Get involved: send your pictures, video, news & views by texting Harrow Times to 80360, or email us
Vaughan School expansion campaigner sends Harrow Borough Council a school report
A campaigner against school expansion has sent Harrow Borough Council his views on its plans - in the form of a school report.
Graeme Neale, who lives in Dorchester Avenue, is protesting against the council’s plans to expand Vaughan Primary School in The Gardens.
The plans include building a two-storey building on the school’s playing fields, which would house 12 classrooms and two halls, with room for an extra 210 children by September 2018.
He and his neighbours fear expansion will spoil the view from their houses, reduce the value of their properties and increase traffic and congestion.
In a mock school report, Mr Neale outlined his views on the Education Department's planning application.
Mr Neale wrote: “English - Not a very good start, your work contains four spelling mistakes which falls well below the standard expected from an Education Department. You must try harder.
“Maths - You also missed some of the existing car park spaces. There are 39 at present meaning there will be four less in future not the nine extra as stated. You must stop day dreaming and pay attention to what you are doing.
“Counting is clearly an issue so back to basics for you. Now, after me…1,2,3,4,…”
The letter goes on: “Geography - Your application says that Vaughan School is in Vaughan Road. That’s where the old Vaughan School was which closed many, many years ago. Vaughan School’s correct address is The Gardens.
“Please ask your parents to buy you a new atlas for your birthday otherwise you might end up putting buildings in the wrong place. I also recommend that you start studying history.
“Science - You have answered No to the question is any hazardous waste involved in the proposal?
“You must have the memory of a goldfish! We covered this just before Christmas when the local papers said that there was asbestos in Vaughan School and you didn’t know what it was. I spent a whole lesson explaining.
“Please write out ‘asbestos is a hazardous substance’ 50 times.”
Mr Neale concludes the letter: “Overall I am very disappointed with your performance this year.
“Your time keeping has been appalling – this application was due on my desk before Christmas."
Mr Neale also referred to failures in IT which led to the consultation being postponed because objectors had not been able to view documents online.
He added: “I know you blamed the failure of your technology but that one’s wearing thin now and is only slightly more credible than ‘the dog ate my homework’.
“I look forward to a better year from you in 2013.”
Harrow Borough Council's corporate director of children and families, Catherine Doran, said: “Harrow Council is embarking on the largest ever primary school expansion programme in its history in order to meet the unprecedented rise in the number of children needing primary school places in the borough.
“We have excellent schools in Harrow, which are bucking the national trend with 94 percent achieving good and outstanding Ofsted results.
“We have to ensure that we provide high quality schooling for every child and that parents are able to send their children to schools as near as possible to where they live.
“We have been working hard with governors, schools and the community to get this expansion plan in place.
“We are aware that any expansion programme of this scale has its problems and that some residents will undoubtedly have reservations about our proposal to expand the school.
“We know this is a complex issue but it is the duty of the council to balance the needs of the wider group of parents, and their children's needs, with views from people in the community.
“The Vaughan School expansion will provide these vital places for our children's education.
“Harrow Council will do all it possibly can to continue to provide excellent education and to ensure that children are provided with places near to where they live.”