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Parents' fury as Roke begins new era

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A CLOSED children's centre, a taped off playground and children zealously checked over their uniform – these are some of the issues parents of the old Roke Primary School are fuming about.

Harris Federation took over the primary as an academy after a year of controversy between the provider, the Department of Education (DfE) and the Save Roke campaigners.

However, once parents resigned themselves to the changes, many became hopeful Harris would deliver on its promises to modernise and improve the school.

Claire Hall, a mother of two at the new Harris Primary Academy Kenley, told the Advertiser: "Harris had assured us they would improve the school but what we have seen so far is just awful.

"They haven't touched the outside for starters – the adventure playground has red tape round it so the children can't play there.

"The astro-turf has plants growing out of it. They put down some new carpets and a lick of paint on the inside but other than that, it is just the same.

"I never had to visit the old headmistress but I have had to go and see the new principal already.

"I was taking my daughter to school in her brand new uniform – she was quite anxious about moving from reception to year one so I came with her.

"She was in her pinafore and a new teacher came up to her and unzipped it – to make sure she was wearing the right T-shirt with the Harris logo on.

"If they made as much effort with the school's appearance as they did the pupils it would be alright. But to a parent it just looks shoddy."

Becky Carrier, who led the Save Roke campaign, said: "I'm not surprised parents are upset.

"The worst thing is they have closed the Bourne Children's Centre which ran toddler and parents groups and play groups although they promised it would be unharmed.

"Now the building it was in is just full of photocopiers.

"One of the main things the new school said they would improve was communication but we got a text at 8.30am saying one of the entrances would be closed permanently. Obviously it was chaos and when some parents tried to see the headmistress, she was holed up in her office. I haven't even seen her face yet."

A Harris spokesman said the climbing frame had been cordoned off because it needed repair, that the children's centre was never supposed to be transferred to the new school, a big investment had been made into ICT and the closed entrance made the school more secure. They also said the uniform checking was "an unfortunate, one off, incident in the first couple of days of term. The school has said sorry to the parents involved."

The new head, Kate Magliocco, said: "We have had a fantastic start to term. Children have been smart and happy and their behaviour has been exemplary.

"There have been fun, exciting lessons and activities and we're looking forward to the rest of term."

Parents' fury as Roke begins new era


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