Saddleworth Parish Council is concerned that, to date, there has been no consultation with residents and parents of Saddleworth on the proposals for a new secondary school. It is therefore organising an additional public meeting to the one listed below (See ‘What’s the future for Saddleworth School.) to find out what is happening and to discuss issues of concern.
It is understood that a public meeting is planned on 16th October when OMBC will inform residents of the decisions they have taken concerning the new school. The Parish Council is concerned, however, that there has been no opportunity for residents and parents to be consulted in advance of final decisions being taken on a major proposal that will have a dramatic impact on the Saddleworth community as a whole.
The purpose of the meeting will be to inform residents of what is known about the present proposals and what action the Parish Council have taken to date to open a dialogue and open public consultation.
The meeting will allow the public to voice their opinion, highlight their concerns and seek reassurance about the issues faced.
The headteacher of Saddleworth School has agreed to attend the meeting and will answer questions as far as he is able. Sadly, OMBC has declined the invitation to attend stating they will attend the meeting on October 16th when we believe all key decisions will have been taken; a situation we find unacceptable.
The Parish Council propose to present the outcomes to the key decision makers which include the Minister for Schools, our MP and OMBC.
The meeting will be held at the Civic Hall, Uppermill at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 25th September 2013 and all Saddleworth residents are invited to attend.
Issues to be raised following discussions over the past few months with Saddleworth residents include:
a. Diggle is understood to be the preferred option for the new school. Access arrangements to the new site are a concern considering the volume of traffic entering and leaving the likely school site. Safety is an issue together with the impact of noise and fumes on the villages of Diggle and Dobcross.
b. Concerns about school equipment. Other new schools in Borough have been fortunate in receiving new equipment. However, it appears that the new Saddleworth School will not be so fortunate and will have to ‘make do’ with what it already has. Thus the pupils and potential educational standards will be placed at a disadvantage to the other new schools recently built in the rest of the Borough.
c. Pupils and parents need to be confident that sporting facilities will effectively cater for school requirements and that this part of the curriculum will not be compromised as a result of the increased distance to the Uppermill facilities.
d. Reassurance that the school building will be of a high standard with a design sympathetic to the local area.
e. Assurances that the listed building currently on the proposed Diggle site will be retained and not compromised by the development.
f. Some residents in Saddleworth also need convincing that the existing school cannot be further developed and modernised thus removing the need to move.
Over the past few months the Parish Council has actively pursued issues associated with the new school and letters have been sent to our MP and the Government also discussions have taken place with many members of the Saddleworth community. Government responses have emphasised that the issues are solely the concern of Oldham Council and the school governors.
An opportunity for public discussion across the whole community is long overdue. Invitations to attend the meeting on 25th September 2013 will be sent to our MP, members of Oldham Council’s cabinet, members of all resident and community associations in Saddleworth, parents, pupils and the community as a whole.