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Monday, 22 September 2014

Dear Members of Cumbria County Council Cabinet

Letter of representation about Captain Shaw's

 I shall make this letter brief, because I am under the strong impression that my longer and more perfectly crafted epistles to you simply do not get read in their entirety.

Captain Shaw’s Primary School has a future, as does the village of Bootle, and both are integrally bound up with each other. Cumbria County Council should be leaping with delight at the opportunity to be associated with such an ambitious yet credible plan to bring life, work and growth to this disadvantaged coastal area. Children’s Services, in their reports to you, have painted a one-sided and partial picture. It has been a great pleasure to have the opportunity to redress that balance with some of you face to face.

With over £13 million pounds worth of inward investment planned for over 60 homes, a hotel, business units, and renewable energy, the village will grow. You will then need the school places that Captain Shaw’s has to offer, and you will look very silly in a few year’s time explaining to the residents of Bootle why it is that you now have to extend Waberthwaite school to cope with the influx.

Captain Shaw’s is a good school. The troubling issues which were identified last year have been addressed and progress is being made. Even Children’s Services officers have to agree with that. Their General Advisor to us is very happy with what is going on in the classroom. If I was not happy with what was happening, I promise you I would have my children out of there before you could turn round.

Size is not an issue. There is no report, no study, anywhere published that says that smallness of size is an educational of social disadvantage. Small schools can and do provide all the opportunities and more that large schools do. Children get more opportunity, not less, to make a broad range of social contacts and friendships because of the ease of organising joint events and educational experiences with other small schools. My own children can boast good friends in at least five other schools in the area.

Money is not an issue. CCC will save nothing by closing us – in fact it will cost you more in transport. In a very few years’ time, numbers will rise, and the budget will balance. Our projected deficit is paltry compared to that of some other schools in the county. In the meantime, the community will pick up the vast majority of the slack. If Bootle can attract the high-quality investors that the Wellbank project has done, this is small beer in comparison.

This is not about some rose-tinted romantic view of idyllic village childhood. This is a long, hard look at the comparative befits of small-scale education and the determination and vision of the local community to safeguard their future. Bootle is full of practical people, interested in solutions that work.

It is a privilege to be associated with this school and this village. Cumbria County Council should be using it as a model for future community development, not threatening it’s existence.

I look forward to seeing you all on the 12th April.

Yours sincerely

Abigail Hardwick
Parent Governor
Captain Shaw’s CE School
Bootle

By Abigail Hardwick
Published: April 1, 2012

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CCC - please LISTEN to what your local community wants - Abby has worked very hard to represent local views and to look at what is really happening in Bootle now and what is anticipated over the next 10 years. She is speaking as a local resident, a parent of children who attend this school, and as a qualified teacher - she is representing the views of the people who elect you and pay their community charge to you - The Localisation agenda is supposed to accommodate the needs of the the people that you represent!

Posted by Mary on 3 April 2012 at 20:21

Falklands commemoration, Chetwynde, pasties, fuel . . . but no, straight out of left-field as usual! How on earth do you do it?

Posted by George Street (Mr) on 2 April 2012 at 09:17

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