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Bleadon School and the local press

The following article appeard in the Weston Mercury August 2005

 
 

 


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I Power I


Making underhand changes

I WAS disappointed by the recent comments from Cllr Ian Peddlesden relating to the Mercury's article (June 6) on the problems of placing the children of Bleadon in primary school.

He firstly states that people should check on school places before buying a house in the area. We did check and were advised on the schools available but were not advised of any problems by North Somerset Council.

It was only after we had moved that the council admitted a history of problems relating to the schooling of Bleadon children. They even advised that my problem would be to prove maladministration in the way my daughter's school application was handled, rather than the fact the current situation was the result of a history of maladministration. It is difficult to see how they can now say there is not a problem.

The advice to check before moving would appear to be a moot point anyway as it would lead to families of small children avoiding Bleadon, which is hardly in the best interests of the village. It also does not help people who are already in the village.

He then mentions there are strict Government rules on class sizes and once full, unless you add classes to a school, you have to look elsewhere. The records show that classrooms were built, and provisions made, at Uphill school to accommodate the children of Bleadon. It would be unreasonable to then use them for something other than that and then cite the absence of their availability as a justification as to why the children cannot attend.

Contrary to the claims that the authority is doing all it can to find out through the archives what the arrangement was when Bleadon Primary School was closed, we appear to have made all the running.

All the indications are that a policy of 'ignore it and hope it goes away' was adopted. The fact the authority has still not attended a meeting of Bleadon Parish Council to find out about the problems as the people of Bleadon see it, indicates it doesn't want to know.

The final comment about both Bleadon and Uphill villages developing since Bleadon school closed in 1964 was exactly the prediction made by the managers of Bleadon school to oppose its closure in 1964. It should not now be used to justify the exclusion of Bleadon children from Uphill school.

North Somerset Council was advised that, following the earlier article in the Mercury, we were contacted by an authoritative and independent person to advise what the policy was with regards to Bleadon children attending Uphill school and where the supporting documentation can be found. This document supports our view. It is a mystery why some weeks later the council is still making uninformed comments that amount to no more than thinking aloud.

That the agreement made in 1964 has been made unworkable by changes in legislation should have resulted in consultation with Bleadon residents, not underhand changes. The policy of Bleadon children making up the numbers in the various schools in the area is clearly not acceptable.

By PAUL HEMINGWAY-ARNOLD