‘Village’ not answer

I READ your front page article (April 26) about the proposed ‘learning village’ with great interest.

As a father of three young boys and a resident of Southbourne, the topic is clearly of major importance to me.

I did not however, attend the meeting because it seemed to be avoiding the central question – namely the development of new housing.

That appears to me to be the driving imperative for so much upheaval, rather than the improvement of Southbourne education.

The distributed leaflet for the meeting was poorly written (incidentally, with Southbourne spelt incorrectly on the back page) and it did not lay out any of the educational benefits to future village children at all.

It focused purely on anticipating the objections to the initiatives the Southbourne residents have understandably raised.

I personally believe – as I am sure many others do – that a single site is not beneficial as children under five have markedly different educational, pastoral and environmental needs to 15-year-olds.

Bringing the age groupings together all on one site dilutes, even undermines, that focus and stretches the demand on resources, teaching and the management structure.

This proposal is also detrimental to the character of the village, given its lack of road infrastructure and amenities to support such a large-scale housing development.

This extra housing, of course, also results in an increased intake of children to the single school site, that brings with it additional problems, not least bigger class sizes and potential teacher overload.

I would be most interested to read why Margaret Eva considers the learning village is a brilliant concept, as she is quoted as saying, and also whether she lives in Southbourne, and as a consequence has considered its wider residential impact?

Unfortunately, I have no doubt that this development, both in terms of property and education, will be pushed forward via the Bourne Community Trust (backed by developers and the Chichester District Council) who will place their emphasis solely on roads and planning issues.

This of course will have nothing to do with education and everything to do with property development.

As a local father who values what his local community and environment can offer, particularly in the context of schooling, I consider that such an approach is morally concerning and requires to be seriously challenged.

Paul Simpson

New Road, Southbourne