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Stapleford schoolchildren left without a school hall

11th March 2015 Broxtowe Borough Council, Nottingham County Council, Nottingham Evening Post Tags: , , , , 0 Comments


A school hall would appear to be a basic requirement at any educational establishment.

But one Nottinghamshire school has never had such a “luxury” – even in all of its 178-year history.

Pupils at St John’s C of E Primary School, in Stapleford, are having to “make do” by moving tables and chairs, with a partition wall opened between two classrooms, to create a “hall”, says head teacher Matt Downes.

The youngsters are even risking injuries such as trapped fingers in moving tables.

The school, which has four classrooms and 90 children aged four to 11, cannot be extended as it is a Grade II-listed building.

Plans fell through for a new school to be built in its car park at the 11th hour in the 1970s after funding fell away, said Mr Downes, who has been at the school for five years.

He says a preferred option would be to build a school hall on nearby land that used to house a household waste recycling centre.

But he said both Broxtowe Borough Council, which owns the land, and Nottinghamshire County Council had not been helpful in finding a solution.

However, both councils say they are open to discussion.

Mr Downes added: “First and foremost, the children adapt really well and make sure that, while it would be desirable to have a hall, the school day runs as smoothly as it can.”

He said almost five working days were estimated to have been lost each year through preparing the hall for dinner times.

Mr Downes said that children risked trapped fingers in moving furniture, but said they also learned teamwork in preparing the area.

School dinners are also eaten in the classrooms, which Mr Downes says is not ideal, and the older children have to have PE lessons at nearby Foxwood Academy.

Julie Thom, a full-time mum whose son Anthony, seven, attends the school, said: “Considering the lack of facilities, the school does very well.”

Ms Thom, who lives in Beeston and is also mum to James, 11, and two-and-a-half-year-old Lois, added: “There are benefits to it but the smooth running of the day would be used better if they had a school hall.”

Dawn White, a school governor, said: “It’s just a sad situation and means the children are missing out.

“As a parent, it’s disappointing that the council are not doing more. It’s something every school should have.”

A spokeswoman for Broxtowe Borough Council said: “The borough council has been in discussion with the school and is happy to work with local people to support initiatives and consider any alternative proposals.”

Nottinghamshire County Council’s service director for education, standards and inclusion John Slater, sympathised with the school, but said it was rated good by Ofsted despite its limitations.

He added: “The county council has had discussions with the district council regarding areas of land in the county and district’s ownership but these discussions did not progress to a mutually acceptable conclusion.

“We’d be more than happy to start discussions with the school and the district again but it should be recognised that the county council currently has no available capital to provide a hall.”

By Tracy Walker, Nottingham Post

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