Thursday, 7 December 2006

New school

Tonight, there was an open meeting at the village school to display the plans for a new school, on a new site, that we have been working for (with the full support of the Local Authority, some people there I regard with Deep Respect as, with all regard to their dispassionate professionalism, they have been very helpful and really wonderful) for several years, having been through the throes of PFI (don't ask, it's a way the government have of disguising the amount of money they borrow; they are willing to pay through the nose for this deceit) and beyond, and the plans are, finally, going to be submitted tomorrow.

The site of the proposed new school is part of a large field, owned by the Church (Norwich, not the village) which is willing to sell for a Good Reason if it comes within the remit of a carefully drawn up Trust.

This is fair enough, I am a Trustee for two Trusts myself and understand the obligations.

There are several houses that back on to the aforementioned field and the owners, naturally, want to be sure that the value of their properties and their own lifestyles will not be adversely affected.

All reasonable. Yet, I cannot abide Nimbyism. I have, tolerant as I am, a fair degree of idealism within me and I think you have to look beyond yourself to the greater good.

Anyway, people had a chance to have a look at the plans and then the Headteacher introduced the various people from the local authority who had come along, and then they explained the plans and took questions. At the end, the Head asked if there were any more points .... I found my hand raised - it was possessed, I didn't do it......

I reminded everyone that twenty years ago, the government had wanted to close down small schools and the whole village had united to keep this one open, although there were only 19 pupils. When I became a governor there were 24 pupils and my son became the 25th; five years later there were 56. A couple of years later, 76 and, with fluctuation, that is the number there are now. The new site is still in the heart of the village; the choice is to have a school or not, as the present site is completely unsatisfactory for modern times (true, it is tiny; no hall, no playing field, one out of three classes in a mobile classroom and they have to run round the whole building to get to the loo. Staff room, what's that? Dining room, 2 classrooms with a dividing door between transformed while the children go outside, whatever the weather).

I said, I am partisan and, if you have concerns, do object, but also do try to consider the bigger picture. I was a governor there for 18 years and, when the new school was first mooted, we offered a bit of our field for access if that would help, we were happy to have the school right by our garden. I really want a school in the village for my own grandchildren to come to, I cannot be disinterested, and I care very much for the future of the children of the village.....time to shut up and stop ranting.

That was the gist. I shut up, went into the kitchen and did the washing up.

And, on the way, asked the LA chappie to let me know if there were many letters of objection because, if there are, I'll write in favour.

It's no wonder I've a bit of a reputation as a passionate woman. Hah!

8 comments:

Wendz in France said...

Z - the more you blog the more I learn about you and your personality is fascinating.

Today..empassioned...Tiger Woman...grrrrrr.

Actually I agree with you on village schools. Much nicer than huge, indifferent institutions.

I hope you are successful.

Z said...

I've just put two and two together - Wednesday's post and this one - and realised that everyone probably thought I was drunk.

After one glass of Merlot? I think not. It was just that they had been going into such detail about the plans that the bigger picture had not even been mentioned and I felt a reminder was called for.

Ally said...

Good for you - questions that have to be asked. I think that far too many people move 'to the country' and expect the area to be set in aspic, for their personal pleasure, rather than a sustainable community.

Z said...

Thanks Ally. It's only too easy for people to pay lip-service to wanting local businesses, a village school, a village shop, but then not to support them and even to oppose them if they personally feel affected.

Pat said...

Good for you gel! Were your knees wobbly? Mine would have been.

Z said...

Sadly, I am brazen, Pat, so, no, they weren't. I did feel self-conscious, but not enough to restrict fluency. I think it's years of organ-playing, if you make a mistake it doesn't matter, just keep going and be audible.

badgerdaddy said...

Fight the power, damn the man!!!

Z said...

At least one potential objector (Bob over the road) is mollified and thinks it was a good meeting.

But BD, I am the power.