Following the announcement yesterday that due to falling pupil numbers the two schools might be amalgamated and turned into a new school by September 2005, angry parents met those behind the proposals to voice their concerns.The meeting was held at St Mark’s School and lasted nearly two hours during the course of which it was decided that the petition, containing 285 signatures, would be put before States Members when the plans for the new school were lodged on 2 December.The main concerns raised by parents focused on the location of the new school, resulting traffic and class sizes.
They put their questions to Education, Sport and Culture Committee members Deputies Ben Fox, Judy Martin and Julian Bernstein, committee president Senator Mike Vibert, as well as the director of Education Tom McKeon and assistant director for estates and administration Mick Heald.Parent Jeanette Evans said parents, pupils and staff had watched a presentation on how the decision to bring forward the proposed merger was reached then been able to examine plans for the new school which is due to be built on playing fields at La Pouquelaye.She said: ‘The new school sounds fantastic but it is not the school we want.
We want to retain the close-knit community that we have at St Mark’s and I hope they will take into consideration what we have said.’Mr McKeon said: ‘For a lot of parents it is very convenient to take their children to St Mark’s because they live just around the corner and work in town.
To take them to the new school or to some other school would be less convenient.’Traffic was another concern.
If a school of 350 children is generated there will be a lot more traffic.
This will then be added to because people will have to take their children by car rather than walking as they do now.
‘Also some parents believe their children benefit from the smaller classes at St Mark’s which in some cases have 13 children.
The average class size at other schools is 25, and there was a lot of debate around that.’Mr McKeon said he understood their concerns but said Education wanted to provide a better learning environment for the children with more amenity space.Another meeting is to be held tonight with parents and staff at La Pouquelaye School.