SATS results, PFI projects, Academies in the city etc (not forgetting staff morale), the idea that they can provide a shiny new Uni, is simply unrealistic.

PS…

  • If you’ve found this article interesting, then please click/touch this link and let your Twitter followers know – http://ctt.ec/qXu2g
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New school at Paston Reserve/Manor Drive is just a “buffer”

What’s this to do with?

At a meeting of the Council’s Children and Education Scrutiny Committee, on which I sit on as the Lib Dem rep, we were told that, the new secondary schools at Hampton Gardens and Paston Reserve “…would provide a buffer to the additional capacity required in the City.”

The report also stated that, there “.. is currently a shortage of school places in Peterborough.”

You may remember that the Tories at the Town Hall chose to close schools like John Mansfield and Bretton Woods in 2002, despite warnings from councillors at the time!

What does Darren think?

Put simply, I think this is Council phraseology to say, when it comes to school places in the city, we are up a certain creek without the required paddle!

The Tories are looking for any excuse to try and justify their terrible decision to close secondary schools in Peterborough over a decade ago.

It seems that no planning was done, no one envisaged an increase in the population, or the need to have sufficient school places, despite some at the Council crowing about “growing the right way!

The biggest worry of course is the impact this has had on several generations and how it will affect pupils in Peterborough over the coming years.

Interestingly at the same meeting, the Tory leader of the Council tried to say that the decision to close secondary schools such as John Mansfield and Bretton Woods taken in 2002, was due to a Government directive and enabled the local authority to bid for money to improve existing school buildings – That’s a new excuse for me regarding the derisory decision!

Worth noting …….

  • At the same meeting the Council said they intended to undertake a review of the Primary schools estate, schools such as Norwood and Gunthorpe were being assessed for expansion.

Given the problems with parking at these two schools already, I suspect nearby residents will be concerned about any possible increase in pupil numbers?

PS…

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AMVC and FA will run new schools at Manor Drive/Paston Reserve?

What’s this to do with?

Well the area, popularly known as Manor Drive, is presently experiencing a high volume of development.

In recent times, due to shortages in school places locally, the Tories at the Town, announced they’d be scrapping previously agreed affordable housing, in order to agree to build a new primary and secondary school, at the aforementioned location.

At a recent scrutiny committee meeting, I was told that:

“A free school bid had been made by Arthur Mellows Village College for the Paston Reserve Primary School in Sept 2016. They would also submit a free school bid for the Secondary School at Paston….”

I can now confirm that the Department for Education have announced that Arthur Mellows Village College (AMVC) in partnership with Fulbridge Academy (FA), have been successful in their bid to run the planned primary and secondary schools.

What does Darren think?

Myself and my colleague, Cllr Julia Davidson, have previously held meetings with representatives from Fulbridge Academy, who have shown an interest in being involved in the running of the primary school. But aside from that, we’ve had little or no information from anyone else.

I’m surprised that given much of the land being sold/developed is owned by the Church, that the Church of England Diocese and the Catholic Diocese didn’t fancy the idea of running at least one of the schools?

That said, I have recently requested an update from the Council’s Education Service Director.

Worth knowing…

  • According to the City Council, the intention is to open the primary school in September 2018, although this may “be deferred until September 2019 to open concurrent with the secondary school.”
  • Both schools will end up taking 420 pupils. Both schools WILL follow the national curriculum.

Additional reading …..

PS…

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