Writing on wall for school

PUBLISHED: 11:18 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:30 06 May 2010

May I congratulate Roy Foster on his accurate predictions of the Collenswood/Barnwell consultation meetings. The representatives from the LEA cherry-picked the questions to which they would answer and side-stepped others such as freedom of choice and alte

May I congratulate Roy Foster on his accurate predictions of the Collenswood/Barnwell consultation meetings. The representatives from the LEA cherry-picked the questions to which they would answer and side-stepped others such as freedom of choice and alternative proposals other than the merger of these two schools.

It was interesting to note that Keith Gould's insight into the future of the Collenswood site was not one of redevelopment claiming that it is difficult to build on school playing fields. This is a hard fact to believe as the old Shephallbury, Round Diamond and St Michael's school sites are now residential and the council have agreed that the old Pin Green school site will be redeveloped as residential dwellings. The council seem to be able to get round this problem by redesignating these old schools as colleges or training centres for a short period of time and indeed Keith Gould stated at the consultation meeting on Tuesday that this would be a possibility for the Collenswood site.

Even though the LEA are saying that this is only a proposal, it seems that it is the only proposal they are prepared to put forward. They also seem to have spent an awfully long time discussing how this would be achieved even though the announcement was only made in November suggesting to a lot of people that this has been on the cards for some time.

The safety aspect of access to and from the Barnwell site was brought up with the fact that there is only one small residential road accessing the main Barnwell entrance. Anybody who has tried to drive along Hydean Way at school drop off time or collection time will have noted the problems with having Heathcote, Barnwell, Peartree and Greenside schools in close proximity to one another. Collenswood at least does have two vehicular access points but is probably worth more to the property developers than the safety of the pupils.

Whilst I agree with Peter Warren's view that something needs to be done about the future of Collenswood I am not sure that merging it with a school whose overall standards are below the national average is the way forward. The head teacher at Barnwell is doing a very good job of improving the Barnwell grades but I cannot help think that an extra 600 pupils will hamper his efforts.

CRIS MAIN, Park View, Stevenage

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