New Cambourne school causes controversy
PLANS for a third primary school in Cambourne have caused controversy before a mobile classroom has even been dragged on to the site. The school is due to open in temporary buildings in September next year. But, according to the parents who will send the
PLANS for a third primary school in Cambourne have caused controversy before a mobile classroom has even been dragged on to the site.
The school is due to open in temporary buildings in September next year.
But, according to the parents who will send their children there, it is in the wrong place - and the proposed site is dangerous.
The school will also be subject to new legislation that requires Cambridgeshire County Council to "offer for tender" the school, allowing companies to apply to run it.
Under the Education and Inspection Act 2006, a school can be run by any organisation - church, community, charity or business. County councils can also tender.
The act says local authorities must give other organisations four months to put in their bid - and then put in theirs three weeks before the deadline.
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The winner will be given the land and the money to build a school and staff it.
Michael Irons, schools organiser and planning officer at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "This is part of Tony Blair's legacy."
At a consultation meeting on Wednesday, held at short notice, some 50 parents raised objections to the proposed location of the third school.
* They now have a school where there are no houses (The Vine) and houses where there is no school (Lower Cambourne).
* As Monkfield School is in Great Camborne, and The Vine is in Upper Cambourne, the third school should be in Lower Camborune, giving each village its own school and own catchment area.
* The proposed site for the third school is dangerous because it means up to 800 children walking in different directions on already congested roads past construction traffic.
* The proposed site is in a wood that villagers wish to preserve.
* The site is too small for a school for the proposed 420 pupils.
Anna Lane, mother of a six-year-old pupil at The Vine, said: "This new school is an accident waiting to happen. There is only one route to The Vine and to the new school, and ultimately there will be 840 pupils and their parents walking along it in different directions to two schools."
She added: "Lower Cambourne would be a better site, then each part of Cambourne would have its own school and there wouldn't be arguments about catchment areas."
Angie Winter, from Lower Cambourne who has three children, including two at Monkfield School in Great Cambourne, said: "This is the worst location possible. Why have the developers offered it? Ideally, Lower Cambourne should have its own school.
Dawn Edwards, whose six-year-old son Fraser is a pupil at The Vine, said: "The road to The Vine is already choked with construction traffic. It's dangerous now. To have two schools with children passing along an already full road is unbelievable."
Mr Irons said other consultation meetings would be held but no dates or venues had yet been booked. One was expected in September and by law, another must be held in November to notify the public of bids made to run the new school.
An invitation to organisations to make bids would be advertised in the press in July.