Victory for Parent Power as Council begins work on Russell Scott School playing fields
Wednesday 19th April 2017 09:29 Business Community Denton & Audenshaw Education Tameside Posted by Nigel P.
Russell Scott

Parents and children will no longer have to run the gauntlet of puddles of water like this to access Russell Scott School.

Tameside Council leader Kieran Quinn, has brokered an agreement to resolve the concerns raised by parents at Russell Scott Primary School regarding the school playing field.

The council released a statement last night regarding the playing field which was rendered unfit for purpose after contractors Carillion had used the field as their building compound site.

The fields were left littered with debris, unsafe to play on and badly drained.

A council spokesperson said: “The plan agreed by all parties – including the school governors at a meeting this evening (18 April 2017) – will see the school playing field improved and a significant extension to the all-weather play area. Once completed, the facilities will be beyond anything previously considered.”

The work will be done by the Engineering Services team at Tameside Council who will fully involve the school and pupils in the design and delivery of the work.

Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Kieran Quinn said: “I am very pleased to announce a resolution to the long running concerns raised by the governors and parents of children attending Russell Scott Primary School regarding the school field and all-weather play area.

“The plan I have agreed between the school, the Council and the contractors Carillion plc will see the school field levelled, drained and re-surfaced. The all-weather play area will be substantially extended and will be far bigger than the previous expectations.

“This is a great opportunity to provide the school with fantastic outdoor facilities that are far above and beyond what the school ever anticipated.

“I have listened to parents concerns, and their frustration that the work completed by the developer was not, in their view, satisfactory. The Council has worked closely with the school, including the chair of governors Elaine Healey, and the contractors to find this very positive solution to what has been a challenging issue.

“The improvement work will be delivered by Tameside Council’s engineering services. All three parties – the school, the Council and Carillion plc – will be jointly funding the project.

“I know parents have had real and genuine concerns. I hope that by bringing all the parties together to resolve the outstanding issues the school community can move forward. Our focus can now return to providing the best possible education for our children.”

Russell Scott Primary School Chair of Governors Elaine Healey said: “The school community has been frustrated with the development work, particularly with the state the playing field was left in after it was used as a site compound during works to refit the school building. The contractors attempts to restore the playing field just weren’t good enough in our view – especially in relation to the drainage.

“I approached the Leader of Tameside Council Kieran Quinn for help and I’m really pleased that he has listened to our concerns and worked with us to sort out the problems.

“Although we’ve still got to work out the finer details, we now have a plan that has been agreed by all of us for a new and bigger all-weather play area and a playing field that will be just that – a place where the children can play when our great British weather allows!

“Finally at Russell Scott we can solely focus on with what we do best – providing our children with a great education – rather than talking about buildings, fields and drainage.”

Assistant Executive Director for Environmental Services at Tameside Council Ian Saxon said: “Over the Easter school holidays we have done some preparatory work in readiness for doing the full job over the summer. Once complete the all-weather play area will considerably larger than ever planned and the playing field will be substantial improved.

“But before we start doing the work have to design it. We are really looking forward to getting the kids involved in this part of the project. After all it’s their play area so we need their input to the plans.

“The agreement reached also gives us an opportunity to deliver some additional improvements that were outside the scope of the original plan. A good example of this will be improved access at the back of the school via a properly drained and fully surfaced footpath – something which we know has been of concern to parents.”

The patience and goodwill of parents and children of Russell Scott School has been tested over several years since the new build school was handed over to them.

Long suffering pupils, parents and staff have been confronted with sewage back flows and by rain water that engulfs the paths to school each morning during wet weather periods.

The problems even brought the situation to the attention of former old boy Andrew Gwynne MP who agreed with parents that the situation was “unacceptable”.

Now parents, pupils and teachers are hoping this new resolve to rectify the long awaited playing field situation will open a new chapter with a bright future for the popular school.

 

Russell Scott playing field as photographed on the 21/3/17 It can only be described as a quagmire still full of building debris five months after angry parents highlighted the problem to Denton and Reddish MP  Andrew Gwynne who said the conditions at his former school were “unacceptable.”