Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Ridgeway School Rebuild Madness.

I attended a Governors meeting last night at Ridgeway School which caters for children with special needs from across the area. The hot topic on tonight's agenda was the rebuild of the school. Ridgeway is currently housed in old buildings that are considered 'not fit for purpose'.

The plan was that Ridgeway would move to the old Round Oak buildings in Lillington while the school was being rebuilt around it. Recently though we have learned of a decision to rebuild the school while it is open.

Have they gone totally mad!

The school is on a small site and most of the school would need to relocate to temporary classrooms while the building is demolished and rebuilt in stages. I can think of so many reasons not to do this, here are my top 3. (Politicians can only think upto 3. Look out for this when listening to them on TV and you will see what I mean.)

  1. It will cost far more, temporary classrooms will have to be built with toilet facilities, access ramps, etc. Estimates suggest the build will take 60% longer, which of course means more labour costs.
  2. There will be significant disruption, half the site will be closed off to the builders, half the school will be knocked down and rebuilt and then we assume the other half, so there will be a lot of moving around. Many of these children do not cope well with disruption and need a good routine.
  3. Health & Safety. Some children have complex health issues. There will be dust and noise from the build. A classroom was shut this week due to asbestos. Some of the children are severely disabled.

It is unthinkable that children, many with a range of disabilities some of them severe, should attend school on a building site. I have discussed this with some of my colleagues on the County Council and the matter being raised at the Warwick Area Committee on July 10th. Members of the public can attend the meeting that will be held at 6:00pm at Shire Hall.

I am hoping that common sense will prevail.

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