|Cllr Eddie Stewart|
IES Breckand school have forced the closure of Brandon Youth Club as they are unable to afford to abide by onerous new restrictions and charges imposed by IES.
Writing in Brandon Life local Tory District Councillor Eddie Stewart explains what has led to the closure of the Youth Club:
I have some very bad news for the parents and children of Brandon. Breckland Youth Club is now closed ... permanently!! As you all know I have been writing about our need for a meeting with IES Breckland to discuss their ‘Terms and Conditions of Hire’ as they were untenable for us. We had been promised a meeting at 3 public meetings and also by the new headteacher and by e-mail. Indeed, at the first stakeholders’ meeting we were assured that the youth club would be able to continue as before.
We were misled! The Club Leader was offered a meeting very recently if she could get to the School within 15 minutes. This she managed to do and saw our Treasurer as she was entering the School grounds and he came with her. There was no time to contact anyone else and so I didn’t know of this meeting until it was over.
The meeting itself lasted around ten minutes and our representatives were told that the rules were NOT up for discussion as they had been decided on and finalised by the Governors. Also we were told we can no longer hire the gym, which we have paid for for 11 years. The increased costs generated by these Terms and Conditions mean that we cannot afford to run the Club and there were other restrictions also….
...Playing Fields in the summer were also non-negotiable. In the early days of Sabres Breckland Youth Club figured strongly as one of the reasons for saving the School and even featured in a DVD presentation. How ludicrous that seems now.The School has published a very detailed lettings policy on its website but parents who have children at the school who can no longer attend the youth club might be more interested in the complaints procedure. Sadly this is missing from their website but parents absolutely do have a right to have a complaint heard by the Governing Body who must consider and respond to it. It will be interesting to find out what has happened to the complaints procedure….(note that the school is required by law to have a complaints procedure)
IES Breckland need to remember that the school is a community asset they lease from the County Council. It belongs not to them but to the people of Brandon.
Sadly this is not the first time that promises made whilst the school set out to secure the support of parents and the local community have been broken.You may remember that IES failed to employ a single teacher from the predecessor Middle School which caused an outcry locally.
When even a local Tory councillor is saying that local people have been misled by the school it really is time to take a look at the governance arrangements at IES. Why does the school not care the youth club is to be forced to close? Many will wonder if this school which opened in September without even a library is being run for the benefit of the children of Brandon or for the benefit of a Swedish company.
Update: The school has responded:
IES Breckland's Response to Eddie Stewart's Personal View
IES Breckland's Governing Body and SABRES Educational Trust were saddened by the Breckland Youth Club Committee's decision not to reopen their club which had previously been held at the former Breckland Middle School. Despite many communications and correspondence between IES Breckland and the Youth Club's Leader the Committee felt that as they were unable to use the gym they would instead close the club. The gym is not part of the school offered for hire. This is due to forthcoming Phase II building works being carried out a er hours and insurance stipulations.
IES Breckland's Governing Body and SABRES Educational Trust wholly support community use of our facilities and are greatly disheartened by inaccurate comments made by some members of our community. The School Hall was offered to the Youth Club and if they change their mind we would welcome another meeting with them. All groups using our amenities are subject to the same terms and conditions of our Lettings Policy. We currently have six community groups successfully using our services weekly and several other groups making use of our facilities throughout the year. The IESB Friends have a number of events scheduled and the community will be invited to join in. IES Breckland is primarily a fully functional, inspirational and quality place of learning – a secondary school for the community.