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Parkside & Coleridge: We Want to Know What You Think

April 8, 2005 9:42 PM

The future of Coleridge school affects the whole of secondary education in Cambridge. Parkside and Coleridge schools are proposing to go into 'federation'. We are at an important moment in the discussion of this idea, as consultation closes on April 30th. Any decision could have a knock-on effect for other schools in the county.

Comments should go to the schools (see details below this article).

Federation means that the two schools will have a single governing body, one principal, and a combined leadership team. Most staff will teach at only one school and Key Stage 3 teaching will be separate, but the schools will share resources and combine to improve the opportunities offered to pupils - for example, widening choice at Key Stage 4. Catchment areas and admission arrangements will remain separate.

Here are some more of key points of the proposal:-

  • Coleridge will remain open and able to build on its success in coming out of special measures: present pupils will not be disrupted
  • Federation offers some of the financial advantages of size, while both schools remain relatively small
  • Best practices can be shared - the result should be higher standards and more opportunities for staff, which should attract and retain excellent teachers
  • Parkside is heavily oversubscribed but has no room to expand; as standards rise at Coleridge, more will opt for that school
  • Coleridge will apply to become a specialist school in performing arts, balancing Parkside's status as a specialist media arts college
  • The County Council will be asked to write off Coleridge's deficit, but the budgets of the two schools will remain separate
  • Community use of the Coleridge site would continue

The 'numbers game' is a crucial aspect of the issues facing Coleridge. This is affected by recent decisions of surrounding schools not to increase intake. In fact, Netherhall governors are reducing yearly entry to 240 children from 252, while St Bede's have decided not to expand further.

The Liberal Democrat-led City Council recently discussed the principles by which the proposal should be judged. It suggested that the key factors were:

a) the quality of education offered to every child

b) the long-term viability of the arrangements

c) community education must remain available, in a convenient location, for people now served by Coleridge

d) there must be safe routes to travel to school for all the children of the area

e) the needs of Ridgefield primary school must be protected

If you want to have your say - now is the time!

To make your views known the schools you can e-mail clerk@coleridge.cambs.sch.uk with the title "Parkside/Coleridge Federation" or write to either:

Clerk to the Governors, Parkside Community College, Parkside, Cambridge

or

Clerk to the Governors, Coleridge Community College, Radegund Road, Cambridge.

Local Liberal Democrats are also interested in your opinion. E-mail David Howarth at david.howarth@cambridgelibdems.org.