Tuesday, June 08, 2010

New Secondary School for Swanage

207 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I wonder how many will turn up - or will this be left up to just a small but determined group?

Anonymous said...

Good to see last night's meeting so well supported.
An extremely informative and enthusiastic meeting. Very positive and alot of effort and research seems to have already gone into this. The young people of Swanage deserve a Secondary School run and supported by its community.

Carl said...

Thanks very much. It was great to have so many people listening – a change from talking to DCC officers. We will try to get information on the new legislation out to people as soon as it is available.

Our biggest problem in Swanage is convincing people that it really can happen. As Richard Drax said, if we can show we have the support and a sensible business plan, then the money will be available. But it's hard to persuade some people to sign up before they know it is possible. That's a bit of a Catch 22.

We also learned that seven secondary schools in Dorset want to become academies asap. I think that's all of the outstanding ones, including Lytchett and Thomas Hardye. DCC are apparently in a bit of a panic.

Anonymous said...

What if the reorganisation doesn't go ahead. The plans for a Secondary in Swanage seem to be so well supportive and positive,it would be a shame not to go ahead with the secondary education in Swanage. How could this work ?

Anonymous said...

Re 4.41

Academies
Do you know of any Middle Schools in Dorset that have responded to new Gov policies ? Are they able to opt out too ?

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that your biggest problem would premises.

Anonymous said...

Apparently premises will be paid for if there is sufficient demand for a school. We'd love to see the grammar school brought back to life, but there are other options.

Yes, everyone knows there is no money but there are still billions flying around and the new government is keen to see its much-touted policy result in new schools. We can only ask.

Anonymous said...

So money that would otherwise go to the LEA for a rationally planned education system will be frittered away on schemes that make absolutely no sense to anyone except their clique of supporters..

Dr. Arnold said...

'So money that would otherwise go to the LEA for a rationally planned education system will be frittered away on schemes that make absolutely no sense to anyone except their clique of supporters..'

I might see your point if it were clear that DCC education planners are rational, or that their decisions made to date, or future proposals, exhibit rationality.

I would rather trust local communities and parents than council quangos to determine the best education for local children.

Since when are parents consigned to being a 'clique'? Rather offensive a remark, making your whole post irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

A tiny proportion of parents are involved in demanding a new school. They hold shared values and reject any challenge to their views. Sounds like a clique to me but you might be able to suggest a more apt term

The Purbeck Pyramid is a rational and planned way of providing an education service. Adding an extra school on a whim when there is a surplus of places is irrational. What irrational decisions by education planners do you have in mind? I don't know why people rubbish public sector staff in a way they would never use for private firm's staff.

I don't buy into the opinion that parents know more about how to plan and provide education than the professionals. Can anyone point to any evidence to support this assertion?

Dr. Arnold said...

I am not sure what the previous poster is concerned about, or for whom he or she speaks, but I have heard on good authority that the council education department is alarmed by the interest being shown by more than a few local schools in the academies scheme - a scheme which would by-pass local council education departments and make them less powerful.

In any event, this new government has moved the goalposts in such a way that it is prepared to allow parent power to challenge the power of local authority education departments. Sorry, but it looks as though the cushy life is over for some.

How many of these authority education officers are certified teachers, and how many have taught or managed real schools? I am just wondering where their 'expertise', that the previous post hints at, elevates them over head teachers, teachers, governors and parents, comes from? Or is it a variation on 'those who cannot teach, run local authority education departments'?? Why should these mandarin be given a free pass to claim superior knowledge of education - and what is best for our children? Finally, I do not fear for their sensitivity to criticism from the people they serve - if they cannot stand the heat........

Anonymous said...

I don't claim to speak on behalf of anybody apart from myself and I am very suspicious of those who maintain they are speaking for others without the slightest evidence of general support.

I was not aware that getting yourself pregnant makes you an expert on education. That appears to be the view of some in this discussion who suggest that parents know best. Presumably teenage parents are the most expert as their personal experience of education is most recent and those who have babies while at school phenomenally expert. Well, well, who would have thought it, as John Major memorably said.

I despair of the way some bloggers approach this. If you don't know and can't be bothered to find out what skills and experience DCC's planners possess you can't really expect a criticism of them to be given any credence can you? Don't you think you need evidence before making judgements? Obviously not/

Anonymous said...

My, my, have we touched a nerve? Parenthood bad/council planners good? Shades of Orwell, methinks?

I find your comments denigrating parents while upholding the 'superiority' of education planners in the matter of 'what is best for children' most revealing. I need not criticise your observations; they speak quite clearly for themselves.

Anonymous said...

The argument about taking money from the LEA is ignoring the new reality. Seven secondaries are leaving the system, including Thomas Hardye which has 2000 pupils.

And did you protest when Bere Regis and Sandford chose to go to Lytchett? They have taken pupils/money from Purbeck School (and now Lytchett wants to be an academy). Is it OK because Lytchett is nearer?

Anonymous said...

1)Is it not true that not only secondary, but all schools (middle junior, primary, first) will be able to apply for academy status?

2)If a school begins its application for academy status, would that halt a council's attempt to amalgamate or close it?

Is anybody au fait about these questions?

Anonymous said...

Dear 9.49

I have tried to find out the qualifications and educational expertise of the officers, but to no avail - I will keep searching. Perhaps you could yourself do some research. For now, this is a flavour of what has gone before.

Back copy - Dorset Echo

The council missed out on the latest round of money being handed out in the Building Schools for the Future programme, and the Conservative candidate for South Dorset doubts whether the new academy can be funded....

However, Mr Drax said parents and children are being ‘led up the garden path’.

“To add insult to injury we have one of the lowest funded Local Education Authorities in the country.

He added: “What I long for is some real honesty and integrity to say ‘look we just can’t afford it’.”

John England, head of learning and school improvement at Dorset County Council, admitted no money has been secured yet but said it was not due to come from the Building Schools for the Future programme.

He said: “At the moment we don’t have any money but it is potentially there.

Back copy -Daily Echo

Education Swanage campaign group member said: “We’ve got to the stage, according to the council’s children’s services director John Nash, where schools may have to make redundancies and standards would drop...


There is a lot of criticism about the whole process. We should have been given more options from the outset. We now have to chose the best out of two bad options. It is very disappointing for Swanage.”

Overview committee members received 635 responses in the last wave of consultation, of which 534 were about proposals for Swanage and Langton Matravers.

Anonymous said...

Do these legions of education officers exist beyond the over active imagination of the right wing papers and politicians? It would come as no surprise to find this to be another example of a grossly under managed public service. We see this demonstrated most often with the NHS which has one of the lowest management costs of health services anywhere but which is for ever the subject of this type of nonsense because it makes the sort of story the papers think their readers like to see.

It all reminds me of the tale of the unfortunate lady on trial for witchcraft who protested that as witches have cats and she had no cat she could not possibly be a witch. The court in its wisdom added consorting with a spectral cat to the charge list and she came to an even stickier end.

Here we are invited to believe that there is a huge and expensive staff employed by DCC but when no evidence of its existence can be found that is taken as suggesting it operates in some quasi clandestine manner. Heads I win, tails you loose.

Anonymous said...

The government just announced cuts of 2 billion in new projects on the planning board, including schools. Only a naive optimist now holds any hope that money will be found for any new school in Swanage.

Anonymous said...

John Nash I believe was a head teacher and John England a member of the senior leadership team of a school. Rick Perry has a background in schools too.

With regard to funding, there may be a slim hope that some cash can be found for a 'free' school but it will come at the expense of the other schools in the area. There will be less money in the DCC pot to share between the rest. Those parents eager to get a free school for Swanage may well be happy as their children grow to secondary school age. Do they not have any concerns for the next generation of pupils who will attend cash strapped primary schools as a result of this government's proposals?

Anonymous said...

OK. Free schools are on the agenda. Is Swanage up to the challenge??

Anonymous said...

How will a school here be at the expense of other schools? That's just scaremongering.

The government's proposals are happening whether we take advantage or not. At least seven schools are leaving DCC already, taking thousands of pupils with them.

We constantly hear about money being spent elsewhere in Dorset - on schools in other towns. Where is our share of the pot? We have more kids than most towns, pay more council tax than the villages and Wareham. Yet it is our schools that are threatened and we get no secondary. I am sick of the people on here who say we shouldn't have any spent in our town.

Anonymous said...

£50 million - for the whole Country.

Anonymous said...

We do indeed pay slightly more council tax than the villages. This is because the town Council precept is higher, meaning that the money is spent on Swanage. Nothing to do with education.

All four Purbeck middle schools are going, not just Swanage.

Most of the money for education in common with other council services comes from central government. The formula for working it out is famously complicated and the politicians take it in turns to modify the rules to help those they respectively think need it most. Labour made the proportion of band 1 council tax homes an important factor benefiting the north-east. Expect a change in favour of better off areas such as our own from the coalition. All in the name of fairness of course.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought, but if all four Purbeck middle schools applied for the new government scheme, would it put a halt on the two tier conversion?

My other question may have been answered before: transitioning to two tier as outlines will cost money. Does the council have this money, either in fact or promised? If not, how can it proceed at this time of stringent cutbacks?

Tuesday will give us an idea where we are heading as a nation. I do not see a lot of cheering coming from it; just hard medicine to swallow.

Anonymous said...

Two tier will be put on hold. No money.

Anonymous said...

No money to keep the existing 1000 surplus places either. Three tier schools are being phased out in other places as well as not being the best approach. However, as the coalition seems determined to re-run the 1930s depression cuts it will be.

Anonymous said...

The government just announced cuts of 2 billion in new projects on the planning board, including schools. Only a naive optimist now holds any hope that money will be found for any new school in Swanage.

Seems that the news yesterday, announced that there is funding available for Free Schools - so maybe they are prioritising this over everything else. Well we certainly need a Secondary in Swanage for all the local kids, so hope they are supportive of us in these parts. If anyone deserves a school Swanage does. Is it right that Swanage is the only town its size not to have a secondary school ? Crazy. With all this focus on sustainable community policies, local schools should be a priority.

Anonymous said...

Two tier will be put on hold. No money.

So how much has this consultation cost altogether. Has anyone got the figures for this. Is DCC able to offer a breakdown of costs ??

Anonymous said...

No money to keep the existing 1000 surplus places either. Three tier schools are being phased out in other places as well as not being the best approach. However, as the coalition seems determined to re-run the 1930s depression cuts it will be.

DCC never ever said that 2 tier was any better than 3 tier. John Nash said that there was no difference educationally, but moving to 2 tier was the only option to reduce surplus places (apparently). Many people think 3 tier a better way to cater for children's developmental stages. So one of the options could have been a reduced 3 tier, this was suggested at the initial stages, but was thrown out by officers, so neve came to public consultation.

If all of this is mainly to finance children staying on at Purbeck for 2 extra years, then this is not going to solve the problem. What percentage of kids drop out during their first year of A levels at Purbeck. Its very high - and a big problem. Kids that live in Swanage may have an odd hours lesson during the day, and no free bus pass once they get to the 6th form, so tend not to go in at all. Some A levels are video conference learning without a teacher at all in the classroom. All in all its unsatisfactory. Ask some of the parents of older children to get feedback.

Anonymous said...

If 2 tier doesn't go ahead, will parents/teachers/governors at SMS apply for Free School status to achieve secondary ed in Swanage.

Anonymous said...

11.04 I guess not.

It appears that this committee still expects a new school to be laid on and refuses to look outside the box for an alternate solution to their very worthwhile goals.

Those who do not take risks achieve few goals.

Anonymous said...

If the reorganisation doesn't go ahead then the Purbeck School will have few pupils for a while and as an upper school it will struggle. It's easier for a secondary school to be smaller as it has more years.

A cheaper alternative would be to keep the first schools as they are and then turn both Swanage Middle and the Purbeck School into all-through schools for pupils from 9-16 or 9-18. Bovington Middle could close as it doesn't have enough pupils and Bovington First could become a primary, if that's what the Army want. But what would Sandford do? It might become an academy in September and then expand, which could change things for the Purbeck anyway.

Anonymous said...

An example of the rational planning of DCC, which we are paying for out of ocouncil tax

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/8228847.Wimborne_school_rebuild_takes_shape_after_hold_up/?ref=mr

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being pedantic, you don't get it at all. School building of this type is not funded from council tax receipts. I know the phrase "tax payers money" is used a great deal but it is not the same thing. It is remarkable, with the amount of publicity the government's grumbles about public borrowing have received that there is anyone left who still thinks capital projects are funded from revenue, especially locally raised revenue. I even feel a tiny, tiny, pang of sympathy for Osborne and his party, whose words have clearly vanished without trace into thin Dorset air.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. If you look at the information accompanying your council tax bill you can see the school building projects that we are paying for, including QE.

DCC borrows £17m a year towards education.

The money for the two secondary schools in Wareham will be paid for by a loan. They are going to borrow as much as they can – the money saved by closing the middle schools will pay the interest each year. This will be paid for by council tax.

The £220,000-plus annual cost in transporting all our children to Wareham will also come out of council tax.

Anonymous said...

The current schools are on page 9 of your guide to council tax

QE School, Budmouth Technology College, Milldown Primary, Blandford School, Downlands Primary

Anonymous said...

Before telling me how wrong I am you need to delve a little more deeply into local government finance and in particular into what projects receive support from central government. The Guide conceals as much as it reveals. It says how much they have coming in from various sources and what it is spent on. What it does not tell you is how much of the non-council tax/unified business rate income is tied to particular spending programnes.

Obviously at the end of the day loans are paid off from revenue.

I am not at all sure what point you were making in your original posting apart from the fact that it costs a lot to build a school. And...?

We do seem to be blessed with a truly remarkable cohort of armchair generals all utterly convinced they know better than DCC. Their days may be coming as it looks like we will have a rash of Dad's Army schools soon.

Anonymous said...

It is suggested by the advocates of a secondary school in Swanage that it would lead to an increase in the number of families with children of this age in Swanage, Can someone point me to some evidence to support this. I looked at the last census figures for Swanage and as comparators chose Bridport and Lyme Regis, both Dorset seaside towns with secondary schools. Bridport turned out to have very much the same proportion of school age children as Swanage and Lyme about a third less!

Anonymous said...

The Echo has a story about the old grammar school being eyed as a possible site for a new secondary school. It has been a number of years since I have been inside it, so I just drove by it and, quite frankly, it look delapadated (the roof has failures in many places) and goodness knows the issues inside - mold among others. In addition, health and safety and access and fire regs are far more stringent and it is possible that sections of the building would not comply without costly alterations as well as repairs. It almost certainly lacks furniture and fittings appropriate for secondary school use.

The only viable site for a free school would be Swanage Middle School which, if the primary school targeted to go there could be accommodated elsewhere, would allow the new school to grow and be developed gradually, as a further year is added, until it is a secondary school - in other words, steady growth as it transitions from middle school years to secondary school years. Inevitably many of the facilities are substandard for secondary use, but these could be improved, and there appears to be ample land (the sports grounds could be made available to all Swanage schools). Other than SMS, I cannot see a site that would be suitable without a huge - and untenable - building investment.

There is in my view no reason short of lack of will to prevent the Council from doing this itself, thereby achieving two tier and making peace with Education Swanage. Children will still go to Purbeck for 6th Form and those parents who prefer Purbeck will still have that option. If the council is willing to let the site to a new school organisation, it can spare itself the expense and effort and still achieve its goals of two tier (unless retaining absolute control is high up in its priorities).

Anonymous said...

Please bear in mind that the Grammar School is privately owned and will have to be purchased, or rented and make a large profit.

Anonymous said...

Down to how much money Mr Gove, who has some very odd ideas, is willing to throw at free schools.

Anonymous said...

I find it disappointing that so many who blog here are quick to attack any idea offered in good faith without offering an alternate solution. Let me synthsize the situation:

The only way left for Education Swanage to create a secondary school for Swanage is to go down Mr Gove's 'new school' route.

I hope that is simple enough.

Anonymous said...

"without offering an alternate solution."

Sending your children to the Purbeck School is the best solution.

Anonymous said...

That is your opinion and you are entitled to it. We are not stopping anyone choosing the Purbeck if that is your preference. But it needn't be the only option.

Anonymous said...

It is, until Education Swanage comes up with a viably-funded school plan.

Anonymous said...

Or you can send your children to Bournemouth Collegiate, which runs minibuses to Swanage via the chain ferry. Just remortgage your home.

Anonymous said...

Apropos of the Russell Cotes, I fear there is a gap in understanding. I suggested an art museum centred on landscape work of Purbeck by a wide range of painters over 200 years. The paintings in the Russell Cotes are about as different from this as you can get. Have a look at their website.

As for popping over there on the bus, well, the whole point was to suggest a cultural use for the Pier Head site that would be of benefit to Swanage through bringing people here for something they would not have to pay for so that they would spend something with local businesses in the same way that people come here, use our free beach and free country park and do a little spending. This revolves round getting it funded in the same way that other art collections and museums are funded. The recompense for Mr storer would come in the form of rent or sale of the site.

Anonymous said...

Terribly sorry, posted that in the wrong thread. I will put it the right one now. Could you delete please Mr Postman or everyone will be very puzzled.

Anonymous said...

'If the reorganisation doesn't go ahead then the Purbeck School will have few pupils for a while and as an upper school it will struggle. It's easier for a secondary school to be smaller as it has more years.

A cheaper alternative would be to keep the first schools as they are and then turn both Swanage Middle and the Purbeck School into all-through schools for pupils from 9-16 or 9-18. Bovington Middle could close as it doesn't have enough pupils and Bovington First could become a primary, if that's what the Army want. But what would Sandford do? It might become an academy in September and then expand, which could change things for the Purbeck anyway.'

Why wasn't this offered as an option (by the officers) in the initial cosultation document. It seems to make sense all ways round. Many have offered this as an alternative way forward. Why did the officers ignore this suggestion ?? What was their reason.

Anonymous said...

Or you can send your children to Bournemouth Collegiate, which runs minibuses to Swanage via the chain ferry. Just remortgage your home.

Or you can employ additional afterschool tuition for your child to be programmed how to pass the entrance paper for grammar school.

Unfortunatly both of the above depend on having a good enough income to do this.

Do 11 year olds really need to go through the drudgery of commuting at this young age. What's wrong with being educated locally, and in their own community. Why, have young families moved to Swanage. Is it because its a a great 'rural' healthy place to live, away from the stresses of 'city' life, where life is slower and more community minded. There should be no need for young children to be edcuated in Poole or Bournemouth. Parents should demand support for a local 'high aspirational' secondary school for Swanage, then there would be no need for these children to communte at all.

Anonymous said...

I know two sets of parents with primary school children in Swanage. We have chatted about the changes that are proposed.

To my surprise, both sets of parents are very happy about the changes and neither want a local secondary school. Neither want any 'new school' which might take years to set up properly.

What exactly is an 'aspirational school' anyway? A school should 'be', not 'aspire'. Terms like that make me think that ideas are pie in the sky, and not rooted in reality. Do not get me started on the misuse of 'sustainable'!

Where are the parents who are clamouring for this aspirationally sustainable new school? They seem to be very quiet.

Anonymous said...

The term "aspirational school" tells all. The advocates of this school seem to think Purbeck School has "Abandon Hope All Who Enter Here" over the gate.

Its about insulating their children from the non-aspirational element, lest they become contaminated.

Anonymous said...

Education Swanage has no problem with the Purbeck School. We spent a year campaigning for a campus of that school here. It's just that it's 10 miles away.

We also think there is no need for it to be as large as DCC plan, with 1650 places when the average school is under 1000.

The law has changed and two towns can be served with a school each, with all the attendant facilities.

Anonymous said...

But it isn't going to happen! Or do you know something we (the rate payers of Swanage/PDC/DCC) don't know about finances?

Please so tell. As as parents, I am not prepared to bet my kids future on some 'new school'!! I went to Purbeck and it is fine.

Maybe we should focus on the transport issues if they are such a problem for Education Swanage.

Anonymous said...

How has the law changed? The government new school proposal does not guarantee that a new school in Swanage will ahve all the bells and whistles found at Purbeck. It will take years to achieve those.

Education Swanage needs to step back and carefully consider just what is being proposed by this government.

Anonymous said...

Money - will either be forthcoming or it won't

Premises - will either be forthcoming or they won't

Facilities and curriculum will be worked on given the above.

At that point parents can decide what is best for their own children. Until then, why criticise people for trying? Are they wasting your time?

Anonymous said...

The key question is whether "free" schools will be permitted to be selective. If so, in places like this, they will simply be a mechanism for taking us back to grammar schools.

A lot has been said about the 10 mile bus trip to the Purbeck School. This is misleading. It entails, in fact, a 20 minute journey time, and is a good deal less than that undertaken by millions of children across the country. A guaranteed seat on a bus reserved for the purpose would be a dream come true for many children compared with their existing journeys.

I ts interesting how the meaning of words evolves. Since the 1950s we have had "independent" television which is entirely dependent on selling advertising time and whose programming, far from being independent is determined by the need to deliver an audience sufficiently solvent but sufficiently impressionable to be of interest to advertisers. Any suggestions for a definition of "free" as meaning controlled directly from Westminster? I suspect what we will see in a few years time is a small number of firms running large numbers of schools to centrally set standards with a layer of local enthusiasts fronting each of them and providing a mirage of community control.

Anonymous said...

Selection would not be an issue here as it would be a fundamental principle that the school should benefit everyone in the area. A big business cannot come in and run your school uninvited, although that was the Labour way with academies.

Faith schools can select all of their children based on religion, though the C of E stop at 75 per cent. You are not allowed to use faith as a criteria unless you are full.

Existing grammar schools that become academies will continue to be selective.

All 'specialist' schools, like the Purbeck, are allowed to choose 5 per cent based on aptitude - for science in Purbeck's case. In Birmingham they are setting up an academy of the performing arts which will be allowed to select on the basis of talent.

One strong criticism of Labour's huge academies built to replace failing schools is that they select by excluding disruptive children - and it's easy to use this to exclude the less academic too.

DrArnold said...

Free schools are 'selective' insofar as parents and pupils have to agree to the ethos and rules of the school. This is the same as found in independent schools. And yes, if that is selection, then so is the post code lottery, or church school selection, found in many parts of the country. Free schools could be able to remove pupils or parents who are disruptive, or do not share the mission, of the school more readily that can state schools which have a duty to educate pupil as required by LEA education policies. In London, there is a degree of academic selection in admission to academies, but I think there would be less in Swanage, if indeed any, as we do not possess London's pressurised education climate (be grateful for that!).

In fact, at least in the early years of its existence, a new school would probably work harder to accommodate and retain every pupil who wishes to take part, while establishing its place in the education pyramid of the area.

The grammar school comparison is not really relevant here, at least it is used in comparison with existing free schools. As I stated before, there is already a form of selection going on based upon church affiliation, post code, or other factors that may allow interested parents to 'buy into' the school of their choice.

A new school would actually give more choice to all parents, as secondary pupils could choose the new school, or Purbeck. Who knows, a bit of competition might sharpen both schools a bit and benefit everyone. Or is competition still a dirty word?

Anonymous said...

I don't recall ever hearing anyone from any of our four first schools saying their school was better because it faced competition. Competition in what exactly? SATS? League tables? GCSE results? A levels, entry to Oxbridge? How are you intending to define the areas in which you hope to be better.

Anonymous said...

Competition in being chosen by parents, just like all four first schools, who now compete with a revitalised Cprfe too. And Swanage MIddle, which I hear is losing 12 students to the grammar school?

Anonymous said...

Apart from short travel times and small premises what would a Swanage Secondary school offer that Purbeck does not? In other words choice between what. We have had a mention of aspiration but aspiration to what? Choice of what? I can see what there is a lot less choice of.

Anonymous said...

'And Swanage MIddle, which I hear is losing 12 students to the grammar school?'

To which grammar school are you referring? If 12 SMS pupils passed their eleven plus, that reflects very well on SMS. I was not aware that Swanage pupils could gain a place at grammar schools in Poole or Bournemouth. Is this so?

Anonymous said...

It does reflect well on our schools, and perhaps the private tutors who may have helped

But sadly it seriously affects the middle school once they have gone and the Purbeck of course.

Anonymous said...

Would they be going to Poole, or Bournemouth, or both, grammar schools?

Just the commute they will have puts pay to the moaning about the 20 minute trip to Purbeck School.

I guess our local schools cannot offer a grammar school quality education? So much for 'aspirational'.

Look to Twynham School and the Christchurch two-tier system as a model and compare its results to Purbeck. We have to demand more from our schools in Purbeck before we can expect the grammar school success stories to stay here. Forget 'aspirational'; let's get some local leadership improving what already exists. Building a new school won't work if we cannot raise standards in what we have.

Anonymous said...

"I guess our local schools cannot offer a grammar school quality education? So much for 'aspirational'."

And what exactly is a grammar school quality education? Can you explain.

A number of children from Swanage attend Poole and Parkstone grammars. I was surprised that anyone commenting on educational provision in Swanage was unaware of this. I have never seen anything demonstrating that educational outcomes for them are any better than for children of equivalent ability and motivation at Purbeck. It is more of an article of faith.

DrArnold said...

"I guess our local schools cannot offer a grammar school quality education? So much for 'aspirational'."

And what exactly is a grammar school quality education? Can you explain.
...................................

Indeed. I was referencing an earlier post lamenting the fact that these grammar-bound pupils will soon leave our local schools, the implication being that 'the brightest and best' would no longer be here to, I imagine, set a higher academic standard for those not as 'fortunate'. 'Creaming off' springs to mind. I use these terms advisedly.

I have witnessed pupils from less advantaged educational backgrounds flourish (and I have witnessed those from advantaged backgrounds flounder). What was the difference? Besides innate pupil academic ability and motivation, it is almost always the home setting that makes the difference. A supportive home, interested parents, committed staff and a good school ethos will almost always allow a pupil to flourish, irrespective of income, background or advantages. If you don't believe me, travel to a Caribbean or African nation where the children's education is highly prized; where children are scrubbed and sent to school in immaculate uniforms; where discipline is strict; but who otherwise live in what we would call 'poverty'. Whose priorities are better?

Cramming and tutoring to pass the eleven plus produces an artificial bounce in exam results that does not always produce long term benefits. We need to continue to encourage our local schools to engage parents' guardians and families, in particular, to be as proactive and supportive in their children's education as possible.

This could be one drawback to the introduction of New Schools to Swanage; 'uncooperative' or 'non-supportive' parents (again, I use those terms with caution) could be turned away from New Schools, leaving the local state schools to deal with the 'outcome' of this, while those children with supportive parents may go elsewhere. This is a old, old dichotomy that has rarely been resolved, and we should bear it in mind as this conversation about our schools continues.

This is why I think we should focus on how to improve what we have before we engage in the expensive assumption that creating new schools, whether academies or new state secondary schools, will produce more successful outcomes.

These are my views and accept that many will disagree.

Anonymous said...

It's not about better academic outcomes or about transport, it's about creating a local school to serve the community just like schools serve every other town in the county.

People fought hard to keep a tip here which will cost a couple of million. Why? You could drive to Wareham once in a blue moon couldn't you? Why is the idea of having our own school so 600 children don't have to travel every day so controversial?

Anonymous said...

What is the input into the community Swanage is missing out on but Wareham enjoying?

Anonymous said...

I imagine, like 'beauty', 'input is in the eye of the beholder'. Quite frankly, if there were overwhelming support in the town for a new seconadry school, I think I would hear my neighbours talking about it. I do not. In fact, the topic of a new secondary school is hardly discussed at all, and when I have broached it, the response has been unenthusiastic. What I do hear is that parents think their child will benefit from a larger, better funded school setting in Wareham than in a smaller secondary school in Swanage. I am sorry, but that is the straw poll opinion of at least six neighbours of mine with school age children.

Anonymous said...

A sports centre

Anonymous said...

A sports centre? It is at Purbeck School, Wareham, init?? We don't need one in Swanage. After all, our wonderful Town Council sold off the pool/gym at Swanage Bay View that WE paid for!! They don't fancy us getting fit - we might turn up and vote them out of office!!

If STC wants us to access a sports centre, it would be cheaper to give us bus vouchers to Wareham. Like they are doing to our school kiddies. Ship them orf to Wareham and let Swanage die. Swanage is a forgotten town, and STC doesn't care about it!!

Anonymous said...

'I went to Purbeck and it is fine.'

Fine-for what?

'It entails, in fact, a 20 minute journey time, and is a good deal less than that undertaken by millions of children across the country.'

An hour each day for many children, and as there is no after school transport arranged, Swanage children will immediately be disadvantaged. (only one of the problems - but as you mentioned transport. And why feel the need to compare ourselves to other disadvantaged children across the country. We want what's best for 'our' children and 'our' community. We live here not 'elsewhere' And we would like the best. Commuting from the age of 11 is unacceptable.

Get a life and think positively.

Anonymous said...

'Get a life and think positively.'

You have a strange way of trying to influence people to consider your views. Insults win hearts and minds?

I have been trying to get my head around this idea for some time - really, I have studied it with an open and positive mind - but your intemperate comment has made me realise that the people promulgating this fantasy are, well, fantastic, but not in the Disney-esque sense of that word.

Dream your dream, by all means, but it will not happen, whether I 'get a life' or not. It is all too fantastic - and costly - to become a realty. The only way forward would be via the new academy scheme but I fear your comments would divide people who would want to work together to make this happen.

Anonymous said...

The 11 year olds who schlep all the way to the grammar schools seem to survive. Whats the problem with half the distance for other kids?

Anonymous said...

I have a suspicion its the teachers and administrators who might be affected who most want to keep the status quo.

On another tack, I see in today's Echo that Wareham Middle has applied to be considered for academy status. Why hasn't SMS???

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the second paragraph contradict the first. It only appears to be Wareham middle that wants to retain the status quo. Teachers I have spoken to think who whole academy thing is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Teachers don't decide these things, governors do, and I trust they'll take it all a bit more seriously than those you have spoken to. Whatever one's view on academies, this government plans to make every school become one. They are simply starting with those that are outstanding. This is likely to affect every school whether yours makes the change or not.

Anonymous said...

Several corrections;a recent poster seems to have misunderstood my points:

-The government is not planning on making every school an academy. It is planning to offer that option to all qualifying schools who choose that path.

-My comment about teachers making decisions was misconstrued. I stated that I believe those promoting a secondary school for Swanage may have a stake in it; that many may be teachers, administrators (and even governors) whose jobs may be affected when the town's schools change to two tier and SMS vanishes. I state this as I have found very few parents agitated about this issue.

-I see no contradiction between my two paragraphs posted at 10.16; I believe it is possible the strongest voices promoting a new secondary school may well be teachers and others involved in local education; and my observation that WMS has registered an interest in academy status is not only a useful bit of information to pass on, but begs the question why SMS hasn't done the same? If nothing else, applying for academy status for SMS would halt the proposed changes and afford the possibility of the academy extending its range to a secondary school. I would have thought WMS and SMS would be working in tandem on this bit of strategic thinking.



-

Anonymous said...

Perhaps SMS thinks two tier is better for the students, a question that appears to have been submerged with all attention on travel time and the unexplained/imaginary side effects to Swanage of years 6 and 7 going to Warehem

Anonymous said...

I would agree with that view: SMS is not exactly stellar in recent OFSTEDS though the new administration have done some very good things. I presume they will all translate to the new site at Wareham?

Anonymous said...

12.14 I have spoken to many teachers in Swanage and from schools in the Purbeck area who do not support the concept of a secondary school for Swanage. Many are concerned that the plans of Education Swanage may have a detrimental impact on other schools in the area. Neither do they believe that schooling children to the age of 18 in Swanage will be best for them (educationally or socially).

Anonymous said...

10.13

Thanks and well said.

I work in education - not in Purbeck - and it's quite frightening how little we can say - publicly.

The ones I've spoken to have little problem with 2 tier.

Anonymous said...

Another aspect of this - he said anonymously - is that of being comprehensive.

All children deserve a fair chance, don't they?

Whether they're from Swanage, Corfe, Blandford Peverell or London.

Free Schools - my bottom!

Anonymous said...

This article in a the Times Educational Supplement is worth a read. http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6049288&navcode=94
The headline reads:
Less than 50% of academies' passes are academic.
'The statistics also show that the state-funded independents make twice as much use of vocational and other non-GCSE “equivalent” qualifications as other state secondaries.'

A free school in Swanage will be an academy and thus able to decide upon its own curriculum. I can see the benefits of this but would also recommend extreme caution in terms of maintaining academic standards in a school that does not have to follow tha national curriculum.

I envisage a situation where even more parents will select grammar school (or private education if they can afford it) for their children and send them further afield if there is any doubt over the school's ability to provide sufficiently demanding and academic qualifications. Travelling is obviously not an issue for many parents who send their children to Poole and Bournemouth!

Indeed certain subject areas are in jeopardy across the UK. Many smaller , less academic secondary schools already fail to offer 3 separate sciences at GCSE and history and geography are at significant risk. Last year Michael Gove lamented a drop of 31%in the number of pupils studying history. Whilst in some academies, only 5% enter pupils for history gces. In one academy in the Yorkshire and Humber region, out of 150 students only nine were entered for history in 2008-09. No one was entered for geography.

What is shocking is that 0.5% of the current academies 70% A*-to-C rate is in history. On the other hand 18% is in an ICT course (dubbed ‘weak’ by Ofsted).

We should all be cautious of a decline in academic subjects.

Anonymous said...

In fairness we should remember that until now academies have been reborn failing comprehensives in economically and socially deprived locations. If you want to compare exam achievement you need to look at what the schools they replaced managed. The rationale for removing them from LEA control was entirely different from that advanced for making schools which get a good inspection report into academies. The labour idea was to increase resources going to where the need was greatest, this could now be stood on its head.

How Michael Gove squares the circle of wanting to give schools the decision making power over what they teach and also telling us what should be taught as history is something of a mystery. He is trying to wriggle out of it now.

Anonymous said...

1.14 I think your comment @it's not about academic outcomes' is most worrying. We are talking about an educational establishment here. Surely academic outcomes have to be a priority. If not, attempts to lure parents away from Purbeck or the garmmar schools simply will not work. I send my children to school to achieve a certain academic standard. That is my number one priority. Supporting the Swanage community will not help my kids get ahead on the careers ladder. A school that can offer them a range of 'academic' subjects at GCSE will.

Anonymous said...

I agree, in fairness that was the aim but it was not a very successful one. In 2006 Shireland Collegiate Academy in Smethwick, West Midlands was deemed an outstanding school. Since becoming an academy (with the same leadership team and pupil intake)it has been placed into special measures because it “failed to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education” (Ofsted). Relinquishing control from the Local Authority does not necessarily mean that standards will rise or even be maintained.

Anonymous said...

9.58 thank you for pointing that out. The Tories are using the academy laws introduced by Labour rather than creating new ones to set up schools, but how they are being used is very different. That's not to say we shouldn't be very careful about what we sign up to.

10.11 Academic excellence would of course be a main aim of the school, but what I meant is that it is not a main reason to have a LOCAL school (because you can get that now by sending your children 10 or more miles). The reason to have a local school is to have all the facilities and benefits, including pride in the town, something clearly lacking in some posters. We are working with experts on how to achieve great results, including those with SEN.

We have spoken to people at Bournemouth Uni and planners for the Thames Gateway who study the effects of schools on town regenerationn and degeneration. They all say we can expect families to move away and for the population to age once all secondary education is removed. We already have a lower percentage of children than Wareham, although of course we still have twice as many children because we are so much bigger.
These planners would say that Lyme and Bridport might have even fewer children if they did not have schools.

We asked DCC repeatedly for an economic impact assessment of their plans, but they refused. We are now working on raising the funds to pay for an independent study ourselves. To set up a free school it is not necessary to show need for a school, only demand, but we want people to understand the likely effects of being the only town in Dorset without a secondary. We were invited to be part of a debate on Radio 5 and even the spokesman for the Anti Academies Alliance said we should have a school.

Anonymous said...

I would worry that in starting a new secondary school in swanage our youngsters would have an increased risk of becoming socially isolated with little chance of making friends outside of swanage.

Anonymous said...

Is having friends outside the area so normal? Most children, even those in London, don't mix with all that wide a group until they leave home, go to college etc. We have a lot of children in the town and they are more diverse than in the rest of Purbeck. We also enjoy more cultural events than many towns and this could be improved with a school here.

In any case a school could counter the perceived danger by forging close links with other schools in the area, across the UK and abroad. As it's going to be an excellent school, pupils would also come here from other areas to reverse the current trend.

Anonymous said...

I know that people can be fickle. but if you remove a couple of years of education then many young families are going to leave, is what you seem to be saying

Please do me a favour, most families can't afford to move, many don't want to. The few who can - it's a free country, ha ha.

When we had the Grammar, 11 year olds came from a damn site further than Wareham, and you're suggesting that in 40 years they've become too fragile.

Agenda - middle class, and Purbeck's nasty!

Anonymous said...

Could someone spell out what these benefits for the town are supposed to be and how they are to be found in Bridport, Lyme Regis, Blandford Forum, Wareham etc but not here.What happens in them because there is a secondary school that would not happen if it was some miles away?

Having some people move away would reduce housing pressure, reduce traffic on the A351 and could be an improvement. If people are willing to sacrifice the live-style benefits of living in Swanage solely because it takes 11 year olds 20 or 30 minutes to get to school I am sure we can get by without them.

Anonymous said...

" Is having friends outside the area so normal?"

Yes I think so. Which is why I would be reluctant to send any of my 4 children to a new swanage secondary.
There's so much to learn about life from meeting people from outside the swanage bubble, I don't think its healthy to cocoon kids and keep them isolated.
I wish you luck with it, but I can't support it.

Anonymous said...

It's a point I don't understand. Where will the children come from at Purbeck or other local schools to expand your children's horizons? Surely they will be from the same type of background and environment, probably from a small village? So is what you want not a different view of life but just more children for them to mix with? Is that because you feel they don't have enough of the right type of children to be friends with in Swanage?

I am not being argumentative, I'm just interested as it's a concern a few people raise, but usually they have been to Purbeck and see that as the norm.

Anonymous said...

4.49 says "As it's going to be an excellent school, pupils would also come here from other areas to reverse the current trend."
I admire your confidence but this should not be taken for granted. And as someone put it earlier, even outstanding schools can rapidly lose their standards without the support of the local authority. Just because it's set up by parents and interested parties does not mean that it will be excellent.

Anonymous said...

8:21 As I see it, it's not simply that the kids are 'very different' in Wareham or beyond but the fact that there is a larger peer group. Hence more people to choose from to build friendships with. I have known a few kids who have found it hard to find a kindrid spirit in Swanage - they are maybe not your run of the mill students. But going to Purbeck where there is a larger pupil population has been a relief for them. I can't imagine having being stuck with the same, limited peer group myself for the entire duration of my teenage years. This is also one reason why kids leave Purbeck and go to college instead of the 6th form.

Anonymous said...

I would like to express agreement with 9.23. Our children benefited from escaping the confines of Swanage and having friends outside the town. They both fared well at Purbeck which was a lot more ready to accept their eccentricities and those of their friends than middle school had been.

The consensus seemed to be that Purbeck supported students who wanted to achieve academically but also respected those who, perhaps unwisely, did not see university as the destination they were aiming for.

I am still waiting to hear what the students at a Swanage secondary would get out of it that is beyond the reach of Purbeck.

Anonymous said...

So if, back in 1974, DCC had built the Purbeck School in Swanage, would it still be confining or would that be OK because more children come here?

This is obviously the dilemma facing Wareham parents, who live in a town half the size.

Anonymous said...

If Education Swanage receives approval to create a new school, I presume there would still be the option to send children to Purbeck School. A new secondary school would then operate alongside, and not instead of, Purbeck School. If this action group summons up the necessary support to go ahead, and parents still have the option of Purbeck School, the upside would be more parental choice. The question is: can the area afford both schools without one or the other being adversely affected?

A personal note: I have participated in the creation and foundation of two new schools, one in the UK and one in America. I would warn that it could possibly take at least seven years for a new school to 'bed down' and reach satisfactory or better standards. In other words, there will be an element of risk for the first generation or so that passes through the new school. Parents will need to take this risk factor on board as they decide what is best.

I cannot envisage a new school becoming the only option for Swanage parents.

Anonymous said...

This is a fundemental problem with the whole plan. When it comes down to actually having to make a choice, how many parents will be prepared to risk their child's one and only chance at education? Especially when there is a perfectly good school 20 mins from Swanage. Surely Education Swanage will need to prove sufficient demand for a new school. I would have thought that their plans depend upon the vast majority opting to send their children to school in Swanage. I can't see how parents who are sufficiently concerned about their children's education to pay for private schooling and/or tuition to pass the 11+ will be prepared to risk a school with an unproven results.

Anonymous said...

It's true but is The Purbeck going to be fit for purpose, increasing in size by 50% on a fraction of the money originally promised. That is also a gamble. People say it was fine when they went there as an upper school but no one has been there from the age of 11 and knows what it will be like as a secondary. For that matter, will the first schools be good at being primaries?

Anonymous said...

At the moment Purbeck School has one year to sort out any problems and deficits their pupils arrive with from middle school before their GCSE courses start. This is a real problem. Teachers I have spoken to from the school think that two more years will make a big difference.

Anonymous said...

This is becoming a very healthy and productive debate. It would appear that, due to a variety of factors, every option is going to present real challenges exacerbated by an increasing lack of funding (the government proposed slashing the new build scheme last night, adding misery to woe for school development across the nation).

As a governor and a former head, in my humble opinion the least risky (and most readily sorted) option would be to go as planned to two tier education, and then focus all available resources, minds and effort on getting things up and running at an enlarged Purbeck School. This will not please Education Swanage, but neither will it prevent it from starting up a small, optional secondary new school in Swanage, if that remains its choice. I predict that a new school will have a very small uptake in the first seven years, perhaps not enough to make it a viable option in the long term - but the option is there.

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to believe that Swanage confines children, there's so much for them to do if they actually want to or the parents are inspired enough to encourage them to. I have 2 children and if I had the choice of educating them locally then I would certainly choose that option. Surely a secondary school in Swanage could work in Partnership with Purbeck which could benefit all the children in Purbeck.

12.14 Why hasn't SMS applied for Academy status - I'm sure I heard that to apply for Academy status the school has to be rated as Outstanding which unfortunately at its last Ofsted SMS wasn't, although if had another one now it probably would be.

I suppose what we all have to agree with is that it comes down to parental choice, at the moment parents in Swanage have no choice of secondary school, if Education Swanage succeed then they will have the choice

Anonymous said...

Believe me, we appreciate the challenges and throwing our all into helping the Purbeck is an option we keep coming back to. (And there is no reason why each route has to be mutually exclusive).

But it completely avoids addressing the problems that Swanage will face in being treated as a village of the market town of Wareham. 1974 was the thin end of the wedge, now we are getting the fat end.

Anonymous said...

I suppose any geographer will conclude that it is Wareham's position as a transport 'node' between points south, west, north and east that resulted in its choice for Purbeck's secondary school back in 1974. Fairness, based solely upon population densities, might have favoured Swanage, but another decision was taken, probably a permanent one.
It is this very factor of geography that resulted in a number of local prep schools to leave the Swanage area for more convenient locations, such as Durlston Court, Forres and more recently The Old Malthouse. I believe it was Dick Morris of Forres who described his catchment area as surrounded by sheep on two sides and fish on two others.

I return to my thesis that Swanage kids can have a real presence at Purbeck School (same for Bovington kids) - based upon social groupings such as houses, or the like, if this is in fact considered appropriate - or necessary. Personally I do not. Swanage kids will make their presence felt without our social engineering! I am prepared to give our children more credit for making this a success than some of us are doing! Will the heart of Swanage be removed if we lack a secondary school in town? One cannot tell, but we haven't had one beyond middle school years for decades. I am of the belief that people and communities adapt to realities and any adverse effects will ameliorate over time, sometimes very quickly. On the other hand, Swanage kids will become a real presence at Purbeck School due to their very number; and might well bring Swanage to Wareham in such a way that it is Wareham that should be concerned!

In the absence of an eleventh-hour change from local government, let's prepare ourselves to give it a chance and see if an enlarged Purbeck School will settle down in its own way, and to our satisfaction, as time goes on. I am now absolutely convinced that there will be no money for a new-build, state secondary school running in tandem with Purbeck School, in Swanage. Whatever money that will be available for the transition will be juggled from existing or planned budgets. It will be spent more effectively improving one split site campus in Wareham, than expanding that site to accommodate two closing middle schools, while new-building a new secondary school in Swanage.

On that basis, I think we should direct our concerns towards the powers that be to make certain this transition is sufficiently funded; that transport is well planned; that the junior school changes are properly done; and meanwhile Education Swanage can pursue a new school for those (a minority, I suspect) who cannot accept the concept of one secondary school for Purbeck. This will cover all concerned parties' views, perhaps not to everyone's ideal, but then again, isn't life full of compromises?

Anonymous said...

I suppose any geographer will conclude that it is Wareham's position as a transport 'node' between points south, west, north and east that resulted in its choice for Purbeck's secondary school back in 1974. Fairness, based solely upon population densities, might have favoured Swanage, but another decision was taken, probably a permanent one.

It is this very factor of geography that resulted in a number of local prep schools to leave the Swanage area for more convenient locations, such as Durlston Court, Forres and more recently The Old Malthouse. I believe it was Dick Morris of Forres who described his catchment area as surrounded by sheep on two sides and fish on two others.

I return to my thesis that Swanage kids can have a real presence at Purbeck School (same for Bovington kids) - based upon social groupings such as houses, or the like, if this is in fact considered appropriate - or necessary. Personally I do not. Swanage kids will make their presence felt without our social engineering! I am prepared to give our children more credit for making this a success than some of us are doing! Will the heart of Swanage be removed if we lack a secondary school in town? One cannot tell, but we haven't had one beyond middle school years for decades. I am of the belief that people and communities adapt to realities and any adverse effects will ameliorate over time, sometimes very quickly. On the other hand, Swanage kids will become a real presence at Purbeck School due to their very number; and might well bring Swanage to Wareham in such a way that it is Wareham that should be concerned!


(continued....)

Anonymous said...

(......continued)

In the absence of an eleventh-hour change from local government, let's prepare ourselves to give it a chance and see if an enlarged Purbeck School will settle down in its own way, and to our satisfaction, as time goes on. I am now absolutely convinced that there will be no money for a new-build, state secondary school running in tandem with Purbeck School, in Swanage. Whatever money that will be available for the transition will be juggled from existing or planned budgets. It will be spent more effectively improving one split site campus in Wareham, than expanding that site to accommodate two closing middle schools, while new-building a new secondary school in Swanage.

On that basis, I think we should direct our concerns towards the powers that be to make certain this transition is sufficiently funded; that transport is well planned; that the junior school changes are properly done; and meanwhile Education Swanage can pursue a new school for those (a minority, I suspect) who cannot accept the concept of one secondary school for Purbeck. This will cover all concerned parties' views, perhaps not to everyone's ideal, but then again, isn't life full of compromises?

Anonymous said...

My apologies for posting twice; Blogger told me the first post was too long, but went on to post it anyway!

Anonymous said...

'But it completely avoids addressing the problems that Swanage will face in being treated as a village of the market town of Wareham. 1974 was the thin end of the wedge, now we are getting the fat end.'

Is this perhaps partly due to the fact that Wareham has a Town Council while Swanage has a Parish Council (masquerading as a town council) and, as such, is not accorded the same level of 'importance' as Wareham?

This is another blog topic, but is it perhaps time that Swanage's local government be 'elevated' from a parish to a town?

Anonymous said...

I think you will find they are both town councils covering civil parishes, in other words parish councils with the same legal status. STC does not like to be reminded of its status. There is no hard and fast definition of a town. At one time the best working definition from geographers was that a town had a branch of Woolworths but a village did not. Wareham was therefore a village to the great joy of Swanage geographers. Can you think of an up to date definition?

Anonymous said...

The 1974 reorganisation of Local Councils created Borough Councils - Purbeck - which consist of Parishes, so as you quite rightly say, Wareham and Swanage are both Parish Councils as are Langton and Arne etc.

A possible olde definition was that a town had a market, which to me seems to say that Wareham is a Town, but not Swanage.

Arrgh, who knows?

Anonymous said...

District rather than borough councils were created in 1974 and were quite unfamiliar. Because ours had it office in Wareham the impression was created that the power of that places town council was being increased and it was to exercise an imperium over Swanage. Town council officials when asked about any matter that had been transferred to the district said "that comes under Wareham now" in resigned tones. Councillors were able to blame decisions people complained about on "Wareham" and the cult of Swanage victim-hood grew.

Anonymous said...

It sounds as thought the leaders of Swanage buckled under the perceived slight, and have done so ever since. So the perception of subservience to Wareham is self-inflicted, then? That says a lot. Rather too much. We have no one to blame but ourselves. Perhaps this notion is more in our own psyche than it is in reality?

If Swanage thinking has become that parochial, I for one most assuredly want my children educated at secondary level in a large school - in Wareham!

Anonymous said...

Or instil a bit of civic pride in future generations by getting our own school back?

Anonymous said...

Well, it certainly has been an interesting conversation! Have I got this right? In summary:

-we will go to two tier in 2013.

-there will not be a state funded, new secondary school in Swanage. Reason - no money.

-SMS will close in 2013, its facilities taken over by St Mark's and St George's, the fate of the old buildings unknown.

-the other first/primary schools will carry on, as is.

-from 2013 all 11 and older Swanage pupils will be sent to an enlarged (ca 1600) Purbeck School.

-Education Swanage may attempt to create a 'new' secondary school, possibly at the old grammar school, if it can convince enough parents to take a punt on a new, unproven school, and can take on the management of it.

Is that about where things stand? If so, it seems all we need to hear about is this new school idea. Everything else fits the county's plan.

Can we accept they aren't going to build us a secondary school in Swanage, or shall we continue to flog this very, very dead horse?? If you do feel the old nag is still alive, do tell where the government money will come from.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how this civic pride manifests itself. Wareham must have a lot of it, as must Wimborne, Blandford, Beaminster, Gillingham etc, etc. How do you measure it and show that having less of it is detrimental? If it can't be measured how do you know we have less of it here?

Anonymous said...

From my perspective, my civic pride in Swanage begins when I drive into it along one of the two main roads, see the bay, the downs, the pier, a white puff of smoke from a steam locomotive, the Isle of Wight glistening in the distance......these are things those aforementioned places will never have. My civic pride cannot be 'bought'; it is what I possess in my heart because I choose to live here.

And, as they grow and mature, my children will develop this same sense of pride in Swanage every time they return 'home' from school in Wareham. Indeed, spending part of their childhood away from Swanage can only serve to increase the bond they have with it.

Anonymous said...

That's not civic pride, that's geography. Civic pride is about building up amenities, infrastructure and community facilities for the good of the local people. Having a town hall, parks, library, sports grounds/halls, a railway, and schools. It's about having the ambition to reconnect the railway to the mainline rather than just being nostalgic.

Anonymous said...

Apart from the town hall and parks those are all things that are not decided at Swanage level when it comes to funding. Unfortunately our role is that of supplicant asking politely for them. How does one take pride in the town as a result of what the county and district councils do?

Anonymous said...

And, I meant to say, apart from the railway, they are provided by precisely those councils which are so frequently the butt of criticism from so many posters on here.

If we are proud of our parks then we must be proud of our town council and the job it does.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I must vehemently disagree - civic pride is not just about pride in infrastrucure. It is the pride we find within ourselves for a place, its people, its amenities and, yes, its infrastructure.

It sounds as though Swanage needs to fight to move from its 'Ruritanian mind set' and free itself from some of the overriding control of PDC and DCC. Perhaps Mr. Drax needs to draw up plans for local government rationalisation, reorganistation or even abolition. I suspect Mr. Cameron would favour the concept. The present government seems on a course to devolve power from county and district education chiefs to parents and governors, bypassing local education chiefs. What's to stop some aspects of this concept being extended to district and county halls?

Anonymous said...

"The present government seems on a course to devolve power from county and district education chiefs to parents and governors ..."

Or to put it another way, the present gov't want to take away local control and centralise it. Parents and Gov's will be responsible to central gov't.

Parents and gov's already have a lot of power supported by the LEA, where's that support going to come from now? The LEA 'freed of the shackles' might just start charging open market prices.

Anonymous said...

Local education "chiefs"? That, if you don't mind me saying so, is pure tabloid speak. Its a short headline word, meaning what exactly? What are the alternatives? Gove's minions as central government chiefs? Hand over the management of the education of our children to well meaning amateur "chiefs".

Moving away from the fevered imagination of the headline writers for a moment do you really imagine the penny pinching tories who have had a centuries undisturbed tenure of county hall are in the habit of employing loads of people in posts that are not needed for service delivery?

Anonymous said...

Its about insulating their children from the non-aspirational element, lest they become contaminated.

What tosh !!

Anonymous said...

'There is in my view no reason short of lack of will to prevent the Council from doing this itself, thereby achieving two tier and making peace with Education Swanage. Children will still go to Purbeck for 6th Form and those parents who prefer Purbeck will still have that option. If the council is willing to let the site to a new school organisation, it can spare itself the expense and effort and still achieve its goals of two tier (unless retaining absolute control is high up in its priorities).'

And that is the problem, there is no will, no will at all from DCC to support a Secondary School for Swanage. Swanage has been denied access to this Secondary School Site in the reorganisation to 2 tier, because DCC has decided that the right thing is to put the smallest first/primary school on this site. DCC say that there is no site/no school is available that could be used as a secondary school and it would cost 14 million!! (how did they come up with this figure)? This of course is untrue, if the SMS site /previous Secondary site could be released by DCC, then this would make a perfect site. But-a large group have had a positive 'will' to work with DCC, and they did not want to know, so Swanage and surrounding villages are taking up the opportunity that has been given to them, and that is to put DCC in the past tense and move forward in a positive direction.

It's DCC (officers and cabinet) that appear not to have 'the will'.
And that's the shame of it all.

Anonymous said...

And, as they grow and mature, my children will develop this same sense of pride in Swanage every time they return 'home' from school in Wareham. Indeed, spending part of their childhood away from Swanage can only serve to increase the bond they have with it.

Your letter started off so well-describing Swanage perfectly. So what is wrong with children being edcuated within the community where they live. How can they build up a sense of pride in the town, if they spend very little of their time within this community? Is there something wrong with Swanage that has gone unnoticed? I cannot understand why hundreds of children being trasported away from all that it has to offer can be such a positive thing. If Swanage is such a wonderful place (as you say) then why put your child on a bus each day to send them somewhere else. Its not as though the 'outskirts' of Wareham is going to have an awfull lot to offer kids. Is it really going to expand their life reaching experience. At about 13 or 14 children will be ready to seek out public transport at the weekend and put themselves on a bus to Poole or Bournemouth to spread their wings and fly !

Anonymous said...

Can you point to some evidence that Swanage children have less pride in their town than children who are educated in their home town? Why make sweeping statements like this with absolutely no evidence whatsoever? Its absurd. Can we please, please have evidence based policies.

Anonymous said...

However noble, these arguments in favour of a new secondary school in Swanage are moot. There simply is no money to build a new secondary school in Swanage at this time. If you think there is, kindly produce evidence to this effect. From which government fund(s), already apportioned, will the millions be found?

Anonymous said...

........silence.........

The question has been answered!

Anonymous said...

Its a good question. Gove thought he could snaffle funding from underspending on the school building programme for his pet project but the treasury rapidly disabused him of that idea. There seems to be an awkward silence and shuffling of feet going on at the moment.

If it does happen I will be very, very surprised if we don't find the payer of the fiddler in Westminster calling the tune in Swanage. However, as all the advocates of this school are bothered about is geography, it will not be a problem.

Anonymous said...

It looks as if Mr. Gove has had to do a bit of 'dancing to the fiddler' in Westminster today!

Judging by the huge number of school projects that have been placed on hold or canceled, it is entirely clear now that it may be years before a new secondary school for Swanage could be built, if ever. SMS will by then be St. Marks/Georges, and the transition of younger pupils to Purbeck School will have happened, and this whole proposal will have died away.

For goodness sake, let's acknowledge reality and use our energy and talent to ensure this transition to two-tier is done correctly. Forget the new secondary school - it is an unattainable illusion!

Anonymous said...

There's an absolute moral bottom line here.

Gove and the coalition Government have scrapped plans to rebuild or improve 700 schools, leaving some existing schools in dire need, with their hopes dashed.
Gove IS planning to divert some of the savings from axeing this Building Schools for the Future into his centrally funded New Schools programme.

This will take money away from existing state schools, to give it to parent promoters, and potentially ailing private schools wishing to convert to academies.

It's very 'Sheriff of Nottingham' and hard to spin as 'fair'.

BTW: At one point, Gove was looking into taking money from the Free School Meals budget to help pay for these New Schools.
Nicking the poor kids' lunch money?
..... Says it all, really!!

Anonymous said...

Watching Michael Gove wriggle as he spoke in the Commons yesterday, and observing the palpably nervous discomfort of those on his own side of the House, I would wager that (1) he will soon resign or (2) his ability to push through the comprehensive new school agenda will be placed on the back burner, watered down and eventually halted. He has singularly lost the confidence of many coalition MPs; the universally-optional 'new school' proposal is not, and never was, at the forefront or even footnote of most MP's agenda; MP's defection from this 'cause' is particularly likely if just one school, incompetently misnamed on that botched list, is within his or her constituency.

This is yet another reason why we must stop wasting time and energy chasing false rainbows, and accept the inevitability of two tier/Purbeck education which WILL come to Swanage, and make it succeed for OUR children.

Anonymous said...

Say what you will about the conservative party but being a crackpot has never been an impediment to holding high office or being a ministerial advisor. I am old enough to remember Enoch Powell's mad eyes and crazy warnings. Most tory MPs are decent apolitical types quite unable to distinguish between a policy and a loopy obsession. If it gets a sympathetic headline in the Telegraph they can nod in approval before moving on to the sports pages. If it upsets the left so much the better.

Anonymous said...

I can understand the last post but with respect I would like to add two points:

-It works the same Labour politicians as for Tory.

-In these days, public scrutiny is such that an Enoch Powell would not survive long.

Anonymous said...

So - is Education Swanage finished? There hasn't been an update on its website for weeks.

Anonymous said...

-It works the same Labour politicians as for Tory.

I am not so sure about that. The loony left are kept well away from important ministries when we have a labour government. There is a sort of collective funk when it comes to socialism that does not seem to have a counterpart on the other side.

Anonymous said...

Before we descend into Labour bashing and Tory baiting, let's pause and reflect on just how close Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister came to describing Whitehall. Much of the shenanigans involve the civil service. We tend to observe only our elected politicians.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Yes, no doubt there is a good deal of yes ministering going on now and sympathetic nods in the club over a glass of sherry when a PS says he has a minister with "ideas". Thats one that wont have changed.

Anonymous said...

Within this coalition, some may ask:

Exactly what does Nick Clegg stand for?

The answer: Nick Clegg stands for David Cameron - whenever the latter enters the room!

Anonymous said...

Regarding a new secondary school for Swanage, Alice said it best:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbNEOJMGFAo

Anonymous said...

The latest rumour is that two tier will be shelved for the time being.

Has anyone else heard this?? It would make a lot of sense since the economy is down the crapper.

Anonymous said...

Where has this rumour come from?
Dorset County Council seem pretty unmovable in their plans, so it would take a lot to shift them.

Anonymous said...

It appears DCC's game plan is to sell the Wareham Middle School site to a supermarket chain. I wonder what they have in mind for Sandford and Bovington. Both are too close to heath to become housing.

Anonymous said...

Please could you point to the source of this knowledge.

Anonymous said...

It was shown as the preferred option on one of the PDC displays at the consultation event last week. These were printed versions of material you can find on their web-site.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but even if the previous posters are correct about Wareham Middle being sold to a supermarket chain (instead, presumably, of being used as a sixth form centre of the Purbeck School), I fail to see why this meand 'the plans for 2 tier are being shelved'.

Surely if Wareham Middle is being considered as available for sale, then it means the plans for 2 tier are going ahead?

Can you explain?

Anonymous said...

We are at cross purposes. The sale of WMS would clearly be contingent on the move to 2 tier. It was someone else who suggested this had been abandoned.

Anonymous said...

With any luck, the move to two tier will be postponed, if not abandoned, until the present rounds of swinging government cut backs happen and the dust settles.

Who know, maybe the county council education geniuses who rammed this through will be on for the chop?

Anonymous said...

Can you point to some evidence that Swanage children have less pride in their town than children who are educated in their home town? Why make sweeping statements like this with absolutely no evidence whatsoever? Its absurd. Can we please, please have evidence based policies.

The evidence is very easy to find. Try books and google - you will soon find plenty of sources, if this is what you require. You may decide not to believe them though.

Anonymous said...

7.11 Whatever your stance on the issue, your post is so intellectually lazy is beggars disbelief.

My kids love school at Purbeck, and love Swanage. I don't need to google that!!

Anonymous said...

Its good to know that someone is happy.

Did you go to the Core Strategy drop in to express your views ?

Anonymous said...

I agree with 7.21 and my kids are fine at school. And yes I went to the core strategy drop in and yes I told them my thoughts. Purbeck is a really supportive and good school. I don't think we need a vanity new school here.

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to add my agreement and support to the comments made by 7:21 and 9:33. I am very happy to send my children to Purbeck School and would do so again even if it was from the age of eleven. It is good to hear some balance in opinion for a change.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous several posters. My children are very happy and well-supported at Purbeck, and are achieving well. I have found the school very approachable, and communication is very quick and efficient.

Actually, reading back through the thread, it would seem that the majority of posters on here feel the same way. I wonder what percentage of the town really do want a Swanage secondary?

Anonymous said...

I had a little chat with other SMS parents and the short of it is none of them thought a new school is a good idea. Everybody is happy with Purbeck School, even at 11.

If they can't get enough parent support, isn't a new school doomed from the start?

Anonymous said...

"The evidence is very easy to find. Try books and google - you will soon find plenty of sources, if this is what you require."

For the benefit of the unenlightened could you give us links to the material you have in mind, the titles and authors of the books which support the proposition. If you want to convince us it is up to you to furnish evidence rather than airily brush aside the trifling question of substantiating your claim that children who live in places without secondary schools have less pride in their town. By the way, how does this notion play with Wool, Bere Regis, Corfe Castle. It may well be easier to demonstrate the opposite proposition entirely.

Anonymous said...

12.12 Don't worry - I saw that poster off a few days ago. His/her lack of substance did his/her cause no good.

Here's a challenge to 'Carl' - produce one - just one - bona fide parent of a child in a Swanage primary school who wants an aspirational, untried new school over Purbeck School, which is up and runny really quite well?

Anonymous said...

!

Do you reckon Carl can produce himself.

Anonymous said...

We just moved into Swanage. We were told about Education Swanage by some other parents. So we did a bit of looking.

Who is this group anyway? No information or 'about us' is listed on the website (the domain ownership of the website it 'anonymous' which is unusual). Is it a charity? An action committee? I see Facebook references to a Helen O'Connor and Paul Angel. I presume they are behind this? Who are you people? Are you recognised by any official organisation, town, sdistrict or countt councils, or are you just a few people with a domain name and some web page design experience? Your web site is a mystery.

Why do I ask about your business?? These are our children you are proposing to affect. Who are you?? What authority do you have?? I think we have a right to know.

Paul Angel said...

There are some funny people on here - you post your comments anonymously and then accuse people of being secretive and anonymous!

Education Swanage, as it says on the website, "are a group of local parents, community members, TAs, teachers, governors and local councillors" We are recognised as a community group by STC, PDC, DCC and HMG. It's true that there are no names because we're not the sort of group that has a 'leader' and a committee. Yet. We set up in a hurry in response to the DCC consultation and we are only now establishing ourselves fully as an 'official' body. At that point we'll have a page of individual contacts.

Our intention from the outset was to see parents consulted on a school in Swanage, because parents were not asked in the first round of consultation about their preferences for secondary schooling, only a change in the pyramid. Parents in Bere Regis and Sandford were asked, but not Swanage. DCC wouldn't do it, so we hope to carry out some form of survey of parents to see what the support is for a school here. From our point of view this is not about whether Purbeck is a good or bad school, either - I happen to think that it's a good school, but I want Swanage to have a good school too, like every other town in Dorset. Nobody will be forced to send their children to school here - some parents will want to choose the school in Wareham, just as many parents already choose schools in Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Lytchett already.

If you have serious questions or concerns please email us through the Education Swanage website at www.educationswanage.co.uk as then you are guaranteed an answer, plus the satisfaction of knowing that we've read what you've had to say!

I'm posting this because the last post was so bizarre that somebody rang me to tell me about it - the anonymous poster found out who two of us are through Facebook and there's an email address on the website so you can always get in touch. As regards 'authority' - well, we have no more authority than any other community group and the only way a Free School can happen is if we demonstrate the support of parents and the local community. So far the support has been strong - particularly amongst parents - though how many of those parents are 'bona fide' I couldn't say!

Paul Angel

Paul Angel said...

There are some funny people on here - you post your comments anonymously and then accuse people of being secretive and anonymous!

Education Swanage, as it says on the website, "are a group of local parents, community members, TAs, teachers, governors and local councillors" We are recognised as a community group by STC, PDC, DCC and HMG. It's true that there are no names because we're not the sort of group that has a 'leader' and a committee. Yet. We set up in a hurry in response to the DCC consultation and we are only now establishing ourselves fully as an 'official' body. At that point we'll have a page of individual contacts.

Our intention from the outset was to see parents consulted on a school in Swanage, because parents were not asked in the first round of consultation about their preferences for secondary schooling, only a change in the pyramid. Parents in Bere Regis and Sandford were asked, but not Swanage. DCC wouldn't do it, so we hope to carry out some form of survey of parents to see what the support is for a school here. From our point of view this is not about whether Purbeck is a good or bad school, either - I happen to think that it's a good school, but I want Swanage to have a good school too, like every other town in Dorset. Nobody will be forced to send their children to school here - some parents will want to choose the school in Wareham, just as many parents already choose schools in Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Lytchett already.

If you have serious questions or concerns please email us through the Education Swanage website at www.educationswanage.co.uk as then you are guaranteed an answer, plus the satisfaction of knowing that we've read what you've had to say!

I'm posting this because the last post was so bizarre that somebody rang me to tell me about it - the anonymous poster found out who two of us are through Facebook and there's an email address on the website so you can always get in touch. As regards 'authority' - well, we have no more authority than any other community group and the only way a Free School can happen is if we demonstrate the support of parents and the local community. So far the support has been strong - particularly amongst parents - though how many of those parents are 'bona fide' I couldn't say!

Paul Angel

Paul said...

And well done me for posting that twice..!

Anonymous said...

Paul, I think that the previous poster had a perfectly valid question and I also don't see anything 'funny' about them posting anonymously. The context is quite different - you want us to believe that Education Swanage is a viable organisation who can be trusted with the providing the best education for the children of Swanage. Of course people are going to want to know who you and the other members of your group are.
It is interesting to read that your group consists of TAs (teaching assistants?)and teachers. Can you please tell us how many of them are actually teaching staff? and how many are parents?

Anonymous said...

Paul said 'If you have serious questions or concerns please email us through the Education Swanage website at www.educationswanage.co.uk as then you are guaranteed an answer, plus the satisfaction of knowing that we've read what you've had to say!

I'm posting this because the last post was so bizarre that somebody rang me to tell me about it'

I find the tone of this rather patronising and I would have thought not the best way of getting the people of Swanage behind you(including people new to the area). Why don't you consider their question to be serious?

Paul also said 'Nobody will be forced to send their children to school here - some parents will want to choose the school in Wareham, just as many parents already choose schools in Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Lytchett already.'
Isn't this going to be the biggest stumbling block? If all of the people who have commented on here (and many more who have said so in conversations)remain happy to educate their children at Purbeck/Grammar/Private schools, there surely won't be sufficient numbers to fill a new free school in Swanage.

Anonymous said...

Agree.
It would seem that the viability of the new free school rests on having a very high percentage of the children in Swanage choose the new secondary school.
This seems far from certain.

Anonymous said...

"It would seem that the viability of the new free school rests on having a very high percentage of the children in Swanage choose the new secondary school."

Not exactly as there is nowhere to put it. The owners of the old grammar school want to make mega-bucks from housing and a granny farm. St Marks will be shunted into SMS which leaves their tiny 1850s building with four classrooms. How you would teach 11-16 year olds there is an interesting question.

Anonymous said...

At the Mowlem consultation I thought the developer's plan to knock down the grammar school and build an exact replica as a care home said a lot for how people see the town. Retirement village.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear - I seem to have caused a ruckus! My apologies to Paul, and thank you for your reply. You see, moving from south Herts. I have experienced some quite frightening parent groups trying to 'hijack' our schools for their own 'causes'. This is really quite out of control there, so perhaps you can understand my concerns about the motives behind 'Education Swanage'.

Before moving here, after the breakup of my marriage, I did a lot of research into schools for my two sons. I am relieved that they are out of that educational pressure cooker that is Brookman's Park but a little wary that schools here might be a bit, shall I say, relaxed? However, I am happy to accept that as long as my children can be children again, and not 'little old men' that schooling north of London forces them too be (the site of my little lads walking to school carrying black brief cases and wearing black suit (!) (too much like their father!!!) really depressed me. Here they delight in learning about nature, the seaside, and just being boys).

I am happy with schools here at the mo and I am very interested in what will happen at Purbeck, but I cannot say I am happy to risk a 'new' school for my sons. Sorry, but I wish you well. I am aware that I have options; I am looking at Castle Court and possibly Canford (their father will pay - damn right!!) so I am fortunate. But I would prefer them to be educated in Purbeck.

One suggestion: could you post the info you provided here on the website? It will help panicky people like me! Thanks, and good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure a school can be too relaxed. Many of them go to the other extreme. The approach of the former head of Parkstone Grammar for example was to impose a petty tyranny over trivia so that her students never got on to real issues. It always looks very odd when schools say they are there to encourage individualism and then insist on everyone dressing the same and following obedience rituals like standing up on command. Purbeck was mercifully largely free of this type of nonsense when my children went there. We also found that the teachers were very supportive of academic ambition but did not seek to impose it on reluctant students. The choice, in many ways comes down to whether you are willing to respect your children's choices both of school and what they do at school. Do they want to go to Purbeck? Surely that is the first thing to find out.

Paul Angel said...

I do understand concerns about our motives - our group was initially the same people who'd campaigned to try to stop the middle school closing because of the negative affect of school closures on a) the children involved and b) the town that's left without a school.

To answer one of the questions here: of the people working on the research at the moment there are 12 parents, 3 teachers (secondary level), 2 TAs and 3 people who are parents of older children. 6 of these are also governors at various schools. Of people who've signed up to the mailing list so far, or offered support verbally or via email, probably 60% are parents.

Hope that helps. We're not trying to be in any way secretive in any way!

At the moment something like 22% of Swanage children don't go on to Purbeck. There is good evidence to suggest that many of these parents would have chosen a school close to home if the option had been available. What we're hearing is that given that children have to travel anyway, a lot of parents think that they might as well choose a school a bit further away that they percieve to be better.

Regarding a building - we're in talks with various people about this. I'm always optimistic (a rarity on Swanage View!) but lets wait and see how the talks pan out.

Anonymous said...

'At the moment something like 22% of Swanage children don't go on to Purbeck. There is good evidence to suggest that many of these parents would have chosen a school close to home if the option had been available.'
Please provide this evidence. 12.25 has said that they are considering a private school but is not happy to 'risk' a new school. My opinion is that many other parents would feel the same. A new school will take time to establish itself and for standards to be proven. Why would parents who are concerned enough to bypass Purbeck School be prepared to take the risk?

Anonymous said...

Well I'd be tempted if it had fantastic facilities, the right curriculum choices and support for my children and staff with a proven track record. Whether that is what's going to be on offer is a different matter

DrArnold said...

I am a retired head who has had the experience of starting a school from scratch. We were fortunate to have everything - more or less - available, a good staff, good governors and committed parents.

It still took about six or seven years - a whole generation of pupils - before the school was functioning very well, in my opinion. By that I mean that it was neither substandard, nor wanting for anything - I suppose it can be likened to having a baby - but it takes a while - years - for things to 'bed down' while the school develops its personality and 'character'. I have witnessed several academies fail in the first years. Success is up to good governance and more than a bit of luck.

I would be hesitant to start up a new secondary school where GCSEs or A Level examinations are involved, but that is a personal view. I think a new secondary school might work well using the IB exams. In a perfect world, the best thing for Swanage would have been to expand the school a year at a time from the present middle school, until it transitions to a secondary school, so that growth is carefully managed within an existing school. This might be one way to build a 'new' school - start with the existing middle school years, and add years as children rise up the school, for slow but steady growth. I understand the Council has ruled this out for Swanage Middle School.

The bottom line - there can be great rewards in founding a new school, but with rewards come very real risks. These risks should be carefully weighed by parents, as they have only one chance to get things right for their child. I would caution about the over-exuberant use of phraseology such as 'fantastic facilities, the right curriculum choices and support for my children and staff with a proven track record' - these claims simply cannot be made in the first year(s) of any new school, no matter how well intentioned. Schools, staff, even head Teachers (!) take time to attain such attributes!

Anonymous said...

"At the moment something like 22% of Swanage children don't go on to Purbeck"

Which means they travel further than the 10 miles which the advocates of a Swanage school maintain is excessive. Why would they choose a local school if a 40 or 60 minute journey is acceptable to them. It sounds more like they would be the least likely to succumb to the attractions of a short journey unless they have some irrational dislike of Purbeck.

Anonymous said...

Where do these 22% go? Grammar schools? Independent schools? These options will be used whether or not Swanage has a secondary school. 22% seems a high figure, unless it includes those who have left school.

Anonymous said...

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

Anonymous said...

All of which appear in the Pubreck Review's report to Cabinet which is being debated on Wed and Thu next week. Perhaps it will all be shelved

Anonymous said...

Let's hope so. Although I generally favour the move to two tier, this is not the time (or economic climate) to do it. Let's wait until the recession is over. We do have a pretty efficient primary and middle school system going now. Rationalise numbers by all means, but work with what is working.

Anyway, I suspect the mandarins in Dorchester want to ward off a number of 'new schools'. Keeping the status quo might do this.

Review two tier in 2014.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Interesting.

I have a question for Education Swanage.

IF the Council places the move to two tier on the back burner, will you still pursue a secondary school for Swanage?

If the Council decided three tier, will remain, will you still go ahead with a 'new secondary school"

Please answer, Carl or Paul!

Anonymous said...

..... And we wait with baited breath....

Anonymous said...

Cruel, Clever Cat by Geoffrey Taylor, 1933

Sally, having swallowed cheese
Directs down holes the scented breeze
Enticing thus with baited breath
Nice mice to an untimely death.

Anonymous said...

I think we can safely conclude there will not be a secondary school in Swanage. Let's move onto more important matters, such as whether/when two tier comes about, and ensuring it is done right for our kids.

Sorry Education Swanage, it won't happen.

Anonymous said...

From the Echo:'THE FINANCIAL crisis will not stop the controversial £36.5 million shake-up of Purbeck schools, say county chiefs.

Dorset County Council’s cabinet agreed to forge ahead with plans to change the school system from three to two tiers, despite concerns from some parents, teachers and councillors.'

Anonymous said...

I think we can safely conclude there will not be a secondary school in Swanage. Let's move onto more important matters, such as whether/when two tier comes about, and ensuring it is done right for our kids.

Sorry Education Swanage, it won't happen.

Cabinet voted in support of 2 tier!!


Good luck with making sure that it is 'done right for our kids'! The Cabinet members have received hundreds letters of concern re funding, they admitted themselves today that they cannot guarantee the funding. Other Councillors suggested reduced 3 tier and other options, asking for an Economic Impact Assessment. Tomorrow it will be decided by full council.

Hilary Cox stated that children should be at the centre of every community. Agreed ! Unfortunatly this statement was made with regards to a childrens centre at Verwood, and she forgot to apply this thinking to the community of Swanage.

So, in their wisdom the Cabinet have voted to support the transportation of every child of 11and over, from Swanage to Wareham.

Its no wonder that so many letters against this madness have been forwarded to DCC, not only from Swanage, but it seems concerns from Wareham too. Many many people are waking up to the fact that this is the wrong decision, particularly in this economic climate.

Personally, I am not going to waste any more time encouraging the officers at DCC 'to get it right', its over to you now, but be sure it will take hours and hours of your time for at least the next 5 years of your life. For some of us, its more worthwhile to consider more positive and sustainable outcomes.

I wonder who will be accountable (if it doesn't all go to plan), I don't remember seeing John Nash, John England, Rick Perry, Toni Coombes wondering around our Purbeck schools before all of this. Will they be visiting to make sure that everything is hunky dorey. Don't forget that we were all initially consulted and presented with a very different set of circumstances 2 years ago with a promise of new 21st C, state of the art buildings and schools. Its all very different now.
Good luck !

Anonymous said...

Told you so.

Anonymous said...

It's over.

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/districts/purbeck/8286985.Dorset_County_Council_votes_in_favour_of_two_tier_schools_system_in_Purbeck/

Middle Schools will close. Kids will be bused to Wareham at 11.

Education Swanage will have no chance for a new secondary school now. No money.

We have been scuppered by the Council. They made the decision before the consultations.

Shame on them. Shame.

I wish the middle schools would all apply to become new schools and then tell the council where to stick it!

Anonymous said...

I don't know what you expected. DCC consulted on how to get rid of 1250 surplus school places not on adding to them and were asked to provide an additional school. They probably thought it was an attempt at post-ironic humour

Anonymous said...

Your comment shows a complete lack of understanding of the situation, which is inexcusable given how long it's been going on. No wonder DCC are able to push things through if people take so little notice.

Anonymous said...

4.00 Whose comment?

Anonymous said...

Comment 11.30 appears ill informed. After all this time its a shame this poster is not aware about what has been happening. Perhaps she/he should try to pick up the other end of the stick.

Anonymous said...

“We have a serious problem on our hands in Purbeck. There are 1250 surplus places, which means a quarter of school seats in the district are empty. If we do nothing, some schools will be forced to close – and we cannot let that happen.

Hey! look (DCC) are not forcing schools to close, after all.

How many empty seats are there in Swanage Schools and where are they ?

Anonymous said...

empty seats at 3 first schools and the middle school in Swanage

Anonymous said...

"Comment 11.30 appears ill informed. After all this time its a shame this poster is not aware about what has been happening. Perhaps she/he should try to pick up the other end of the stick."

I am perfectly aware of what has happened. DCC opened consultations over their plans to reduce the number of empty places by going over to two tier. Discussion locally went off at a tangent over whether there should be an additional new secondary school in Swanage which is completely at odds with the consultation. It was not a general invitation to discuss secondary school provision however much some people thought it was.

Anonymous said...

1.10 I entirely agree. Education Swanage's desire for a new secondary school is/was entirely unrelated to the issue of two tier conversion.

I have found few interested in ES's proposal; only concern from parents that the changeover to two tier is done well. I have found no one who supports a new 'sustainable' (?) academy secondary school for Swanage (the fear being that it will take away financial resources from Purbeck School). With a new out of town supermarket probably coming to the vicinity of Purbeck School, I see more of us commuting that way, away from Swanage, so the whole boondoggle over keeping everything - jobs, education, shopping - in Swanage is beginning to appear to be a nonstarter. These will inexorably shift towards the Worgret Station area of Purbeck, which is why a viable rail commuter link would make a huge amount of sense - if the 3 million can be found in time.

Anonymous said...

It is not coincidence. The impetus for a secondary school in Swanage came from a small number of parents who were horrified at the prospect of 11 year olds having a bus ride to Purbeck and the fact that this is allegedly the largest town without a secondary school. There were also critical remarks about the size of Purbeck School.

Anonymous said...

1.10 I entirely agree. Education Swanage's desire for a new secondary school is/was entirely unrelated to the issue of two tier conversion.

I have found few interested in ES's proposal; only concern from parents that the changeover to two tier is done well. I have found no one who supports a new 'sustainable' (?) academy secondary school for Swanage (the fear being that it will take away financial resources from Purbeck School). With a new out of town supermarket probably coming to the vicinity of Purbeck School, I see more of us commuting that way, away from Swanage, so the whole boondoggle over keeping everything - jobs, education, shopping - in Swanage is beginning to appear to be a nonstarter. These will inexorably shift towards the Worgret Station area of Purbeck, which is why a viable rail commuter link would make a huge amount of sense - if the 3 million can be found in time.

Have you noticed how hard the people in Wareham are campaigning to stop the out of town supermarket, or has this passed you by ?

Anonymous said...

'I am perfectly aware of what has happened. DCC opened consultations over their plans to reduce the number of empty places by going over to two tier. Discussion locally went off at a tangent over whether there should be an additional new secondary school in Swanage which is completely at odds with the consultation. It was not a general invitation to discuss secondary school provision however much some people thought it was'

Why do you see a new secondary school 'at odds' with the consultation. This seems to be central to the debate regarding the move to 2 tier. Swanage is a much larger, more populated town than Wareahm, so it seems difficult to understand the reason for transporting hundreds of children away from this community.
Some posters seem content with shopping, educating and accessing central amenities away from our Town. Sorry, I fail to comprehend this reasoning. Why would anyone want to live in a place that has no services, resulting in having to get in the car or on public transport to access basic needs.

Would you also be happy to lose Swanage Hospital?

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