It’s nearly the end of the school term, when children and teachers can take stock of a busy year and look forward to the summer holidays.
I was delighted to be invited back to Stockport Academy in Cheadle Heath to hear about the students’ achievements over the year, which are truly impressive. They put in so much hard work and are a real credit to the excellent teaching and learning at the Academy.
Parking around schools is a big issue for parents, headteachers and indeed neighbours. I receive complaints about drivers causing obstruction and parking inconsiderately at school drop-off and pick-up times. Occasionally this can lead to angry words being exchanged between neighbours and drivers or parents. More importantly, there is a huge worry that a child could be injured outside their school while trying to cross the road.
Enquiring with the council recently, I have heard how difficult it can be to recruit school crossing patrol officers – or lollipop ladies/men as we used to call them. It can be a very satisfying job, just a couple of hours a day paid above the national minimum wage. But it seems that there are several local primary schools with vacancies – despite poster adverts in schools and on the council website.
Quite rightly, all parents want an excellent local school for their child. All our children deserve an education which will develop their full potential and give them the best start in life. We have some great schools in Stockport, with talented, hardworking staff, supportive parents and governors, and children eager to learn.
March 1 was secondary school places day, in Stockport and around the country. The day that parents find out if their child has got a place at their chosen school. Although there are enough school places to provide a place for every child in the borough, unfortunately, this year many parents and children were disappointed to discover they had not got a place at their preferred local secondary school. Some did not get the offer of a place at any of the three schools of their choice.
The pressure on school places, which has been growing in primary schools in recent years, has now reached our secondary schools, some of which are full to bursting. To expand or build new schools needs capital investment from the government. The government is only willing to make this available for free schools and grammar schools. This is not helpful to Stockport parents who want their child to go to their local school. Another issue is the funding of existing schools.