AS a parent with two children, I was pleased when Northumberland County Council announced their plans to change the three tier education system to a two tier system. This was supported with the promise of well-equipped, built to purpose, new schools.
These schools are equipped with state of the art technology, spacious classrooms, studios, food technology rooms and fabulous outdoor play areas.
The outdoor areas have stimulating games and play equipment, providing an extension to the classroom and excellent recreation space for our children to play during the school day.
All except the school my youngest child attends – Malvins Close Primary School.
The school opened in September, 2009, and from that time has suffered from large accumulations of surface water on the playground after every moderate to heavy rainfall. Sometimes the whole playground is covered.
Both parents and children have to trudge through this massive puddle when dropping off and collecting their children. This water does not drain away quickly and sometimes lies there for hours after it has rained.
Because of this, the children are unable to play outside on an otherwise dry day. During winter the yard resembles an ice rink for much of the time and poses a major health and safety risk. I have spoken to the headteacher who assured me that she has complained about this issue continually over the past two years. Contractors resurfaced part of the school yard in August, yet nothing has changed.
This was perfectly illustrated on September 6, when after an hour of rain, the yard resembled a swimming pool for the rest of the day. This was the children’s first day back to school after the summer break and yet again, the children had to stay in all day.
When the children do get outside to play, unlike the other new schools, the children have no stimulating games or play equipment to use in the yard. Plans were drawn up two years ago with input from children on the pupil council. These plans include both play equipment and areas/games to be marked out on the yard surface.
The school has the money for these plans to be implemented but the headteacher feels unable to do so until the current situation is resolved. Many of the children who were involved in planning the play areas have now moved on to secondary school without seeing the benefit of their ideas.
Like myself, I am certain many of the parents and all of the children and staff at Malvins feel two years is far too long to wait.
Firstly, for the problem with standing water to be resolved and subsequently, for the play areas the children both designed and deserve, to be built. I beg Northumberland County Council to look at this problem again to find a suitable outcome for our children.
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