Friday, 1 December 2017

Open Evening at Hay School

The place was packed!

Wires were trailing everywhere, but all the concrete floors are down, and it was fairly easy to get an idea of what the school is going to look like when it's finished. Some of the furniture has even been delivered - mainly drawers and cupboards in pale wood, piled up along the edges of the wide main corridor - which will also be used as a teaching space - the plans have groups of tables and chairs marked along it. It's also laid out with the youngest children at one end of the long corridor, and the oldest children at the other end, with each year group zigzagging from one classroom to the next until they reach the far end.

There were little groups of people everywhere in the building, talking, and lots of kids running around. I passed one little girl, looking round with a serious expression and saying: "Where's Year 2 classroom?"
"They're all identical," I said to her mum.
"Yes," she said, "but it's very important to her that she finds the right one."

Nobody I spoke to was much impressed with the "community space". "Ooh, think of all the things you can do in there," said one person, with great sarcasm. "The pottery classes, the parties...."
"Well, at least community groups can use the school hall," another person said. But community groups used to be able to use the school hall and the community centre - and there's no possibility of pottery classes in the school hall.
Another person was pleased to see the separation between the library/community space and the classrooms, with the school hall between the two - there have been some concerns about security issues with a public space being part of the school.
Someone else was concerned that there will be no caretaker - so nobody to make sure everything is cleared away and clean after a group has used the space, and nobody to make sure the school is locked up when everyone leaves.
Other people were annoyed that the County Council had obviously decided on what they wanted to do with the Library four years ago - so everything HOWLS did was futile, because they weren't going to change their minds whatever local groups wanted.
Someone else asked where the Town Council were going to meet - they had the impression that the Town Council would be moving into the new school building too. This may have been a memory of the previous plans for the school, which were widely consulted on, and which were rather more extensive than the one which is actually being built.

Another mother was concerned that there were no girls' changing rooms for PE.
I've been looking at the plan I was given by the builders as I went in, and there don't seem to be any changing rooms at all - but when I went to junior school, back in the Dark Ages, we all changed for PE in the classroom, and all the girls just went down to our vests and navy knickers. The boys wore shorts, but I don't ever remember seeing them change into the shorts. I don't know what happens over at the swimming pool - I've never been in there, not being a great fan of splashing about in water.

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