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Protest over plans for new school for 'naughty' children in Lincoln

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: March 07, 2013

  • Residents living near to the proposed site for The Acorn Alternative Provision Free School on Calder Road, Lincoln, attended a meeting to express their concerns on Sunday

Comments (9)

Residents are protesting over plans for a new school for challenging and naughty children in Lincoln.

The Acorn Alternative Provision Free School will target pupils aged between 11 and 16 who are at risk of being excluded from other schools and academies across the city.

The school will aim to bring pupils back into learning, provide parental advice and will run intensive programmes to address their emotional and behavioural needs.

The former Lowfields Infant School site, in Calder Road, Lincoln has been proposed as the potential site for the new school. But residents believe it will lead to a nightmare problem for parking as The Meadows Primary School is opposite the site.

There are also concerns about placing a school for troubled teenagers so close to a primary school.

And residents claim a public consultation for the school, which took place on March 1, was not properly advertised by the group behind the scheme, Acorn Behaviour Support Ltd.

Claire Holmes, of nearby Orchid Road, Lincoln, has a daughter who currently attends The Meadows Primary School.

She said: "I'm very concerned with the lack of notification for the public consultation meeting. I didn't know about it until after it had happened.

"It would appear that the residents meeting which took place on Sunday and was arranged through word of mouth on Saturday was more greatly attended.

"I believe all children have a right to education. However, I don't feel the site is the best choice for a school.

"As a resident, I have concerns over the traffic. I appreciate that some people have been told that the pupils will be brought to school in two minibuses, but it's my understanding they have behavioural difficulties and I can't see how you'll be able to get them all on a minibus.

"A lot of people have said that there were two schools on Calder Road originally, but there was no greater number of pupils than there is at The Meadows now. Traffic is going to be an issue.

"But also, as a mother, I don't think it's ideal to have a secondary school of any nature in such close proximity to a primary school. I'm not convinced they'll run well next door to one another."

Dawn Fenton, business manager at The Meadows Primary School, added: "The first thing we knew about it was when the representative from Acorn came to the school and asked to speak to us.

"It wasn't until everything had been agreed by the Department for Education that we'd been consulted.

"One of the things we did say we were concerned about was the traffic element, but the representative from Acorn said they were expecting their pupils to arrive to school by taxi and minibus – and that there is adequate parking on site.

"They also said they were aware of our starting and finishing times and would work around those."

The application for the school was accepted by the Department for Education and Prime Minister David Cameron in August last year.

The Echo contacted Jerry Tucker and Helen Clayton, both listed as consultants for the school, but they said they were not able to comment by the time the newspaper went to press.

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  • Summerisle  |  March 11 2013, 8:11PM

    This is needed, the kids need help and guidance. Being close to well behaved children will be of benefit. They will surely be closely monitored, not like on birchwood

    |   5
  • impetuous  |  March 08 2013, 1:01PM

    Ah, IT_Man is a Mail/Sun reader and believes it all. That explains it.

    |   6
  • IT_MAN  |  March 08 2013, 4:01AM

    Interested00: It's been in the papers enough about certain kids with behavior problems indentified by about four letters who get full disability mobility allowance which pays for Motability car to take them to school in. The argument was about them being able to choose cars like BMW's under the scheme.

    |   -5
  • Brokenwindow  |  March 08 2013, 12:46AM

    Just to clarify this issue has nothing to do with disabled or special needs education which is so important and so absolutely necessary. Quite simply this is about Central Government's barking initiative to fund free schools around the country creaming off vast amounts of money from the already overspent Education budget and from much needed mainstream education funding. Free schools can be set up by anybody, anywhere, teaching any curriculum as long as they pass certain criteria. Acorn want to bring in the Echo's words the most 'naughty' disruptive children that mainstream schools refer to them at great cost (£3500 per pupil) in one place, right next to Meadows school for little children and our back door. Yes, we do have other longstanding problems like parking during the pick up and drop off times. Yes, people are concerned about other wider issues and the unknown. Yes, residents are angry about the lack of consultation and information to make an informed decision. Don't you think it strange how Acorn are refusing to meet with concerned residents, cancelling single appointments at the last minute, unavailable for comment to the press, gaining access to the property and allowing architects & furniture planners to work on site even before the so called consultancy period has finished? It's because they want to rush it through under the table and use Lowfields as it's the cheapest option and not the best location. This is a private residential area not a place to correct 48 badly behaved teenagers bussed in from around the 4 corners of the County. People need to wake up and realise free schools are unproven lucrative business ventures for a small number of so called highly paid educationalists who are trying to provide a service that mainstream schools already have in their own school discipline policies . What exactly are they going to teach them in 6 weeks that mainstream schools can't? How do they intend to integrate them back into their own community when they are so far from their own school areas and peers? Surely, the money would be better spent giving mainstream schools additional help at source to help the children and their families root causes of their bad behaviours and not reward them by teaching them to ride motorbikes and non standard curriculum activities. Somehow I don't think we will be having this debate when your garden is trashed or your car scratched when these teenagers decide to go walkabout around the neighborhood as they cannot be detained even behind the 2m high fence. Never mind you can always decide to sell your house in what will no doubt become known as 'the bad school area'. Best of luck then.

    |   -5
  • Interested00  |  March 07 2013, 11:09PM

    If children are "naughty and uncontrollable "should we not be finding out why rather than locking them away 24/7? A lot of things were acceptable 50 years ago, thankfully some of us have moved on. IT_MAN what has disability allowance and mobility cars got to do with this article?

    |   12
  • IT_MAN  |  March 07 2013, 10:30PM

    It seems to me that these kids that are classed as having a disability problem are just naughty and uncontrolable, any that get disability allowance that can qualify them for a free car under motability need it removing and these kids sent to a very strict boarding school where disapline can be enforced 24/7, it does seem stupid to put them next to a primary school. I know over 50 years ago kids with any special needs used to have a similar system as a young lad that lived near us went to one.

    |   -14
  • FreedomSpeech  |  March 07 2013, 5:32PM

    Strikes me as classic NIMBY whining. They haven't even bothered to come up with decent arguments against the idea, just the same tired old "traffic issues" red herring and the frankly pathetic "I don't think it's ideal to have a secondary school of any nature in such close proximity to a primary school. I'm not convinced they'll run well next door to one another." Why wouldn't they run well next door to each other?

    |   19
  • Interested00  |  March 07 2013, 1:00PM

    I don't feel that the Echo has done the school any favours or its pupils by terming them as "naughty". The children have emotional and behaviour needs and the term "naughty" is un fare and out dated. The meeting on 1st March was not publicised very well and there for a lot of people do not have the full facts to make their minds up. I think Acorn should do a survey in the area as a lot of residents who actually live near or border the school are in favour. I would also like to point out that there was once 2 schools and would have been more traffic before the 2 schools amalgamated when the number of students dropped. The issue of traffic needs to be addressed but that is for the Meadows school, police and the parent who are parking their cars not Acorn to sort. And as for the comment "how will they get them all on a minibus" 24 children 2 buses and I'm sure they will get on like anybody else.

    |   22
  • ayrton1994  |  March 07 2013, 12:12PM

    So Dawn Fenton is concerned about the traffic element which a new school could bring. It is a shame she cannot sort out the traffic problems we have at the moment with the parents of the pupils at her own school first of all. Dispite complaints to both the school and police we still have chaos twice a day with parked cars along both sides of both Calder Road and Bradbury Avenue, as well as vehicles parking in no parking areas with complete disregard for the safety of the children. Acorn do seem to have addressed this problem with the busing in of the pupils and staggering the start and finishing times of the school so as not to conflict with the Meadows. Instead of being negative and putting objections of this kind against the school we should all be thinking of the positive benefits that a school like this can bring to both the pupils and their parents. The parents of the children at the Meadows are lucky they have children with no problems, just think this could have been your child that needed this type of help.

    |   23