By Audlem Webteam - 19th July 2006 1:13pm
Audlem Online has received the following message from Joseph Bloor, who returned this week to Buerton from his home in London. It's a wonderful message of support for his old school.
"I am a former and maybe future resident of Audlem District (I was born and grew
up in Kinsey Heath) currently living and working in London. I returned to
Audlem on Sunday in order to attend the Schools Organisation Committee Meeting
regarding the proposal to close Buerton County Primary School, (which I
attended from the ages of 4 1/2 to 10/11) which was held on Monday 17th July at the Crewe Alexandra Stadium.
As part of my visit, I contacted Buerton School to see if it would be possible
to drop in to the school to have a look round. The teachers and other staff
very generously agreed to take time out to show me around, and were as
welcoming as anyone could be. Whilst I was there, I had the opportunity to speak
to all of the current students and to speak to them about my time at Buerton
(which I had not visited for 20 years) and to show them some photographs (two
albums) from the period I was there. Many of the photographs I had taken as a
pupil on school trips were of my fellow pupils at the time, who were/are
in fact the mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles of the pupils there now. It was
wonderful to get a clearer picture of how the school has developed, and though the faces and buildings have change over the years, the atmosphere and spirit of the school remain strong. Even in pupils who have moved away. Since I learnt about the threat of closure (only on the 8th/9th of July), I have written letters/emails to all the local County councillors, to the local MP's Gwyneth
Dunwoody and Stephen O'Brien, to Tony Blair and in fact to the Queen! I truly
believe that if Buerton school is forced to close, this will be a significant and tragic point in the history of Audlem.
I believe that Buerton School deserves the support of the entire local
community, (including the residents and pupils, teachers and governors of
Audlem School). Whilst Buerton is a small school, and is viewed as expensive
(per pupil) by the local council, in the recent Ofsted reports it actually
outperformed Audlem St James, both in "overall quality" and in terms of "value
for money". Personally I do not believe that this is wholly important and would
never judge a school purely based on a government report.
I am certain that Audlem St James is also a very good school that offers a
different education to a larger number of children.
And I have numerous friends
who I met within the village, at cubs, church groups and when we moved to Brine
Lease at 11 there was never any problems or competition between the two
schools, except maybe at sports matches. However the County Council are
attempting to streamline provision (based on their interpretation of Government
legislation), and seem intent on closing Buerton and transferring the pupils to Audlem St James.
There are many complex and interwoven factors involved in this process, but I
would like to urge the people of Audlem to help counter the competitive
attitude instilled by Ofsted reports and cost per pupil and surplus pupil
numbers and embrace and support the fight to Keep Buerton School open. My
parents (Celia and Ian Bloor) visited both schools when my older brother
(Daniel) reached reception age, and made the choice to send him to Buerton even
though they lived within the official catchment area of Audlem. They made the
same choice when it was my turn, and whilst I am ceratain I would have had a
wonderful time at Audlem, I am eternally grateful to them for sending me to
Buerton. And I attribute who I am today in a large part to my early years at
If Buerton school is closed, parents will lose the "choice" which has been a
Tony Blair buzz word for some time now, and a generation of children will have
to endure the painful process of seeing "their" school closed, followed by
future generations who will simply not be able to know/experience what the
school has to offer.
I have contacted a large number of press resources, local and national
newspapers, radio and tv, and will continue to pursue coverage of the story. I believe that this is not only a personal issue for me, but also a local one, that deals with a small rural community and its only public building. In a slightly larger context, it takes in the village of Audlem and the surrounding area, and will prevent the ability of parents to choose which school they send their children to. But it does not stop there, and this is evident in the fact that on the morning of the Buerton Hearing, the SOC unanimously decided to close Lodgefields school in Crewe.
I am glad that I attended the Buerton
Meeting and know that with some hard work throughout the summer months I will hopefully be able to help prevent the threat of closure from ever rearing up again. And I will stop at nothing (within the law) until this is acheived.
Following the SOC meeting (which was adjourned and rescheduled for 14th September 2006 following the County Council's oversight to provide the committee with all the information supplied by the schools supporters) I was invited to give a radio interview to the dedicated Cheshire reporter from BBC Radio Stoke. This interview was based on Stuart's interest in why a 31 year old living happily in London, would travel to Cheshire to attend a local SOC meeting to try to prevent the closure of a small primary school. The interview lasted about an hour and an edited version will hopefully be broadcast soon.
But the reasons are simple, and summed up by one of the pupils at Buerton who
asked me if I could speak on behalf of his class at the meeting. I told him
that I didnt know whether I would be able to speak, as I would only be there as an observer, and did not know whether the format of the meeting would allow it.
In the end it was not neccessary for me to speak. But he asked me to say this,
on his behalf and on that of his classmates, and I think this 'young man' will
definitely go far, his maturity and understanding of the situation seems to
outweigh that of most of the County councillors who have been returning
messages to me. He simply said this:
"tell them..... it's not about money, it's about education" and I think this sums up most of what I have got to say
except that: "it's not about money, it's about memories" "it's not about money, it's about children" "it's not about money, it's about the future"
"it's not about money, it's about friendship"
I hope you have managed to make it to bottom of this very long page, and I hope that over the next few weeks I will be able to get to the bottom of the County Council's intentions.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask me. As I said there are many complex issues, and I am sure that Janet Furber will be able to give you the whole history of the campaign. I arrived very late in the day, but like the twelth man (the crowd) at a football match, hope that I
can help to save this wonderful school.
Many thanks for listening. I look forward to hearing from you soon. You can contact Tony Blair at
10 Downing Street
email:- www.number10.gov.uk/output/page821.asp(The website link that was here no longer works)
tel: 07939 534 54"
Monday 21st Oct
Meet at the Bridge Inn
Scout and Guide Hall