Duncan Graham-Rowe 0

Opposition to changes in Dorothy Stringer/Varndean catchment area - Keep it east of train tracks

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In response to the campaign in favour of moving the Dorothy Stringer/Varndean catchment to include families living east of Dyke Road we invite you to sign our petition opposing this change. There has been a lot of misinformation put out about this complex issue and we encourage you to read on and hear the other side. There is an assumption that all Stanford parents should support these changes, but actually if this goes ahead it will have a very negative impact on many children attending Stanford. So please help. Rather than vilifying some local schools we should be giving them support and addressing the issues that will help improve them. Does this affect everyone at Stanford? Absolutely, but in very different ways. If the boundary isn’t moved it is true that those that apply to Dorothy Stringer will have precious few friends making the move with them, but then that’s hardly surprising if they apply to a school outside their catchment. Surely if parents want their child to go to Stringer and want them to live near their classmates then they should move to that catchment rather than trying to move the boundary. For those children living west of Dyke Road moving the boundary can only have a negative impact because it will create a rift through Stanford where kids who would otherwise be in the same catchment would no longer be able to attend secondary school together. In effect it would place Stanford on the border between two catchments, ensuring that many more friends and classmates will be separated in year 7. Should everyone at Stanford support the change of catchment? No. There seems to be an assumption among supporters of the catchment move that all Stanford children will benefit from this move. This simply is not the case. Moving the boundary will not only create massive division within the classroom but it will fundamentally fail to solve any of the issues that it is supposed to be addressing. Does the existing boundary create division? It is true that pupils from Stanford are currently scattered across 11 different secondary schools, but changing the boundary will not alter this at all. If anything it will create more division because children that live just one street apart will be unable to attend the same school. Is it safer for children to travel to Stringer? This simply makes no sense. To reach the bus stop children in the boundary change area travelling to Blatch or Hove Park need only cross one road, Dyke Road, which has plenty of safe crossings. In contrast getting to Stringer involves crossing countless main roads, which are not nearly so well served with crossing points. Moreover if it were unsafe to get to Blatch and Hove Park why is it okay for kids from one side of Dyke Road to risk their necks making the journey, but unacceptable for those living in Porthall and further north? Is transportation to Blatch and Hove Park poor? Yes, especially to Hove Park. But how will diverting some kids from one small area of the catchment solve the transport problems for everyone else? Moving the boundary will not solve these issues and, moreover, the transport links to Stringer from Porthall are non-existent. Stringer is within walking distance but the reality is that in the absence of any public transport some days parents will inevitably end up driving their kids to school, creating additional congestion and CO2 emissions where there would otherwise have been none. Is it difficult for children to attend afterschool activities at Blatch and Hove Park? Yes. Public transport after school is almost non-existent which makes it difficult for children attending these schools to do afterschool activities without ending up stranded. Moving the catchment will not solve this problem. Better transport will. And given that there is no public transport between Porthall and Stringer, children attending afterschool activities there will be equally stranded, having to walk home when it’s dark during the winter or be picked up by parents.


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