St. Michael's Primary School - Governors' Statement
The Governors are delighted that Wiltshire County Council have agreed just this week to undertake a study of the feasibility of re-locating the School to a site adjacent to the Village Hall in Pollen Lane.
Governors have been concerned for some years that the present buildings, particularly the 3 ‘temporary’ Pratten huts, are nearing the end of their economic life, and cannot provide a standard of accommodation which fully supports modern primary education.
In our recent OFSTED report, inspectors noted that the present buildings may well limit our attempts to further improve standards at the School, which we strive to do.
The small recent extension provides welcome extra space and facilities, but in itself cannot meet the need. The school has severe shortcomings when it comes to accommodating staff or children with disabilities, and by law we have to take them into account.
We don’t believe that re-development on the present site is a realistic option. The site is too small to allow both building work to be done alongside the normal activities of the school. Development on a new site would minimise disruption to school life.
We note the very strong support given to the School in responses to the Household Survey undertaken in November 2006 as part of the Parish Plan process. 99.7% of respondents thought that it’s important or very important to have a primary school in Figheldean. Almost 74% of parishioners agreed or agreed strongly that the school needs modern buildings.
Our belief is that the future of both the School and the Village Hall would be better assured if the Pollen Lane site can be developed by the addition of a new school, sharing facilities to mutual benefit.
It is very early days. Wiltshire County Council is indicating its support (not least of our excellent Head Teacher) by agreeing a feasibility study. However, only with a full economic appraisal can a proper case be made. Many questions remain to be answered, and there will no doubt be obstacles to overcome.
We know that communication and consultation between all concerned is vital in taking this project forward, and we shall endeavor as Governors to keep those channels open at all times. Please do tell us your concerns.
Please remember: no decisions have yet been made. There is no certainty at all that we will be able to build a new School for future generations of local schoolchildren. Whatever the outcome, it will remain the objective of the Head Teacher, staff and Governors to provide the very best primary school education that we can, in a traditional village school environment.
Chrysogon Bamber, Vice Chairman of Governors, 12th April 2008.