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Parents demand action on school

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date online: 05 July 2017

A COUNCIL letter has spurred fresh anger among frustrated parents demanding immediate action to build a new £19.2 million secondary school.

Oldham Council distributed a borough-wide secondary schools admissions letter which has to be completed and returned by October 31.

But exasperated parents, uncertain of issues surrounding the location and building timelines of the new Saddleworth School, say the letter has acted "like a red rag to a bull".

More than 500 protesters have already signed a new online petition launched by the Saddleworth Parents protest group, demanding instant action over building the school.

And today, Thirza Dixon, speaking the on behalf of the group, said: "The council letter arrived when the new Saddleworth School build project is under review following the planning process being taken to Judicial Review by the Save Diggle Action Group.

"Saddleworth Parents tempers are fraying, and after more than eight years of waiting for a new school, local mums and dads are getting increasingly angry," she said.

"Many reports point to the demand for school places is set to increase substantially.

"Currently, the combined Saddleworth wards have 15 primary schools, and one secondary school ­- the now well-documented Saddleworth School.

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"The other closest catchment secondary schools are Waterhead Academy, Mossley Hollins Secondary School, and church school, Blue Coat Oldham.

"Every parent is aware with school places at a premium, not getting your choice of school is becoming a more widespread problem.

"However, the school admissions letter heightened frustration from Saddleworth parents looking to complete the process before the October deadline."

Local mother of two, Kay Clayton said: "So I'm going to be applying to send my daughter to a dump?"

Another concerned parent, Caroline Dorrington said: "I am not sending my children just anywhere!

"If Saddleworth and Oldham Council can't provide a local secondary school to the children that live here, then we and many of my friends, have said we would have no choice but to move away."

And an Uppermill parent who wished to remain anonymous, said: "We haven't mentioned anything to our daughter yet as she would be devastated.

"She was born here, has lived in Saddleworth all her life, all her friends are here. But the current Saddleworth School building is not somewhere I am prepared to send her.

"I understand the teaching is excellent ­- but the building is slowly turning into a death trap."

Respected local estate agent Alan Kirkham, said: "There is clear evidence property values everywhere are affected by the availability of a good school.

"The uncertainty over Saddleworth School will influence people whether to move in to, or indeed out, of the area.

"A good, fit for purpose local school is a big influencing factor for many people, " he added.

The parents group say Saddleworth School has been identified as one of the poorest school buildings in the UK.

Local resident and group member, Lucy Clarke said: "This is hugely important for the whole future of the Saddleworth area.

"We need a new school. My eldest daughter is in year 7 and the staff at the school are fabulous ­- It's so unfair that they have to struggle on in this terrible building while the politics roll on ? Get it built!"

Now Saddleworth Parents are urging locals to join their campaign which can be seen online at Change.org.

There is also a Saddleworth Parents Facebook page which regularly receiving daily visits from over 2,000 people.

Visit their Facebook: www.facebook.com/saddleworthparents Online Petition: Saddleworth School: Stop the delay. Find a Way.

Comments

The reason why there is a shortage of school places is because no parent wants to send their child to failing academies like oldham academy north, oasis academy and waterhead academy. If their was decent schools in oldham parents would not have been bothered cllr amanda chadderton approved a 5 million expansion of the failing oldham Academy north and she also approved saddleworth school to be built at diggle without proper consultation. The failure of school policies in oldham is her fault

Oldham Council have dragged their feet over this project for far too long. They have allowed themselves to be bullied by Keith Lucas and his rent a crowd mob. We pay taxes to Oldham MBC to get these things right and if Council officials have got the legal aspects of the planning wrong they should be sacked. They have cost us all thousands of pounds in wasted legal fees and wasted years of childrens education by their complete ineptitude to do the job right in the first place. Get it built.

"If their was decent schools in oldham..." you might be able to write in English!

Easily solved!....build the new school in the same place instead of trying to ride roughshod over the residents of Diggle.
It wouldn't surprise me if the Council tried to submit another planning permission to build the school in Diggle, because they feel peeved that Diggle action group beat them in court and they want another chance to get their way, costing us tax payers more and wasting time as they would lose again.

These children have been in the school system for six years.
If OMBC officials can't plan in that time how long do they need?
Poor work like that should not be tolerated.

The blame for the continuing delay lies the Save Diggle Action Group, not with Oldham Council.

Save Diggle Action group should hang their heads in shame. Just get the school built. It is not the councils fault. Blame Keith Lucas and the ones that hide behind him. These are wealthy Saddleworth residents who don't want to be named but are willing to put Lucas in the spotlight. He is as stupid as they are wealthy

Oasis Oldham is not a failing school please get your facts right.

Watcher & Kingfisher - you are both correct SDAG are to be blamed for the delay in the school build. However, I applaud this group of people, no matter how small or large, that use their democratic right to object to something they believe is fundamentally wrong. If the Council has not made the decision to move the school in the first place, it would have been built by now probably. The rationale for the original decision should be scrutinised and no stone left unturned.

SDAG need to be fully aware if the school is not built on the pallet works, no doubt housing will be. Which do the residents prefer?

 

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