New pri­mary school is ap­pre­ci­ated by ev­ery­one

Harefield Gazette - - OPINION -

YOU may have heard, or read, that Hilling­don bor­ough has opened sev­eral new schools re­cently. How­ever, noth­ing can com­pare to vis­it­ing one, which I was lucky to do last week.

Un­able to ac­cept an invitation to the of­fi­cial open­ing of Rabb­s­farm Pri­mary, I was pleased to be of­fered a peek at a later date.

The old school has been re­placed by a stun­ning new build­ing – its suc­cess due in no small part to head teacher Bar­bara Neville be­ing in­volved in its de­sign and ex­e­cu­tion ev­ery step of the way.

No over­flow, or squashed pupils, here – there are plenty of class­rooms, in­clud­ing smaller ar­eas for those need­ing ex­tra help, and a vi­brant, invit­ing li­brary.

My eyes widened fur­ther as I saw high-tech white­boards, fab­u­lous out­side space, a mas­sive hall and even a food tech­nol­ogy room and a drama/dance stu­dio.

The staffroom has been de­signed to have easy ac­cess to the play­ground. Most old schools have the teach­ers’ sanc­tu­ary as far away as pos­si­ble from pupils, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, but Rabb­s­farm has got around this with a thought­ful and much-needed ad­di­tion – a quiet room set aside for teach­ers to mark and pre­pare work, well away from the play­ground!

It is ob­vi­ous that the sur­round­ings are not only ap­pre­ci­ated by staff and par­ents, but are en­joyed by the chil­dren too.

OK, it’s not only a build­ing that makes for a great at­mos­phere, but it’s a long time since I’ve seen pupils so con­tent and in­volved in their lessons – and com­pletely un­fazed by a vis­i­tor pok­ing her nose in.

What a great an­ti­dote to the con­stant bad news fed to us by politi­cians about the state of our schools. By th­ese stan­dards, the fu­ture is good. Def­i­nitely a gold star – or 10 – for Rabb­s­farm.

While sort­ing out stuff for a mem­oir, I re­alised that in spite of great strides in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, and many pos­i­tive sto­ries like Rabb­s­farm, some things un­for­tu­nately seem locked in time. I found a news­pa­per cut­ting from my old school’s prize­giv­ing which quoted a Canon Bryan Green say­ing the world at times ‘ap­peared to be mad’.

He said: “We have never had so much ‘know-how’ as to­day and yet we do not know how to live with each other, or be with­out bombs, racial dis­crim­i­na­tion or bro­ken homes.”

That was 50 years ago.

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