PARENTS JOIN FORCES TO FIGHT FOR A SCHOOL IN THE SOUTHBy Victoria Corbett
March 09, 2006
The group from Finchampstead is setting up a website to further its efforts to convince Wokingham District Council a new school is needed.
They say they have been left out in the cold by the decision to keep The Emmbrook School where it is.
About 10 of the group’s members appeared at Wednesday’s Finchampstead Parish Council meeting to ask for its support in the campaign.
Ian Pittock, from the group, told councillors they were unhappy the final questionnaire in the consultation over whether to move The Emmbrook School, had been sent to Emmbrook residents only.
He said: “The ultimate decision has been left in the hands of the residents of Emmbrook.
“The decision not to relocate is against the wishes of many residents from the south of the
“We want a school to be built here without further delay.”
The group has already gained support from parents in Finchampstead and is looking for people in Barkham and Arborfield to get involved.
Mr Pittock, who has a child at Nine Mile Ride Primary School in Finchampstead, claims 18 per cent of pupils at The Emmbrook School come from Emmbrook and 39 per cent come from the south of the district.
He is also concerned about what will happen to the £12 million in Government funding that was going to help pay for The Emmbrook School move and wants the council to lobby for it to be spent on a new school.
The next step for the campaign is to form an action committee made up of district and parish councillors, residents and other interested parties.
Mr Pittock said: “We don’t want this to be an ‘us and them’ situation.”
Cllr Roland Cundy, chairman of Finchampstead Parish Council, believes it would be good if a new school included community facilities, such as a library and council office.
Cllr Frank Browne, leader of the district council, said: “We are still committed to the principle of a school in the south.
“We do not have a way to deliver that at the moment. If the opportunity presents itself we will seize that with both hands.
“We are negotiating with the DfES about the £12 million and asking if there are any other Government grants available.
“Every household was notified through very large and prominent articles in the district newsletter and they were pointed towards the website.
“They did have their opportunity – if they really felt it was a good idea they could have done a little more about it. Now they are crying a bit over spilt milk.”