Just imagine a new school built only after the Chief County Architect and Chief Education Officer give time to uncover local opinions by spending time in the area of the intended school talking to local people in cafes, market place and shops.
Imagine a school which is by choice placed in the heart of its community and is newly built to combine connected services on the same site. Just imagine a school which can find common ground with Social Services, Probation Services, Youth Services, Adult Education, University Adult Education, Workers Education Service, Senior Citizen and Disabled Services because they are placed together on the same site.
Just imagine a new school where the Headteacher, Senior staff and Departmental Heads are advertised nationally and appointed months in advance of the first intake of students.
Just imagine a school where the appointed staff are given carte blanche to structure every aspect of its operation. Just imagine a school which recognises all teaching departments with equal status and supports the belief that short bursts of teaching do not provide teachers with the opportunity to properly engage their students in learning.
Just imagine a school where the main objective is to find value in each and every student not just as individuals but also in the context of their participation within a community.
Just imagine a school where teachers sacrifice non-teaching time to ensure that class size is reduced to a minimum and where teachers accept responsibility to ensure parental links with the school by offering at the outset to visit every home.
Just imagine a school where all teaching staff agree from the outset to freely give an evening to running additional specialised courses for students of the school and adults. Just imagine a school where the headteacher arrives in school an hour before it starts to run an activity based ‘breakfast club’ once a week.
Just imagine a school where every year the teachers offer students a range of activities and suspend the timetable for a week, allowing the teachers and students to pursue in depth an enthusiasm not normally possible in the confines of the normal classroom teaching. Just imagine a school where each teaching department is designed to have its own refreshment area for breaks and local volunteers give time willingly to assist with the operational running.
Just imagine a school where on Friday evenings the library resource centre is opened for researching project work and students are unfortunately turned away because the library is full to capacity.
All this and much much more happened at Sutton Centre in 1973
Retired Teacher & Education Advisor Martin Galloway 2011
You could find out what happened in the early years of
Sutton Centre and other secondary schools where
the school staff were ambitious to give the best deal to ALL its students.
‘Schools on Trial’ [The Trials of Democratic Comprehesives]
Written by Colin Fletcher, Maxine Caron and Wyn Williams.
Open University Press ISBN 0 335 15022 5 .
First published 1985