My father was a draughtsman and I grew up watching him doing technical drawings at home; my brother went in to the construction trade, and is a contracts manager for a civil engineering company (not Barnes before anyone accuses me of nepotism!); so it has been odd in the last 2 weeks to really spend so much time looking at classroom designs and buildings sites, and personally well outside my comfort zone! The confession is that I have to get the architect to effectively translate all the language in to plain English so that I can follow the issues! The key for me is to ensure that we get the best possible value for money for the project so that we can establish a school that is fit for the next few decades of education on site, so we can keep the school in the centre of the community, and educate our future generations.
There has been much debate in education about, the largely debunked, theory of VAK (Visual, Audio, Kinaesthetic) learning; however, I want to reinstate it briefly on this project because I really do struggle to visualise designs, and so it has been something of a relief these last 2 weeks to really start to see the building design and layout take shape, and in particular this week the “military” operation of the cement pouring. It was the first time that I felt compelled to do an impromptu site visit, and was strangely fascinated by the facts and figures that Wayne quoted at me; somehow the project felt like it was becoming real in front of my eyes, and I feel excited for the developments.
I appreciate as winter weather sets in that we no longer have the small visitors’ car park for parents to use to drop off/pick up children (one of the hidden costs of expansion), but could I please implore parents to park considerately in the side streets, especially Parkside Avenue and Marshalls Drive. Whilst I appreciate it is a relatively short window of time that parents park up (for afternoon collections), it is important that we don’t block pavements and driveways, and act in a community spirit.
On the topic of community, we were overwhelmed by the support last Friday at the fireworks; we had been hoping for around 800 visitors, and had priced the event to breakeven at 600 tickets; we eventually had 1800 people through the gate and made £5k profit towards the school minibus. As well as my thanks to the Friends of Marshalls Park, the staff volunteers, Guardian Security, the Met Police (PSCO Rubee Bates, in particular), and of course Mrs Walker for coordinating everything in the office, could I say a massive thanks to the community for supporting the event? If we are honest, we weren’t quite ready for that many people, and if we repeat the event, we will know to plan for bigger numbers…after all no-one wants to queue for ages for a burger! My sense on the evening, and subsequently talking in the community, is that there is an appetite to repeat (but slightly expand) the event next year, and we are looking in to the feasibility of that already.
Like any organisation, we won’t get everything right all the time, but with such strong community support and a long term development plan, we can continue to see Marshalls flourish in the years to come.
Enjoy your weekend