Letter to Editor: Praise for Headteachers after meeting for Year 7 SFG pupils but questions remain
News / Fri 1st Sep 2023 at 07:11am
I HAVE just attended a meeting of the parents of pupils due to start in Year 7 at SFG in September. I have nothing but praise for the response of the BMAT academy team, Helena Mills, Dee Conlan and staff.
They have clearly moved mountains in response to this emergency situation and produced a plan that should minimise disruption. But they shouldn’t have had to be doing this. It’s an emergency caused by poor project oversight from the Government and it needs explanation.
I was concerned to hear that any delay in communication between staff and parents is the result of the DfE insisting that all communications are first vetted at ministerial level. It’s a shame that Ministers weren’t all over the detail in this way when the school was being built. It does feel like the DfE is panicking and has things to hide.
We remain unsure whether the whole school will need to be demolished, but that outcome is looking increasingly likely; what a waste of public money.
Now that my immediate concerns around my children’s education have been addressed, and the DfE has been confirmed as having had sole responsibility for the procurement and oversight of the construction of this dangerously defective building, I’d like to repeat two of my questions to Mr Halfon, our MP, who has been very quiet recently.
1) Did any of the directors of Caledonia Modular have any links to the Conservative party?
2) Who chose Caledonia Modular, a company not a member of the modular building trade body, to construct these modular buildings?
Agreed 100% the staff have been brilliant and clearly are dedicated to the children. An absolutely disgraceful situation, far to many questions that Robert Halfon and this government need to provide answers to immediately. I also extend my thanks to the staff lead by Mrs Conlon.
I believe that the second question you raise is so important. Surely we would be appointing companies which are part of a wider approved body for security and safety in a public building?
SFGC was entirely within the remit of DfE and Essex Country Council. Who signed the Building Completion Certificate and when?
Well good luck to everyone if they can get a truthful response from that gutless useless mp of ours. It is not in halfons dna to respond to awkward questions for fear of upsetting his political westminster paymasters. This idiot should be front and centre right now demanding some form of explanation from the dfe as to what has gone wrong here. This clown is more than happy to jump up and down on trivial matters claiming credit for the the little or no input he has put in but when it comes to the safety of our children he is no where to be seen. Shame on you halfon. All you are interested in is an easy lifestyle not the people of harlow
My wife and I went to the Yr10-11 one yesterday. I do commend the work that SFG (BMAT) are putting into this extremely stressful situation. I was disappointed that our local MP, a delegate for the DofE was not present? However, I did question the safety of the phase 1 structure in the event of inclement weather. The field is fairly exposed and the wind whips across it. Is it a case of out of the "Frying pan into the fire"? Are these structures any more safe than the vacated building? At the end of the day they appear to be of a similar style used at racecourses, intended to be up for a matter of days then removed, bouncy floors for one, what is the acoustic insulation like between the modules, classrooms can be a noisy environment at best. Will they withstand 5 day week constant use until at least November Phase 2? I was not convinced by the proposed toilet facilities. I think a dedicated set of more substantial Porta Cabins would be a better option. I also think that Risk assessments and reports should be made public to ensure that all angles are considered. My last concern is will this Phase 1 truly cater for the 600-700 children likely to be in one place together? I don't want to be a negative Nelly, just a concerned parent. Year 10 and 11 have been through the ringer with Covid and the first set of temporary classrooms whilst based at Burnt Mill. This is the future of our children at the end of the day......
Very trustworthy. Shame. "I was concerned to hear that any delay in communication between staff and parents is the result of the DfE insisting that all communications are first vetted at ministerial level. It’s a shame that Ministers weren’t all over the detail in this way when the school was being built. It does feel like the DfE is panicking and has things to hide."