Email comes to the rescue for Free School proposer.

John Morahan, chief executive of Yorkshire Nationwide Schools, takes questions from local residents.

About 40 people attended an open public meeting at St. Luke’s Church Hall last Wednesday to find out more about a new Free School which has been proposed by  Yorkshire Nationwide Schools (YNS).  The meeting, which lasted almost 90 minutes, took the form of a question and answer session with the chief executive of YNS, John Morahan. I wasn’t taking detailed notes but here are a few points I picked up.

A leaflet distributed by YNS  a week before the meeting, claimed that the school would be called East Sussex Independent Grammar School.  It was taken by many that the location of the school would be in Brighton,  as this is what appears on  the website of NICHE, an associate company to YNS.

However, it emerged during the meeting that YNS are finding it difficult to find suitable premises for a school site in the city. Consequently, YNS are looking at alternative locations, one being Littlehampton! For this reason, said John Morahan, the school will actually be known as Sussex Independent Grammar School.

YNS has applied to open a Free School for 1380 pupils. The school would be for ages 4-18 and would open in September 2012, with the intake for secondary school starting at Year 7.  The teachers and management would all be from ‘local’ people.

I think it’s fair to say that most people at the meeting were unconvinced by some of the claims made by John Morahan especially as there was often little detail given to back them up.  E.g. It was claimed that 100% of pupils would gain at least 5 (A* to C) grade GCSEs in a Free School but how this would be achieved was unclear as the school would be non- selective. Emotions started to run high when a slide showing the pass rates for Brighton schools was swiftly followed by those for Hurstpierpoint College and St Paul’s Catholic College – hardly fair comparisons.

A good proportion of the meeting was spent, not discussing the proposed school but questioning the credibility of John Morahan and the YNS company. What experience did they have of running schools and how could they be confident that the schools would deliver the claims made? In answer to many of these questions, we got the reply “Please email me and I’ll get back to you”.  Well if anyone has emailed John Morahan and got a reply, I’ll add them to this post.

Not everyone at the meeting was completely against the idea of a Free School and one person from Kemptown said she welcomed the opportunity for an alternative school in her area of Brighton.


Peter Golton

[Note: at the time of writing, the website for YNS is not working!]

Friends of Dyke Road Park meeting

A meeting was held of the FoDRP on Tuesday 7 June, the minutes of which are attached.

Everyone is welcome to attend these meetings, held at 6.30 on the first Tuesday of every month, and very kindly hosted by Dyke Road Park Cafe.

Next event: Gardening Work Party 10.30 on  Saturday, 18 June.

FoDRP minutes 11.06.07

Prestonville’s Lost Pub and other scenes

Old Shoreham Road, 1910: James Gray Collection / Regency Society

The arrival of the Ghost Train, a sculpture of an old Brighton-built loco, on the Greenway appears to have been delayed, so while we’re waiting for this image of bygone times, here’s a link to a wonderful online archive of historic local photos: the James Gray Collection, hosted by the Regency Society. There are many pictures of London Road and the New England corner of the Prestonville area, including this 1910 photo of one of the Old Shoreham Road houses just up from the railway bridge, and more recent pics of the Bridge Inn, which was demolished in 1971. When you turn right under the bridge onto Old Shoreham Road, you’re going through where the pub used to be.

FoDRP rose garden

First – the postive news. In case you hadn’t noticed, the Parks Department has at last got its act together and planted up the two sloping corner beds with lavender. Should look great, and is attracting lots of bees.

But, what about the remaining beds? We know from an email sent by Alan Griffiths (Operations Manager for our park) on 18 April that the following is planned: The plan for the Rose garden is to replant the two large banked beds at either end with Lavender and Roses plus to plant four of the square rose beds up with herbaceous this season,
continuing with the other beds in the autumn.

Some of the rose beds are beyond redemption, but I know that a lot of us would be extremely sorry to see perfectly good rose beds dug up. I have been round and taken photographs of each bed, for the record, and think we should press for a meeting with Alan Griffiths, in the rose garden, before any further action is taken.

For further discussion at the meeting on Tuesday, 7 June @ 6.30 in the cafe.




FoDRP Wish List

For the meeting on Tuesday 7 June at 6.30 in the cafe, it would be good to have some realistic suggestions for improvements. My wish list includes:

2 new benches overlooking bowling green (to replace broken ones)

a tennis wall on tennis courts against which kids could practise (suggested by my neighbour and endorsed by tennis coast Cy)

some environmentally friendly planting to encourage even more birds