For those of you who live in the streets surrounding the Junior school, you will be strongly impacted by the proposal. There is no plan to widen Gaer Road, to make access easier. You already know what a nightmare travelling around those roads is at drop-off and pick-up times. Imagine nearly doubling the number of children arriving and leaving, practically overnight. And within a few years, nearly 400 children would be accessing the site at the same time!! And then, there’s the 32 nursery children leaving at 12pm from the morning session (32 different parents, many in cars parking up the road), and another 32 arriving at 1pm. Currently, the school is mostly accessed at 9am and 3.20pm. Under the new proposal, parents will be arriving, and leaving, virtually all day. And that’s not taking into account the doubling of staff that will happen, as the Infant staff move down to occupy the site also.
Where are the parents going to park? Infant children cannot run in on their own, they have to be taken to the door by parents, so they will have to park and leave cars in and around the Gaer Road. Maybe they will decide to park in the Gaer Inn? Or the Gaer shops car park? The Community Centre car park will be closed for quite a long time due to the renovation works on the flats, so that will reduce possible parking again.
Hopefully you, as a local Gaer resident, are against this proposal because it is so terrible for our children or because of how it will affect you and your family or business. However, you may feel that it’s fair that the Infants becomes the ASD school, because Newport children with ASD need a specialist school.
I think we would all agree with you that children with ASD, and their parents, deserve to get the very best education. But I hope you would agree with us that it cannot be at the expense of other children’s education. All children deserve the best chances, and this proposal takes from one group to give to another.
A few years ago, the Council applied for £10m to pay for a new ASD school, from the 21st Century Schools Fund bid at the Welsh Assembly Government. Their intention was to build a new school. (see p24, http://www.newport.gov.uk/stellent/groups/public/documents/plans_and_strategies/cont543111.pdf). Sadly, they did not get the funds, and the following year they applied for, and received, just £1m to use towards providing an ASD school in Newport.
This has been the catalyst for the desire to clear the Gaer Infant School, and to use it as the ASD school. If they had received the funds, they would have been able to provide a purpose-built school, and we at the Gaer would not be in this position now. The ONLY reason for this proposal is the lack of funds for another school, and has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the Gaer schools. We, however, are the ones who are having to ‘pay’ for the ASD school.
So, if you will be affected by the proposals, or even if you are not but feel as we do, that this is terrible for the children of the Gaer and grossly unfair, PLEASE write to the Council to say so, before 10th May 2013.