St. Oswald’s school has been ranked as outstanding on OFSTED inspections. It offers a brilliant education and a supportive environment to the 4 to 7 year olds. Unfortunately, when the children finish year 2 and must continue their education elsewhere the stability that underpins their learning is challenged. In the past, a majority of St. Oswald’s students have been able to move to St. Margaret’s school. Both schools share PD days, afterschool care and schedule special events such as Christmas concerts so that families with children in both schools can be as involved as possible in the lives of all their children. Because most of the children moved together, friendship groups continued and many returned to St. Oswald’s for afterschool care.
Durham is a city which has been experiencing growth. Developers are aware of the excellent reputation that St. Margaret’s school enjoys and have positioned many of the new estates in areas that can capitalize on the increased housing values that good schools can generate. Unfortunately, despite having another good school in the neighbourhood, there are no longer enough spaces for the children in the immediate vicinity of St. Margaret’s to attend St. Margaret’s. The cut off distance to admit new year 3 students this year was only 0.4 of a mile. Only 10 children from St. Oswald’s were admitted to St. Margaret’s this year. Pressure is building as more housing developments are being proposed.
As parents and concerned citizens of Durham, we have the responsibility and right to stand up for our children. They need to access education that is delivered to them within their community where there are high expectations of their abilities within a Christian ethos. It is wrong to systemically show prejudice to a group of children who no longer can encourage and motivate each other within established friendship groups.
Our children cannot be displaced throughout Durham County, with transportation funded for those sent furthest away, to fulfill the objectives of the LEA to use every last school place at all existing schools. St. Oswald’s needs funding to create a junior school; and in addition, the Neville’s Cross and North End community needs more school places. To this end, St. Margaret’s have requested funding to develop their school to house more children. We, the undersigned would like to draw attention to the need to fund the development of needed school places within the communities that need them. Only in this way can all of our children can be educated within an environment where they can truly thrive.
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