Boarding school row: It’s about planning, not race, locals insist

Plans to open a new state boarding school for poor children from south London in a rural beauty spot are an “experiment” which will turn the pupils in “political footballs,” a local councillor has claimed. This is from the Telegraph…

Anne Reynolds, a parish councillor, was speaking after John Cherry, a Conservative member of West Sussex County Council, said some ethnic minorities did not appreciate hard work and suggested that the school would be a “sexual volcano”. He last night resigned from the Conservative Party.

Mrs Reynolds said local people were concerned the site chosen by the school was unsuitable for development and insisted: “This isn’t a story about race.”

She said she was “shocked” by Cllr Cherry’s comments, but added: “This is a school designed on the back of an envelope.”

The new school will take 600 pupils from Durand Academy, Stockwell, South London and educate them at the disused St Cuthman’s boarding school in the town of Stedham, W Sussex, in the beautiful surroundings of the South Downs National Park. Pupils will be able to board at the school for free from Monday to Friday and then return home for weekends.

The “Eton-style” experience will keep pupils safe from drug and knife crime, teachers hope. Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has backed the “inspirational” project.

However, Mrs Reynolds described the site, which occupies around 20 acres, as “unsuitable for development” and said the school would “ruin the countryside”.

She claimed that Durand Academy had not consulted with locals living in the area.

“The school being built on this beautiful green site will mean it will affect people’s leisure activities,” she told the Today programme.

“A lot of people ride there, cycle and walk their dogs. It’s really going to ruin the countryside and we’re in the middle of a newly formed national park so we would expect our countryside to be protected against huge developments like this.

“The planners have been consulting with Durand but Durand have not been consulting with the local villagers. We’ve been trying to get a meeting with Michael Gove for the last 18 months but the doors have been shut to us.”

Mrs Reynolds said there was “no evidence” that children would benefit from this type of school.

More at:  Boarding school row: It’s about planning, not race, locals insist

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