Time to tackle louts
A school principal has promised to work with councillors to help reduce anti-social behaviour by his pupils.
The principal of the Dukeries College, Ollerton, Mr Danny Smith, spoke about this at a meeting of Ollerton and Boughton Town Council.
Plans outlined at the meeting last week include setting up a youth council for the town, which would be democratically elected and could be handed a budget by the town council to spend on young people’s community schemes.
Mr Smith said the school already had a council with two members of each year group sitting on it.
He said the council set its own agenda but could pass on questions and concerns to the town council.
In a bid to tackle issues such as littering and anti-social behaviour, particularly at lunch times, Mr Smith said he was prepared to work with the council and other authorities in tackling the problems.
He said the problem of children gathering in town centres was not unique to Ollerton.
He told councillors he would be prepared to look at footage of any misbehaviour caught on the four security cameras on Forest Road to identify culprits.
He said: “We can make examples of those dropping litter and involve parents more, and I could use some of my staff to covertly watch students in the town.
“We try to educate students about not dropping litter, and it is part of their personal, social and health education.
“I have had to employ someone to pick up the litter in the school after break times, but I do not have a magic solution.”
At the meeting Mrs Carole Turner said she was very keen to see a youth town council after the idea was suggested several years ago.
She said: “The youth council would look at the issues we look at and give their view from a youngster’s perspective.”
Mr Russell Snood said: “Littering is not the only problem.
“Although it is not major stuff, I have witnessed myself mindless criminal damage by pupils from the school.
“As a local youth magistrate I have dealt with youths.
“Cameras are fine for enforcement but the problem is educating children about respecting other people and their property.
“This is often lacking in the home so school is the only other option.”
Mr Smith said he was not sure what more they could do but invited town councillors to visit the school and see what they did to promote good citizenship.
Mr Smith said he and the governors were keen to pursue academy status for the school.
This would mean the school would be completely rebuilt.
Mr Smith said Nottinghamshire County Council would probably be the school’s main sponsor and would provide set up costs, so it would still have a major say in the running of the school.
The rest of the cost, £20m- £25m, would be met from the Building Schools for the Future scheme.
The government pays the school’s running costs and would be directly answerable to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Mr Ed Balls, in terms of performance.
Mr Smith said links would have to be made with higher education establishments and this would more than likely be Nottingham Trent University, which Mr Smith had more of a bend towards vocational courses like the Dukeries.
He said: “Along with the plans to regenerate the centre of Ollerton, I think we have a golden opportunity to put right some of the idiosyncrasies of the school building.
“The new build is a great way to raise aspirations and it can apply to segments of the whole community.
“We can create something to cope with educational needs for the next 20 years, but there will be lots of consultation with the community.”
Mr Stan Crawford said any new school development should go hand in hand with the town council’s plans to redevelop the town centre with a new shopping and leisure area.
Mr Smith reassured the council that the Dukeries’ community ethos would remain following any rebuild, and facilities such as the leisure centre, and the Whitewater Day Centre, would be unaffected.