Plan for secondary school in village should be axed

IT seems the whim of a small group of people has managed to rip fear through the heart of a village. A campaign for a secondary school and up to 200 homes to be built on 90 acres of land next to the cemetery in Knebworth has been mounted by a group of par

IT seems the whim of a small group of people has managed to rip fear through the heart of a village.

A campaign for a secondary school and up to 200 homes to be built on 90 acres of land next to the cemetery in Knebworth has been mounted by a group of parents, and was hotly debated at a public meeting in the village hall last week.

The strength of feeling against the proposals put forward by the We Need a School campaign group was clearly voiced, with many residents outraged.

The project should be a none-starter for the simple fact the proposed site for development is Green Belt land, which should be vehemently protected.


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But a secondary school in Knebworth is also not needed. Families have managed so far without one.

Problems with place allocations this year, with Knebworth children fighting to get into a Stevenage school of choice, will not change if a secondary school is built in the village. If it is reputable, parents from further afield will be vying to secure places for their children at Knebworth and the allocation battle will continue.

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The village is already a rat-run, with severe congestion during morning and evening rush hours, and the proposals will only serve to exacerbate this problem.

I moved from St Albans to Knebworth two years ago because I liked its rural aspect. I, like others, was fully aware of the facilities the village has to offer when I moved there, and I consider the fact there is no secondary school as a positive. The schools in Stevenage are close enough to be convenient and far enough away to avoid coming into contact with hoards of children and lots of traffic.

It seems the campaign for a school was started with the best of intentions, with campaign leader Juliet Pomerance saying it is what villagers want and what Knebworth needs. Now it has been made abundantly clear that it is not what the community wants, will she do the right thing and lay these plans to rest?

THE former headteacher of a west London primary school has been found guilty of five allegations of misconduct and cleared of another six.

Kanta Riley was hauled before a tribunal for shaking two pupils by the shoulders for not doing their homework, threatening some youngsters with washing their mouths out with soap, and forcing others to remove their trainers - which are banned under school rules. She was also accused of calling two pupils "thieves and liars" during a school assembly, as well as failing to deal with a cockroach infestation. Mrs Riley was cleared of the final two allegations, but was given a reprimand by the General Teaching Council for the rest.

What exactly is this teaching the school children? It's certainly not the difference between right and wrong.

A headteacher has been punished for trying to make pupils do their homework, obey school rules, and not be foul-mouthed.

Nowhere is it reported that any of the children involved were physically hurt or in tears.

When I was at school, no one would have batted an eyelid if a teacher threatened to wash a pupil's mouth out with soap, or if they called a pupil a liar. And it wasn't so long ago that the cane was still commonly in use in schools. The children who had their shoulders shaken should count themselves lucky they weren't pupils in my father's day.

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