Here is a simple (I hope!) list of the key points you might want to consider including when (I hope it is a ‘when’!) you write to the Council. Please don’t copy my wording exactly and don’t feel you need to include everything, write what YOU feel strongly about – the more the letter is from you, the better).
- Unjustifiable proposal – the ‘surplus’ issue will right itself in just 5 years to under 10% across the two schools, with no intervention needed, and the Monbank Housing Development MAY push us in the right direction even more quickly; the benefits of a through-primary can easily – and with no financial outlay – be gained through amalgamating the schools on a split-site (and this option has the full support of the schools, governing bodies, parents and community)
- Absolutely NO SUPPORT – school, governing body, parental or community – for this proposal. Everyone is completely against moving the Infants into the Junior School
- If school space is needed for pupils with ASD in Newport, the Infant school has an annex that can easily be redeveloped for ASD use, thus allowing full integration with an amalgamated, split-site Gaer Primary, and shared use of the Gaer schools’ wonderful facilities.
- Local children may well not be able to come to the nursery as rising threes as they slash nursery places. You may have to find a private provider to cover their government-funded 2.5 hours per day of nursery provision. What a 3 year old receives in the Gaer nursery goes way beyond basic childcare – they are fully immersed in a fun, educational environment with qualified teachers guiding them through. These youngest children’s educational prospects will suffer.
- The children will lose their amazing, second-to-none outdoor facilities, many paid for by the Gaer community: the timber trail (they love this, playing on it as often as they are allowed), the amphitheatre, the large playground with bridge and ‘pond’, the beautiful nursery garden, the adventurous reception garden, the creative year 1 and 2 garden. Their education will suffer.
- Inside they will lose: the ‘happy’ room (used to support children struggling emotionally, and for group work), the ‘ocean’ room (multi-sensory, for children with additional learning needs, such as ASD), the ‘technical’ room (for group working and for professionals to meet with staff and children), the art room, the excellent library, their hall, and the staff room. Their education will suffer.
- They will be crammed down into a much smaller space, with no specialist outdoor provision (‘statutory requirements’ merely specify outdoor space must be available, not that it has to reach the quality we have achieved at the Gaer). Their education will suffer.
- They will have no library, and no group working spaces as they do now. Their education will suffer.
- There will have just one dining room to share with the older children – double the children, 1 lunch hour. They will have to eat quickly. Their educational experience will suffer.
- At the moment, they do shows and concerts every term – even the nursery children – in the hall for parents and relatives to come and enjoy. This gives them confidence and fun at the same time! With just 1 hall available for all the children, rehearsal and performance times will be extremely difficult, and may mean they cannot continue to do performances every term. Their confidence and abilities will not be supported as they are now.
- The Juniors will lose a huge portion of their outdoor space to a large car park and to the ‘wing’ to be built for some of the infant children, as well as the designated outdoor spaces for every infant class (this is statutory). Their education will suffer.
- Inside, they will lose: the library, the ICT room, the film club/break out room, the staff preparation room. Their education will be severely affected by these loses.
- There will be no group working spaces – there will only be classes and corridors. Their education will suffer.
- On the first day of the amalgamated school (if they succeed in pushing this through), the number of children arriving at 9am will almost double from the current number of pupils. There will be CHAOS at drop off and pick up times, as nearly double the number of parents arrive at the school. If you think Gaer Road/Lansdown Road is bad now, wait until the proposal goes through!
- Where will the parents park? In the Gaer Inn, at the Gaer shops? Outside your house? Your quality of life may well suffer.
- If you have nursery-aged children, you may find that you cannot get them into the Gaer nursery and have to find a place elsewhere, even in a private provider. This may impact your ability to organise your family/working life (there is no guarantee that you will find a place on the Gaer). Your child’s education and your working life may suffer.
If I have missed any off…please let me know in the comments below!
Get scribbling, friends.