New Building Strong Future

Our New Building Strong Future campaign was launched on Wednesday 20 September 2017. In case you missed the initial presentation, the slides are available by following this link: Sawtry New Building Strong Future Presentation 20 September

The legacy of the past

On 6 October the former principal of Sawtry Community College, James Stewart, will be sentenced in the Crown Court having pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud by abuse of position and an additional charge of misconduct in public office. The former vice principal, Alan Stevens, has also pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position. All these crimes relate to their time at the College.

Where we are now

The long-term sustainability of the school remains at risk because of what we can now publicly say were the crimes of the past. Not only has the school lost significant sums of money as a result of those crimes, but the behaviours and absence of leadership during that prolonged period means that we are still trying to catch up on years of under investment in health and safety and building conditions.

For far too long, our students, staff and community have to suffer shoddy buildings that are not fit for use.

In February 2016 an independent report suggested that over £2.5 million was needed just to bring the buildings back up to a basic operational standard.  In the summer of 2016, CMAT committed its trust-wide “Schools Condition Allowance” fund to address the issues at Sawtry and the imminent threat of closure made by the fire authority after they had been invited to assess the buildings.

This is not a trivial matter.  A poor quality physical environment has an impact on student attainment, attendance, morale and on staff recruitment and retention.  In February this year we had to close the school due to storm damage.  We have to find a way forward.

The planning permission for the £3.5 million teaching block proposed in the 2014/15 Condition Improvement Fund bid is still in place.  The trust has pledged to contribute over £1 million of this funding; but we need another £2 million from our partners to make this much needed improvement to the buildings a reality.

How can I help?

We now need the help and support of the whole local community to ensure that those who can make a difference start to act.

We are now asking for you to action your support by liking and sharing our Facebook page, NewBuildingStrongFuture, and signing our petition which can be found at: www.newbuildingstrongfuture.co.uk.

Show your support  in putting right the crimes and mistakes of the past by emailing your local councillor and those on the Cambridgeshire County Council Children and Young People Committee, to encourage their investment in the new school buildings at Sawtry Village Academy.  Their contact information can be found here.

An update from the second public meeting 

Thank you to all those who attended the meeting last night and for your continued support throughout the campaign. In case you missed the presentation evening, the slides can be found here.

It became clear how we are moving in the right direction and we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of the next steps in our search for funding:

At the meeting Shailesh Vara MP encouraged us all to write to him expressing our views and concerns for the buildings at Sawtry Village Academy and how we feel this is an exceptional circumstance which demands additional funding from the Government.

When writing to Shailesh Vara state you would like him to discuss this with the Education Minister, Lord Agnew, or the Education Secretary, Justine Greening (or both!). When this is said in a letter to Mr Vara, he has a duty to send a letter himself to those you have asked him to discuss the issue with. If everyone can mention this in their letters to Mr Vara, Lord Agnew and Justine Greening will see this is an issue which needs to be addressed immediately.

Mr Vara’s contact details: shailesh.vara.mp@parliament.uk or Shailesh Vara MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA

Unfortunately Councillor Simon Bywater could not attend the meeting but he sent a letter in his absence which is available this link.

At the CYP meeting on 5 December, Councillor Bywater, the chairman of the Children and Young Person committee, is presenting a case to his committee to support the funding for Sawtry Village Academy.

The paper that will be presented to the CYP Committee in support of the funding for Sawtry Village Academy on 5 December has been published and it accessible through the following link – Capital Investment for Sawtry Village Academy

The CYP meeting is open to the public; however we need to know before this date how many are attending, so please email Mrs Wilson (swilson@sawtryva.org) to let her know you will be attending and we urge as many of you as possible to do so. If a lot of people are attending we will be putting on a mini bus or coach to take everyone to Cambridge for the meeting. The meeting is 2pm-5pm.