Bret­ton Woods clo­sure mis­take

STAR LET­TER

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - Shuaib Khan Peter­bor­ough

RE­CENTLY there were a se­ries of let­ters pub­lished by the Evening

Tele­graph re­gard­ing Bret­ton, in par­tic­u­lar the echoes of re­gret that Bret­ton Woods Com­mu­nity School was shut down.

I wanted to ad­dress a few vi­tal ar­eas of this de­bate. Bret­ton Woods Com­mu­nity School was shut down af­ter 30 years of ser­vice.

I was a stu­dent in year 10 at the time, and be­ing moved to the Voy­ager School was a dif­fi­cult ex­pe­ri­ence.

The is­sue in hand pro­posed by the Lib­eral Demo­crat pre-elec­tion leaflets is that Bret­ton needs a new sec­ondary school.

Here is per­haps the big­gest fun­da­men­tal prob­lem of our times. De­spite out­cries of re­con­sid­er­a­tion and re­sent­ment by stu­dents, par­ents and staff – our con­cerns were never ac­knowl­edged.

I wrote to the Evening Tele­graph in Jan­uary 2008, in which my com­ment was pub­lished re­gard­ing the destruc­tion of Bret­ton Woods. Am I a fu­tur­ol­o­gist? Was John Grib­ble a fu­tur­ol­o­gist?

Bret­ton Woods, like many schools both past and present picked neg­a­tive rep­u­ta­tions among those who have never in­hib­ited such in­tel­lec­tual worlds.

I gra­ciously envy those who can make as­sump­tions about a school with­out ex­pe­ri­ence of it, it’s teach­ing staff or its en­vi­ron­ment. The generic idea of Bret­ton Woods be­ing a ‘rough’ school, or per­haps even a ‘de­monised repos­i­tory for so­cial waste’ as Diane Reay fa­mously sug­gested.

The con­no­ta­tions did not match the love, warmth and com­mu­ni­tar­i­an­ism many peo­ple felt at Bret­ton Woods. There were no gangs or large groups of un­ruly hood­lums, there were no reg­u­lar skir­mishes be­tween stu­dents and there was not this lurid im­age that of­ten gets con­veyed of schools in and around the in­ner city.

The coun­cil were for­ever ‘out­siders look­ing in’, hence the rea­son for their decision to merge two schools about 2.3 miles away from one an­other, for a grand to­tal of £26million, which does not cover costs for re­pairs and the main­te­nance of the school.

The un­der­ly­ing logic is dumb- found­ing. Clos­ing a school in a city where net im­mi­gra­tion has been ris­ing since 2004. Bret­ton Woods had some 1,400 stu­dents and staff.

Im­mi­gra­tion is not the fault here, just pol­icy.

One that not only fails to rep­re­sent the work­ing man and women in Bret­ton, Mill­field, Wal­ton, Wer­ring­ton and in hon­est re­flec­tion per­haps the coun­try over­all.

There is a strong feel­ing from the many peo­ple I have spoke to of both re­sent­ment and vin­dic­tive­ness on be­half of the coun­cil for those ‘chained’ to these de­monised parts of the city.

I was a stu­dent at the Voy­ager School for four years, I have no qualms about that. The school has many great teach­ers and a great nu­cleus of Bret­ton-wal­ton stu­dents.

Driv­ing through Bret­ton, I see an empty pit.

Ru­ins, a Dante-es­que hell, a breed­ing ground for the coun­cil to sell what’s left of ‘public space’ in this coun­try.

School in Bret­ton Park? Let’s take the park away from the public also, as if tak­ing away the school and its cor­re­spond­ing com­mu­nity func­tions wasn’t enough.

De­vour­ing back five years (fifth an­niver­sary of BWCS clo­sure - 13/07/2012), I stop and stare.

A ru­ined re­gion, a haz­ard and a com­mu­nity-less Bret­ton. Pure ob­fus­ca­tion from our po­lit­i­cal ‘rep­re­sen­ta­tives’.

Many hearts were bro­ken when they closed Bret­ton Woods. Some haven’t healed. And they won­der why we’re so dis­il­lu­sioned by pol­i­tics!

Although this mutiny may be vi­ral and in­dig­na­tion may be felt through the so­cial-net­work­ing medi­ums, I for one will al­ways re­mem­ber Bret­ton Woods, the real Bret­ton Woods.

A cheer­ful at­mos­phere, the per­fect so­cial mix­ing of pupils, a multi-racial and uber tal­ented teach­ing staff. Thank you for read­ing. RIP Bret­ton Woods Com­mu­nity School.

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