Rugby Free Secondary parents call for school’s future to be secured

Rugby Free Secondary School parents and pupils show support for the Rokeby Field schools plan. Photo courtesy of Donna McCrae NNL-171107-173203001
Rugby Free Secondary School parents and pupils show support for the Rokeby Field schools plan. Photo courtesy of Donna McCrae NNL-171107-173203001
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Many parents of children at the free school which could move onto Rokeby Field say its future must be secured for the sake of their children’s education.

Groups on both sides of the battle over the plan to build a secondary school, a special needs school and sports facilities are waiting after a decision was deferred last week.

Campaign group Sustainable Hillside and Rokeby Education (SHARE) argue the need is in the north of Rugby, plus they do not want to lose a valued green space.

But Warwickshire County Council’s chief planner says the lack of school places is reaching a crisis point and a lot of parents with children at Rugby Free Secondary School support the plans.

Bilton mother Donna McCrae said: “We are playing with children’s futures in real time, they are in education now and every time there is a deferral, 150 children don’t know where they are going to be in two or three years’ time.

“As adults we have a responsibility to make responsible decisions.”

Ms McCrae and other parents felt like they needed to stand up in support of the school after most of the discussion about the free schools has been negative.

But their experience of the school has been nothing but positive as they say their children are engaged and enjoy going there, and moving it to a permanent home would be a good thing.

Carl Roderick, of Coton Park, who’s son joined the free secondary school in September, said the campaign is starting to affect the children.

“They should be proud to go to the school and I don’t think they are at the moment,” he said.

“It’s created a shadow over the school and the children are starting to notice it.”

The parents argue children from the north of Rugby already go to schools in the south, and most use public transport, so extra traffic around the school would not be unacceptable.

“But the overriding factor that Rugby needs more schools should be enough.

Ms McCrae said: “The children didn’t ask for this to happen, and as parents, we didn’t ask for it, but we can’t change that so we need to do something now.

“We appreciate their concerns but at the end of the day the education of my children is paramount.”

Decision on controversial Rokeby Field schools plan deferred