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Kilnwood Vale Primary School celebrates their official opening

Kilnwood Vale Primary School was officially opened on Thursday 28th November.

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The opening of the new school was celebrated by the key partners who were integral in getting the project delivered, including Crest Nicholson, Willmott Dixon, members of the Council and GLF schools, which is a Multi-Academy Trust made up of 40 schools.

Jo Newton, Executive Head Teacher, Natalie Broad from GLF and Andrew Dobson from Crest Nicholson all spoke of their aspirations for the school’s future. Jo Newton gave guests a tour of the school and morning tea and there was also an official cake cutting and ribbon cutting with some of the children outside the school.

Kilnwood Vale Primary School is home to more than two hectares of open space including a football pitch, multi-use game areas and extensive playing fields. The school also features a dedicated wildlife area, including a pond and wildflower meadow for the children to enjoy learning and leisure activities.

The school is set back from the road, offering easy drop-off access and parking, giving parents in Kilnwood Vale peace of mind that their children’s safety and wellbeing has been carefully considered. Both the school and associated nursery are designed with Kilnwood Vale’s growing community in mind.

Andrew Dobson, Managing Director of Crest Nicholson Strategic Projects, commented:

“The official opening celebration of Kilnwood Vale Primary School marked an important milestone for the growing local community of Faygate. Since the first day of term in September to now, it has been remarkable to see the school community develop and thrive, with the facilities at the school being well received and already put to good use. As a developer, we pride ourselves on delivering the infrastructure needed to make a community flourish.” 

Russell Miller, Director of Willmott Dixon, said:

“It has been great to see the children, teachers and key people gathered to enjoy the new Kilnwood Vale Primary School. We’ve enjoyed working in partnership with Crest Nicholson to deliver a new school for the local Faygate community and seeing the children at today’s celebration interacting was a sure sign of how prosperous it will be in the years to come.”

GLF Schools CEO, Jon Chaloner, added: “We are delighted to mark the official opening of Kilnwood Vale Primary School.  Our mission at GLF Schools is to be a supportive family of schools where together we grow, learn and flourish and we are very pleased to see that our children and colleagues have settled so quickly and happily into their exceptional new surroundings.”

Education

‘Reckless’ National Education Union attacks West Sussex Council over schools reopening

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The National Education Union has spoken out saying they have been frustrated by the ‘reckless’ approach they say West Sussex County Council has taken towards the safety of its members on the matter of schools re-opening more widely.

Joint NEU West Sussex Branch Secretary Ann Seuret said:

“It is disappointing that the local authority has referred to a ‘phased re-opening’ because schools have been open throughout the lockdown, where our members have been working on the front line, providing a vital service for vulnerable children and those of key-workers whilst they protect us from this awful disease.”

They say that contrary to the views expressed by some politicians in the county, The National Education Union is consulting on a wider re-opening of schools and is using a detailed checklist endorsed by the other education unions, which follows the structure of the government’s own guidance, to do so. They add that every school needs to consult in good time to fulfil its statutory obligations, and many are only at the beginning of that process.

It has now been confirmed to the NEU that many schools in West Sussex will NOT open more widely on June 1st despite the council claiming that they will. This follows widespread concern from heads in West Sussex wanting reassurances from government.

NEU Regional Officer, James Ellis said:

“The National Education Union wants children to return to school as soon as possible, but only when it is safe. Our five tests set out some reasonable criteria by which to measure this, and they have not been met. We still do not know the rate of infection (the R rate) in the county, or whether or not children are less likely than adults to pass on the infection. Schools are not able to keep children two metres apart, and this is acknowledged in the government guidance. The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has concluded that there is no evidence that age affects the likelihood of being infected with Covid19, so we cannot understand why children are not required to social distance. Whilst testing has been increased nationally, our members are not confident that the ability yet exists across West Sussex to isolate cases and successfully contact, track, and trace them. This system just isn’t ready yet, and so we believe West Sussex County Council is acting too hastily. This stands in marked contrast to other councils who are taking a more cautious approach to only open more widely when the scientific data shows it is safe to do so. Despite this recklessness many West Sussex schools are sensibly deciding that 1st June is too soon.”

Primary schools in West Sussex which have already confirmed they will not yet open more widely on June 1st include:

  • all schools run by The University of Brighton Academies Trust: Lindfield, Blackthorns, Holmbush, Pound Hill, Desmond Anderson, and it’s secondary: Burgess Hill Academy
  • all schools run by The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT): Broadfield Primary Academy, Hilltop Primary School, Portfield Primary Academy, Seal Primary Academy, Seymour Primary School, Tangmere Primary Academy, The Bewbush Academy, The Mill Primary Academy, The Oaks Primary School,  and it’s secondaries: Chichester High School,  Thomas Bennett Community College and The Academy, Selsey,
  • Southgate Primary School


In addition, Headteachers at Crawley Secondary Schools: Ifield Community College, Holy Trinity School, St Wilfrid’s, Oriel High School Hazelwick and The Gatwick School
– have taken the unusual step of issuing a joint statement.

In it they said:

“As a group of secondary Headteachers of the schools in Crawley we have unanimously agreed that no students will be in school (other than those for childcare) any earlier than 15th June… We have come to this position in order to act responsibly for the welfare of the school and local community.”

NEU West Sussex Joint Branch Secretary and Health and Safety Officer, Anne Barker said:

“For the National Education Union it is not about an arbitrary date, but uppermost in our considerations is the safety of our members, the children in their care, and their families. The statutory obligations of employers to meaningfully consult on risk assessments is clear.

This means there has to be enough time to explain the issues to our members, time for them to consider and make informed responses, and time for employers to take into account their response before making a final decision.

We are ready to do that on the basis of our five tests and our checklist, but schools must let go of this arbitrary June 1st date. Mr Ellis added, “If schools do push ahead to open more widely on June 1st we will advise members that we do not believe it is safe for them to attend work and that we are not satisfied that the employer has met their obligations under the Health & Safety at Work Act. Any member subjected to a detriment as a consequence of not attending work will be vigorously defended by our union.”

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