Parent protest

ANGRY parents have joined forces against plans to restructure a secondary school. From September, Barnwell School in Stevenage is going to be divided into a middle and upper school. Years 10 to 13 will be moved to the old Collenswood School (east campus)

ANGRY parents have joined forces against plans to restructure a secondary school.

From September, Barnwell School in Stevenage is going to be divided into a middle and upper school.

Years 10 to 13 will be moved to the old Collenswood School (east campus) while Years 7 to 9 will remain at Barnwell (west campus).

However, parents are concerned that the restructuring will disrupt their children's education.

Nicola Sadler, of Hertford Road, who has a 14-year-old son at the school, said: "I'm horrified because we have had no notification whatsoever.

"My main concern is my son's education. I feel the school has ploughed so much money into Barnwell but there hasn't been any money going into Collenswood. As a result I think their education will suffer. In addition my son will have further to travel which will extend his school day.

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"My main concern for all teenagers of this age is that they are hormonal and don't need this disruption. It's despicable. Why don't they put the new intake of children into Collenswood instead?"

Rickie and Joanne Lawrence, of Rudd Close, who have a 14 and 16-year-old at the school, said: "We think it's been underhanded. There was no meeting to put across our views. We feel sorry for our children because they are preparing for their exams and coming up to the most important time of their school lives.

"They will have to adjust to a new environment and the resources won't be as good.

"Barnwell has been improved and maintained over the years whereas Collenswood is run down.

"The schools aren't equally as good and if we wanted them to go to Collenswood we would have sent them there originally.

"If it's going to involve any travel we will move them to another school because we don't want them leaving school at break times."

Barnwell headteacher Richard Westergreen-Thorne said: "We expanded and took over Collenswood nearly two years ago and for the last two years we have been operating from the west and east campuses.

"The plan is to run both campuses until our new school (which is part of Building Schools for the Future) is built in about five years time.

"We have currently got students working on both sites and travelling between the two and what we have gained by being bigger is being able to offer a wider range of courses for students. And from September we will formulise what we're doing.

"We can create a nice middle school atmosphere for the younger pupils and a nice upper school environment for the older pupils."

Commenting on the transport between the two campuses, Mr Westergreen-Thorne added: "We have two buses and two bus drivers that run between the campuses between 8.10am and 3pm.

"People see the benefits of the extra facilities and when we had an Ofsted inspection last January inspectors said that the quality of teaching, learning, behaviour and progress was good on both sites and the facilities and opportunities were equally as good.

"We want to provide the best education for our children and running middle and upper school provides the best opportunities.

"Since we expanded as a school the students have done very well and we expect that to continue with the arrangements from September.

"We have held two open meetings for parents to discuss the future of the school this year so they had the chance to find out what's going on.

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