Headteacher opposes plan to expand school

Oxford Mail: Lynn Knapp, headteacher of Windmill Primary School, which is in consultation to expand Lynn Knapp, headteacher of Windmill Primary School, which is in consultation to expand

AN underfunded expansion of Windmill Primary School could pave the way for problems at other schools, headteacher Lynn Knapp has warned.

Oxfordshire County Council wants to increase the number of pupils at Windmill Primary School from 480 to 630 over the next five school years.

But now Mrs Knapp and chairman of governors Mayte Siswick have formally objected to the proposals as the consultation draws to a close today.

In a letter to the council, they complained no feasibility study or detailed plans had been published.

They also raised concerns that only £1.9m had been allocated for the expansion, when New Marston Primary School received £2.7m to expand by the same amount.

Mrs Knapp said she feared it was unlikely the council would reconsider its position, despite their protestations.

She said: “I care about Windmill too much to just sit down and let them do it, but I don’t think for one minute that our objection is going to make them rethink their plans.

“I am not against the principle of expansion. What I oppose is not investing in that expansion.”

Mrs Knapp said she feared an expansion done the wrong way at Windmill would pave the way for underfunded proposals at other schools.

She said: “We’re also doing this on behalf of other schools. It’s important that schools get the best deal.”

She said the figure pledged by the council would not go far enough.

Mum-of-three Alvira Khan- Gordon, who has one child at the school, said she was worried about how the primary would cater for its additional pupils.

She said: “It’s not going to be an easy task expanding this school to meet the requirement of 630 kids.

“The fact is all we have is, at best, an estimated budget which falls considerably below the budget given to New Marston.

“This is a major concern for me and a lot of other parents.”

She said that unlike the headteacher and governors, she didn’t support the principle of expansion, but said parents wanted to get the best deal for their children if the proposals were forced through.

She said: “I know on a pragmatic level and in terms of what the council is doing, this is likely to be put through no matter what we say.

“If the proposal was met with serious, adequate, funding it would make people feel a lot better about what is inevitably going to be a pretty raw deal for their children.”

County council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley has previously said the school would only be forced to expand in the worst case scenario.

But last night Mrs Tilley said she did not know what difference the letter of objection would make.

She said: “I don’t know what drawing board we could ever go back to. We have a meeting tomorrow because of this letter and then it’s got to go to cabinet. I don’t know what decision they will make.”

Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “All responses, positive and negative, will be taken into account before a democratic decision regarding the proposals is made by the county council's cabinet on March 19.

“If a decision to expand is taken, then the council would work closely with the school endeavouring to meet their aspirations for what additional building work might be required.”

He said it wasn’t appropriate to compare the £1.9m provisional figure with amounts spent on other schools because each school has a “unique set of circumstances”.

Expansions are also going ahead at other schools, including Botley and New Marston, after a shortfall of about 500 spaces was identified for the 2013/14 academic year.

DEMANDS AND OBJECTIONS

WINDMILL’S demands

  • Five additional classrooms
  • A hall big enough to hold a full school assembly
  • A kitchen able to cater for 630 children
  • Expansion of the after-school club
  • The appropriate number of rooms for small group work
  • A playing field of suitable size
  • Retaining the school’s frontage


Summary of objections

  • Budget of just £1.9m set aside, compared to £2.7m for New Marston
  • No information on which of their demands will be met
  • No feasibility study or architectural plans released in time for the consultation
  • A full traffic survey has not yet been carried out.

Comments (11)

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11:34am Wed 6 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

It's not unusual for schools to have an assembly in two sittings - it makes more sense really too. Why heat/cool/light a room as well as purchase chairs for 630 pupils plus teachers plus guests then leave it empty when you could just have a 400 person space. How often do they have assemblies? We had them fortnightly at primary school and once a term at senior school - but I did go to one of the top state schools in the country, so the focus was on core teaching rather than getting together in a hall.

Catering for 630 is quite a large number too... Do all Windmill pupils get free (state funded) lunches, I take it nobody goes home for lunch or brings in a packed lunch.
It's not unusual for schools to have an assembly in two sittings - it makes more sense really too. Why heat/cool/light a room as well as purchase chairs for 630 pupils plus teachers plus guests then leave it empty when you could just have a 400 person space. How often do they have assemblies? We had them fortnightly at primary school and once a term at senior school - but I did go to one of the top state schools in the country, so the focus was on core teaching rather than getting together in a hall. Catering for 630 is quite a large number too... Do all Windmill pupils get free (state funded) lunches, I take it nobody goes home for lunch or brings in a packed lunch. Andrew:Oxford

12:12pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Myron Blatz says...

Not that 'each school has a unique set of cirumstances' run-around again, Marcus? Instead of saying what you can't or won't do, how about actually doing something positive for children and schools, for a change? As for consultation and a 'democratic decision' hasn't that simply declined into 'bureaucratic-speak' for abject procrastination and inept indecisiveness - after all, would Oxfordshire County Council openly admit to taking and making 'undemocratic' decisions, especially in the run-up to County Council elections in May?
Not that 'each school has a unique set of cirumstances' run-around again, Marcus? Instead of saying what you can't or won't do, how about actually doing something positive for children and schools, for a change? As for consultation and a 'democratic decision' hasn't that simply declined into 'bureaucratic-speak' for abject procrastination and inept indecisiveness - after all, would Oxfordshire County Council openly admit to taking and making 'undemocratic' decisions, especially in the run-up to County Council elections in May? Myron Blatz

12:59pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Mark L. says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
It's not unusual for schools to have an assembly in two sittings - it makes more sense really too. Why heat/cool/light a room as well as purchase chairs for 630 pupils plus teachers plus guests then leave it empty when you could just have a 400 person space. How often do they have assemblies? We had them fortnightly at primary school and once a term at senior school - but I did go to one of the top state schools in the country, so the focus was on core teaching rather than getting together in a hall. Catering for 630 is quite a large number too... Do all Windmill pupils get free (state funded) lunches, I take it nobody goes home for lunch or brings in a packed lunch.
Like my sons Primary School,most parents pay for School lunches whilst some bring pack lunches.No School children go home for lunch. Never heard of that before, especially young children. How would they get to and from the School and who is going to cook for them as most parents are at work!!.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: It's not unusual for schools to have an assembly in two sittings - it makes more sense really too. Why heat/cool/light a room as well as purchase chairs for 630 pupils plus teachers plus guests then leave it empty when you could just have a 400 person space. How often do they have assemblies? We had them fortnightly at primary school and once a term at senior school - but I did go to one of the top state schools in the country, so the focus was on core teaching rather than getting together in a hall. Catering for 630 is quite a large number too... Do all Windmill pupils get free (state funded) lunches, I take it nobody goes home for lunch or brings in a packed lunch.[/p][/quote]Like my sons Primary School,most parents pay for School lunches whilst some bring pack lunches.No School children go home for lunch. Never heard of that before, especially young children. How would they get to and from the School and who is going to cook for them as most parents are at work!!. Mark L.

1:56pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

Mark L. wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
It's not unusual for schools to have an assembly in two sittings - it makes more sense really too. Why heat/cool/light a room as well as purchase chairs for 630 pupils plus teachers plus guests then leave it empty when you could just have a 400 person space. How often do they have assemblies? We had them fortnightly at primary school and once a term at senior school - but I did go to one of the top state schools in the country, so the focus was on core teaching rather than getting together in a hall. Catering for 630 is quite a large number too... Do all Windmill pupils get free (state funded) lunches, I take it nobody goes home for lunch or brings in a packed lunch.
Like my sons Primary School,most parents pay for School lunches whilst some bring pack lunches.No School children go home for lunch. Never heard of that before, especially young children. How would they get to and from the School and who is going to cook for them as most parents are at work!!.
Walk?

Like I did from the age of 6, as did around 40% of my peers. The rest were split evenly between packers and dinners. That was a state school in a very desirable area though so there was always a loving parent or aunt to go home to at lunchtime.

There was always a friends older brother or sister around going the same way.

A quick call to check suggest around 30% of pupils at my old school currently go home for lunch.
[quote][p][bold]Mark L.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: It's not unusual for schools to have an assembly in two sittings - it makes more sense really too. Why heat/cool/light a room as well as purchase chairs for 630 pupils plus teachers plus guests then leave it empty when you could just have a 400 person space. How often do they have assemblies? We had them fortnightly at primary school and once a term at senior school - but I did go to one of the top state schools in the country, so the focus was on core teaching rather than getting together in a hall. Catering for 630 is quite a large number too... Do all Windmill pupils get free (state funded) lunches, I take it nobody goes home for lunch or brings in a packed lunch.[/p][/quote]Like my sons Primary School,most parents pay for School lunches whilst some bring pack lunches.No School children go home for lunch. Never heard of that before, especially young children. How would they get to and from the School and who is going to cook for them as most parents are at work!!.[/p][/quote]Walk? Like I did from the age of 6, as did around 40% of my peers. The rest were split evenly between packers and dinners. That was a state school in a very desirable area though so there was always a loving parent or aunt to go home to at lunchtime. There was always a friends older brother or sister around going the same way. A quick call to check suggest around 30% of pupils at my old school currently go home for lunch. Andrew:Oxford

3:04pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Christine Hovis says...

Mrs Tilley is confused once again.

She came to Windmill School and said she couldn't give any details because it hadn't been decided. So they decided, and now they still can't give any details. They can't say what they'll do: there are fundamental issues to be dealt with here (more than whether kids will go home for lunch).

Schools can be built for a 90 entry, but the current building is badly adapted for operating like that - and needs a fundamental re-think. The County thought they could get expansion on the cheap, and their lack of planning means that they have no options left to them. Because it has already taken two extra 'bulge' classes, there's no spare capacity to allow for shuffling around while they do the building.

Perhaps this level of competence is just a cunning ruse to get all schools to apply to academies so they can be free of Mrs Tilley.
Mrs Tilley is confused once again. She came to Windmill School and said she couldn't give any details because it hadn't been decided. So they decided, and now they still can't give any details. They can't say what they'll do: there are fundamental issues to be dealt with here (more than whether kids will go home for lunch). Schools can be built for a 90 entry, but the current building is badly adapted for operating like that - and needs a fundamental re-think. The County thought they could get expansion on the cheap, and their lack of planning means that they have no options left to them. Because it has already taken two extra 'bulge' classes, there's no spare capacity to allow for shuffling around while they do the building. Perhaps this level of competence is just a cunning ruse to get all schools to apply to academies so they can be free of Mrs Tilley. Christine Hovis

3:15pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Mark L. wrote:
Andrew:Oxford wrote:
It's not unusual for schools to have an assembly in two sittings - it makes more sense really too. Why heat/cool/light a room as well as purchase chairs for 630 pupils plus teachers plus guests then leave it empty when you could just have a 400 person space. How often do they have assemblies? We had them fortnightly at primary school and once a term at senior school - but I did go to one of the top state schools in the country, so the focus was on core teaching rather than getting together in a hall. Catering for 630 is quite a large number too... Do all Windmill pupils get free (state funded) lunches, I take it nobody goes home for lunch or brings in a packed lunch.
Like my sons Primary School,most parents pay for School lunches whilst some bring pack lunches.No School children go home for lunch. Never heard of that before, especially young children. How would they get to and from the School and who is going to cook for them as most parents are at work!!.
Walk?

Like I did from the age of 6, as did around 40% of my peers. The rest were split evenly between packers and dinners. That was a state school in a very desirable area though so there was always a loving parent or aunt to go home to at lunchtime.

There was always a friends older brother or sister around going the same way.

A quick call to check suggest around 30% of pupils at my old school currently go home for lunch.
I always cycled home for lunch as well, ten minutes from Cherwell, a good home cooked dinner, a bit of TV, and back for the afternoon, well most days :-) P.S. Up till the chippy in Summertown closed a few years ago, a fair few of the pupils used to grab their lunch from there.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mark L.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: It's not unusual for schools to have an assembly in two sittings - it makes more sense really too. Why heat/cool/light a room as well as purchase chairs for 630 pupils plus teachers plus guests then leave it empty when you could just have a 400 person space. How often do they have assemblies? We had them fortnightly at primary school and once a term at senior school - but I did go to one of the top state schools in the country, so the focus was on core teaching rather than getting together in a hall. Catering for 630 is quite a large number too... Do all Windmill pupils get free (state funded) lunches, I take it nobody goes home for lunch or brings in a packed lunch.[/p][/quote]Like my sons Primary School,most parents pay for School lunches whilst some bring pack lunches.No School children go home for lunch. Never heard of that before, especially young children. How would they get to and from the School and who is going to cook for them as most parents are at work!!.[/p][/quote]Walk? Like I did from the age of 6, as did around 40% of my peers. The rest were split evenly between packers and dinners. That was a state school in a very desirable area though so there was always a loving parent or aunt to go home to at lunchtime. There was always a friends older brother or sister around going the same way. A quick call to check suggest around 30% of pupils at my old school currently go home for lunch.[/p][/quote]I always cycled home for lunch as well, ten minutes from Cherwell, a good home cooked dinner, a bit of TV, and back for the afternoon, well most days :-) P.S. Up till the chippy in Summertown closed a few years ago, a fair few of the pupils used to grab their lunch from there. Grunden Skip

5:51pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Thinkingoutloud says...

Why should this school be a special case? Lots of schools in Oxford have been made bigger to take extra children in the past few years I do not think they made a fuss. The school is a public service it is there to serve all of the community not just some nimby parents. I do not see what right the head teacher has to demand to be treated better than any other school or have a lot of money spent on new buildings.
Why should this school be a special case? Lots of schools in Oxford have been made bigger to take extra children in the past few years I do not think they made a fuss. The school is a public service it is there to serve all of the community not just some nimby parents. I do not see what right the head teacher has to demand to be treated better than any other school or have a lot of money spent on new buildings. Thinkingoutloud

6:45pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Pragmatik says...

The head teacher wants more money spent on her school so that more money can be spent on other schools? Has she not heard of finite resources? More money on this school means less for others, who will be just as deserving.
The head teacher wants more money spent on her school so that more money can be spent on other schools? Has she not heard of finite resources? More money on this school means less for others, who will be just as deserving. Pragmatik

9:54pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Christine Hovis says...

Thinkingoutloud wrote:
Why should this school be a special case? Lots of schools in Oxford have been made bigger to take extra children in the past few years I do not think they made a fuss. The school is a public service it is there to serve all of the community not just some nimby parents. I do not see what right the head teacher has to demand to be treated better than any other school or have a lot of money spent on new buildings.
It's not a special case. It wants to be treated the same.

The County intend to expand the school, it already has two extra classes of kids working through the school. It is now February, and the County would intend to allocate 30 extra children to the school in April and they'll start in September and the County is unable to provide the school with any detail of its plan of how that will work. How can a school work on that basis?

The County have mucked this up, awful planning, hoping that population rises would melt away. Other local authories have got on with their plans and worked in conjunction with Schools, here the County have proceeded in their normal unaccountable way. I love the quote about a democratic decision! (and as for Mrs Tilley...)
[quote][p][bold]Thinkingoutloud[/bold] wrote: Why should this school be a special case? Lots of schools in Oxford have been made bigger to take extra children in the past few years I do not think they made a fuss. The school is a public service it is there to serve all of the community not just some nimby parents. I do not see what right the head teacher has to demand to be treated better than any other school or have a lot of money spent on new buildings.[/p][/quote]It's not a special case. It wants to be treated the same. The County intend to expand the school, it already has two extra classes of kids working through the school. It is now February, and the County would intend to allocate 30 extra children to the school in April and they'll start in September and the County is unable to provide the school with any detail of its plan of how that will work. How can a school work on that basis? The County have mucked this up, awful planning, hoping that population rises would melt away. Other local authories have got on with their plans and worked in conjunction with Schools, here the County have proceeded in their normal unaccountable way. I love the quote about a democratic decision! (and as for Mrs Tilley...) Christine Hovis

3:17pm Thu 7 Feb 13

Grunden Skip says...

Christine Hovis wrote:
Thinkingoutloud wrote:
Why should this school be a special case? Lots of schools in Oxford have been made bigger to take extra children in the past few years I do not think they made a fuss. The school is a public service it is there to serve all of the community not just some nimby parents. I do not see what right the head teacher has to demand to be treated better than any other school or have a lot of money spent on new buildings.
It's not a special case. It wants to be treated the same.

The County intend to expand the school, it already has two extra classes of kids working through the school. It is now February, and the County would intend to allocate 30 extra children to the school in April and they'll start in September and the County is unable to provide the school with any detail of its plan of how that will work. How can a school work on that basis?

The County have mucked this up, awful planning, hoping that population rises would melt away. Other local authories have got on with their plans and worked in conjunction with Schools, here the County have proceeded in their normal unaccountable way. I love the quote about a democratic decision! (and as for Mrs Tilley...)
Lets have a look, Milham Ford now belongs to The Poly, Cornwallis Road school is now an old peoples home, Bishop Kirk, Is a Poshy housing estate etc etc etc. What do headmasters expect, less schools = more pupils.
[quote][p][bold]Christine Hovis[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Thinkingoutloud[/bold] wrote: Why should this school be a special case? Lots of schools in Oxford have been made bigger to take extra children in the past few years I do not think they made a fuss. The school is a public service it is there to serve all of the community not just some nimby parents. I do not see what right the head teacher has to demand to be treated better than any other school or have a lot of money spent on new buildings.[/p][/quote]It's not a special case. It wants to be treated the same. The County intend to expand the school, it already has two extra classes of kids working through the school. It is now February, and the County would intend to allocate 30 extra children to the school in April and they'll start in September and the County is unable to provide the school with any detail of its plan of how that will work. How can a school work on that basis? The County have mucked this up, awful planning, hoping that population rises would melt away. Other local authories have got on with their plans and worked in conjunction with Schools, here the County have proceeded in their normal unaccountable way. I love the quote about a democratic decision! (and as for Mrs Tilley...)[/p][/quote]Lets have a look, Milham Ford now belongs to The Poly, Cornwallis Road school is now an old peoples home, Bishop Kirk, Is a Poshy housing estate etc etc etc. What do headmasters expect, less schools = more pupils. Grunden Skip

7:03pm Thu 7 Feb 13

Thinkingoutloud says...

Grunden Skip wrote:
Christine Hovis wrote:
Thinkingoutloud wrote:
Why should this school be a special case? Lots of schools in Oxford have been made bigger to take extra children in the past few years I do not think they made a fuss. The school is a public service it is there to serve all of the community not just some nimby parents. I do not see what right the head teacher has to demand to be treated better than any other school or have a lot of money spent on new buildings.
It's not a special case. It wants to be treated the same.

The County intend to expand the school, it already has two extra classes of kids working through the school. It is now February, and the County would intend to allocate 30 extra children to the school in April and they'll start in September and the County is unable to provide the school with any detail of its plan of how that will work. How can a school work on that basis?

The County have mucked this up, awful planning, hoping that population rises would melt away. Other local authories have got on with their plans and worked in conjunction with Schools, here the County have proceeded in their normal unaccountable way. I love the quote about a democratic decision! (and as for Mrs Tilley...)
Lets have a look, Milham Ford now belongs to The Poly, Cornwallis Road school is now an old peoples home, Bishop Kirk, Is a Poshy housing estate etc etc etc. What do headmasters expect, less schools = more pupils.
Stupid comment. When these schools closed other schools were made bigger. The population growth is happening all around the country it is not an oxford only problem. I don't understand why the school started to take extra pupils 2 years ago and now its seems to be a suprise to them they are being asked to take these extra pupils every year. Looks like that was an obvious thing to happen. Just get on with it.
[quote][p][bold]Grunden Skip[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Christine Hovis[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Thinkingoutloud[/bold] wrote: Why should this school be a special case? Lots of schools in Oxford have been made bigger to take extra children in the past few years I do not think they made a fuss. The school is a public service it is there to serve all of the community not just some nimby parents. I do not see what right the head teacher has to demand to be treated better than any other school or have a lot of money spent on new buildings.[/p][/quote]It's not a special case. It wants to be treated the same. The County intend to expand the school, it already has two extra classes of kids working through the school. It is now February, and the County would intend to allocate 30 extra children to the school in April and they'll start in September and the County is unable to provide the school with any detail of its plan of how that will work. How can a school work on that basis? The County have mucked this up, awful planning, hoping that population rises would melt away. Other local authories have got on with their plans and worked in conjunction with Schools, here the County have proceeded in their normal unaccountable way. I love the quote about a democratic decision! (and as for Mrs Tilley...)[/p][/quote]Lets have a look, Milham Ford now belongs to The Poly, Cornwallis Road school is now an old peoples home, Bishop Kirk, Is a Poshy housing estate etc etc etc. What do headmasters expect, less schools = more pupils.[/p][/quote]Stupid comment. When these schools closed other schools were made bigger. The population growth is happening all around the country it is not an oxford only problem. I don't understand why the school started to take extra pupils 2 years ago and now its seems to be a suprise to them they are being asked to take these extra pupils every year. Looks like that was an obvious thing to happen. Just get on with it. Thinkingoutloud

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