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Friday, 6 July 2007

"The Heart of Our Village"

Excerpts from a letter to DCC written by a Combs parent.

It was with great sadness that I heard of the Council’s proposal to close Combs Infant School. This wonderful school in the heart of our village has stood the test of time for many years. Not only have my children attended, but also myself and my husband, our brothers and sisters and even our parents at some point over the last 80 years. Not only is this under threat but so is our Village Hall which runs hand in hand with the school providing venues for numerous village functions and community groups.
As far as funding is concerned, Combs School is eligible for Isolated Rural School Status which was put into place to ensure that small community schools such as this could survive. No extra funding for special needs cases is needed at Combs although they cater for and nurture the needs of many who would fall behind in mainstream school. As a small village we get a poor return for our council tax compared to many local towns with council funded facilities, some of this should surely go towards keeping our own village school alive.

Derbyshire County Council has been seen to spend vast amounts of money on other things which some people would deem far less important. Whitehall Outdoor Pursuits Centre has had a small fortune spent on it over the last few years, with a new house built in the grounds for the Principal which lies empty now after just two years of use, and a huge new conservatory just finished. This is not to mention the amount of money spent on the upkeep of such a large building including staffing, heating and maintenance costs when it lies empty for weeks. This facility is for recreational or ‘extra curriculum’ activities for children from this, and also many surrounding areas. Would it not make more sense to spend our council’s money on our own children, for basic good education? It seems a shame that the goal is to drag a few children’s standards of education down, rather than lift many children’s education to a higher level.

The Ofsted report on Combs School stated that it was ‘outstanding’ - not just good, outstanding. This shows in the children who pass through this school in their early years. They come out well behaved, soundly educated, and with excellent moral values which experience has shown cannot be taught as well in a larger environment. I am saddened to see that in the present climate with worse things going off in the world, and getting closer every day, that we cannot seem to see past the facts and figures. You only had to look around at the public meeting in May to see what I am talking about, the idyllic setting of the school yard, the genuine concern of all the supporters, the wonderful building which we as a village are all fortunate to use and the children playing happily, oblivious to the threats that this could all be taken away from them.

Children need only two things in life in order to progress and succeed. One is stability and the other is education, both of which are provided in this environment. This is worth more than a few pence per child - it is worth everything. I therefore urge you to support Combs Infant School with its fight to survive.
Use this link to find excerpts from other letters sent to DCC.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautifully put.

Another example of the council's strange priorities when it comes to children and funding is the £800,000+ which was spent on buying a house in Chapel to house just 4 disruptive children who needed special attention. That's quite a high 'per pupil' cost in my opinion.