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1. PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES: Schools

VISION: Vibrant rural schools that deliver high quality and accessible learning for local people.

This could be achieved by:

* Community involvement in local schools to overcome issues, including transport
* High quality facilities for rural schools
* Support for shared use of school premises
* Initiatives to enable students to walk and cycle to local rural schools

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Answer - Neither agree nor disagree

Small rural schools are desirable. Good teaching and good academic results do not necessarily depend on major facilities or large infrastructure. Most schools have active parent associations but their constitutions do not allow them to co-ordinate informal transport services for children.

"High quality facilities" for rural schools need to be considered carefully. Does this mean floodlit sports grounds? This could be very inappropriate in a rural setting.  A rural school may benefit from having adjacent woodland, which may provide a benefit which cannot be quantified on a checklist, but the rural environment for the wider community may be damaged  by the desire to provide standardised facilities across all schools.

Initiatives to enable students to walk and cycle (provided they are safe) are welcomed. However, Surrey has one of the highest number of affluent multi-car households in the UK, many households in the 2010 Census in Guildford rural wards claiming to own up to 5 vehicles. The complete absence of local policing and flouting of local speed restrictions on narrow rural roads is a severe safety concern and potential threat to this aspiration. This is exacerbated by the increasing use in rural areas of 44 tonne HGVs to carry out deliveries (due to 'consolidation' practices by hauliers) and ignore HGV GPS routes.

It is important that economies of scale do not make small rural schools non-viable, and do not mean the suburbanisation of the rural environment in order to provide school facilities that are appropriate for a large school.

Saturday the 16th - Published by Normandy Action Group, 11 Glaziers Lane, Guildford GU3 2DD - funded by Keith Witham, Surrey County Councillor - Hostgator Coupon Template