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Crawley school students launch petition for change as funding cuts threaten their education

The change.org petition has been launched by some students at Thomas Bennett Community College and already has over 200 signatures.

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The school has been in the news over the past few months due to the funding cuts by TKAT.

With teachers leaving the school and residents community meetings being held with councillors it has been and continues to be a turbulent time for all associated with the school.

Now some students have taken it upon themselves to launch their own petition aimed it seems at changing the school for the better.

The students say:

“We are Students that are currently attending Thomas Bennett. We are undertaking our GCSE’s and are month’s away from exams. With limited welfare support throughout the school, such as a medical room assistant or a pastoral support assistant for each year we are struggling tremendously with the way the school is run due to low funding.”

The student who has launched the petition also mentions how he emailed the CEO of TKAT raising his concerns but was told it ‘wasn’t in their hands and overall should stop talking about it’.

Whilst the petition does not mention it there is a feel that the aim is to bring the school back into public sector as stated by Crawley Council leader Peter Lamb who has show his support of the petition.

The petition states:

“Over the years Thomas Bennett has struggled with funding, only to which this struggle became increasingly more difficult when the academy, TKAT, took over our school. Profit not students success is what this academies aim is and large group of students including me are ready to do whatever needs to happen for something to change! Whether that’s a whole year walkout or a strike with the whole school. “

It adds:

“A walk out is something TKAT does not want to face especially with media coverage and limited time for year elevens, a whole year will not just get bad qualifications with missed time but will also reflect on the education that is being provided for students by this school run by the academy.”

The very fact that students themselves have now made the decision to make a stand shows how passionately the pupils feels about their educational needs but a viable outcome still seems distant.

A spokesperson from the Kemnal Academies Trust commented,

“We welcome our students’ active involvement in their education and the Trust has been working directly with the students at Thomas Bennett.

Funding is a national issue for Education affecting all schools, with the West Sussex “worth it” movement taking a leading part in the campaign to improve funding for all schools”.

The petition can be read here.

Education

Chelsea FC Foundation brings initiative to Crawley school

The Chelsea Champions Programme is a Premier League funded project that enables Chelsea FC Foundation to place full-time staff within secondary schools and Thomas Bennett Community College was chosen for their programme.

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The aim of their programme is to increase physical activity, support leadership qualities and improve social, emotional wellbeing and increase resilience of pupils through a number of universal, targeted and individual initiatives.

Cutting through the jargon it is an exercise on both educating and motivating young people, in particular those who may be finding it harder than others with everyday situations

A spokesperson for Cheslea FC Foundation said:

“Here at Thomas Bennett Community College (TBCC) our Chelsea Champion is; Lauren Owens, who is supported by a Chelsea mentor; Yannick Jean. The Chelsea Fc Foundation Sussex department have taken over the old youth wing attached to TBCC, rebranded and relaunched it as the Community Hub. Open every day after school from 3-5pm, Monday-Thursday to TBCC students and Primary School students on a Friday. During half term, we open the Hub for Holiday Activities.

As part of support offered at TBCC, Chelsea FC Foundation have developed the Skills School project. An alternative learning provision that is to encourage positive behaviour in a group of ‘high profile’ students that struggle within main stream lessons. They take part in a variety of different activities and topics from English to Health and Wellbeing, Maths to Personal Skills. The aim is not only to help improve their behaviour in and around school but improve their self-esteem and resilience.”

Last Friday (15th March), the u18s Chelsea Academy Scholars delivered a session based around raising aspirations.

The foundation said the session was something planned out by the U18s Chelsea Academy Scholars based on information that they were given about the group of students.

The activities included looking at questions to encourage conversations around the following; ‘what being a role model was?’, ‘what qualities does a good role model have?’ and ‘what does aspirations mean?’ The main message they  put across to the students involved in the activity was that hard work pays off.”

For more information on how Chelsea FC Foundation can support your school, club or community please contact them on sussexdevelopment@chelseafc.com.

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