by Claire Berry
Adult and community learning at Firs Hill Community Primary School is under threat after its mobile classroom was condemned as unsafe and structurally unsound.
The mobile classroom has enabled a large programme of adult learning to take place over the last three years with over 100 adults using the facilities every week. Rashida Hassanali, Community Education Coordinator at Firs Hill said:
“We provide essential skills for life including English language; maths; creative writing; ICT and GCSEs. Advocacy, advice and surgeries with the Children’s Information Service and Libraries also take place. All this is in danger of being lost if the space is no longer available for adult learning and the crèche.”
“The cost of patching the roof temporarily is around £10,000, that’s compared with the cost of a new double mobile which would be in excess of £100,000,” said Rashida.
The building has been patched up several times, and the school feel money is being wasted maintaining something that is at the end of its life and inadequate. Jon Cowley, of Burngreave New Deal, said:
“We funded Rashida’s post for three years and the work at Firs Hill School to engage parents and get them to support their children has been fantastic. This is reflected in the outstanding attainment levels of their children this summer – exceeding results from more affluent areas of the city. It is important that this work isn’t lost.”
Yet New Deal could not offer any more financial support. We asked the Council’s Children and Young People’s Directorate if they could help. Steve Farnsworth, Deputy Director of Children & Young People’s Services, said:
“We’re doing a lot of planning to make sure that we can continue to serve these children and their families into the future, and to provide activities in buildings that are fit for purpose.”
“Immeasurable gains have been made through the process that has taken place here. All of this will be undermined if we lose this space. We need help!”
As we go to press, funding of £10,000 has been found to patch the roof, so activities will take place in alternative provision for 3–4 weeks after the half-term break. For more information contact Rashida Hassanali on 0777 358 3699.