I was delighted to visit Wainscott school this afternoon. There has been an extraordinary transformation from when I lived in Upnor and regularly walked past the school on the way to the Wainscott shops.
The old Victorian building and playground is now a privately run nursery. Fields behind have been transformed into an essentially new build school with capacity for an eventual 420 children. Two years of the full two form entry are now already happily ensconced at the school.
I was met by Peter Casselton, the Chair of Governors, who should be congratulated on steering the school through such a transformation. Congratulations also to newly promoted Deputy Head Joan Brunnick-Ryan. With Councillor Tom Mason joining us on our visit there was certainly strong Irish representation.
The challenge I am trying to help the school with is their drop-off and pick-up arrangements for parents and their children.
SLOW WORM SANCTUARY
During building of the new school slow worms were disturbed. Although the new entry road was allowed to be completed, the land between that and the A289 is now in effect a slow worm sanctuary.
The school was consequently not able to complete a proposed new pick-up and drop-off area. Parents are now faced with the choice of leaving older children to walk alone up the entry road, or parking outside to walk children to the pedestrian gate and wait with them.
Parking options outside the vehicular gate are few or not really appropriate, and the distance between vehicle and pedestrian gate is quite substantial.
An alternative gate off the footpath to Upnor (with which I am so familiar) is still available. However, not all parents are aware of this. The entry route through a new housing estate is also far from obvious, and its use not especially popular with some residents of that estate.
I met several parents this afternoon, including those who asked for my help, and there are various ideas for how the situation could be improved, including a potential new pedestrian crossing. I hope to be able to help them further.
A GOOD AND SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL
While Wainscott school has this challenge with pick-up and drop-off arrangements, I know that many parents from further afield have hugely welcomed the chance to get their children into the school now it has two form entry. They include quite a number who travel from the Hoo Peninsula, including some for whom it is quite convenient because they commute on further for work.
I congratulate the school on its ‘Good’ rating from Ofsted and its success at Key Stage Two. I only wish I could say that about a higher proportion of our primary schools in Medway.