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School Expansion – Cavendish’s New Build

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Cavendish’s New Build Plans

As you will be aware by now, plans are already under way to prepare Cavendish for the demolition of the Shawgrove building and commencement of the new build in Summer 2015.  Years five and six have already taken up residence in their very stylish new sibcas units, as of January, and the school dinner hall is set to be re-located into temporary accommodation over the Easter holidays.

Due to the visible changes around school, your PTA asked Janet Marland, headteacher, to speak about Manchester City Council’s proposed new design plans at our January meeting.  Overall the prospect of finally replacing the aging Shawgrove building, and getting a new purpose built wing to the school, was obviously received very positively.  However, there are a number of things with the current design that PTA members in attendance voiced concerns about and wanted to share with all parents and carers.

It is our understanding that the original plan had been to build a two storey building that would help future proof the school and its new requirements as a three form intake.  This design would have seen accommodation for Reception classes, Years 5 and 6, as well as for existing facilities like the art and cookery rooms.  However, due to financial constraints the original plan has been downsized to a one storey build, bringing with it a number of compromises.

Our main contention is that this latest proposal does not meet the current needs of the school and certainly falls short of future proofing the school for years to come.

The current plan will not allow for our Reception classes to be re-housed, leaving them in a split site location.  The split site arrangement was only ever intended to be an interim measure to cater quickly for the three form intake, therefore comes as a big blow.  Plus with Reception remaining in its current location(s) it will continue to be an unnecessary drain on the school’s budget, as an extra teaching assistant has to be employed to ensure the safe supervision of the challenging outdoor space.

In addition to this, the proposed wing will not include provision for the existing art or cookery rooms. This will impact on cookery and sculpture provision specifically, both in terms of supporting the national curriculum and our excellent, and often over subscribed, after school clubs in these areas.

Cavendish PTA has been told that this is due to budget constraints and that having a kiln and cookery facilities in the new build contravenes health and safety.  It seems ridiculous to us that a Local Authority can commission a new school facility that is not fit for purpose, and in which teachers cannot deliver the national curriculum.  After all, practical cooking was made part of the national curriculum only last year and yet a new design in 2015 cannot support this. Plus the PTA funded the purchase of the £4,000 kiln, via YOUR Cavfest fundraising, and we would not want to see this much treasured piece of equipment go to waste.

A consultation evening is due to take place at school on the 3rd FEBRUARY, from 3.30-6.00pm, where we will all get a chance to see detailed drawings and provide an opportunity to ask questions and share our views.

Please try to attend and have your say.  It will affect your children now and in the future and is likely to be our only chance to influence the school’s changes for the coming years.

In the meantime, the school, our governors and your PTA are in contact with local councillors, who are working hard to address our concerns.  In fact just before posting this on the website, we heard that additional budget of £250,000 had been secured to refurbish the Annexe, which houses our before and after school clubs.  This is great news and a step in the right direction.

If you feel strongly about the current building plans please look to contact your own local councillors and help to raise the issue with the decision makers at Manchester City Council. 

Take inspiration from the PTA’s letter that we sent on the 21st January to our local MP, key councillors and council members.

Hopefully many voices will help influence the key decision makers and help deliver a new facility that is fit for purpose, future proofed and helps Cavendish Community Primary School continue to deliver an enriched teaching environment.