First class education is a priority - Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich

Cllr John Holdich
Cllr John Holdich
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For thousands of families in the city this is the week when children will be returning to school and some are making the step up from primary to secondary.

Despite our reduced role in many areas of education, it is still very much our responsibility to provide enough school places for every child that needs one.

A few weeks ago, I was given a tour of the new secondary school at Hampton Gardens which opened its doors this week.

It’s a fantastic looking school which has been made possible thanks to a £20million joint venture between us and Cambridgeshire County Council.

In the first year there will be 180 pupils, but at capacity it will educate 1,500 pupils from a catchment that includes the Hamptons and Yaxley.

The facilities there are fantastic with state of the art classrooms and technology, bright and airy communal areas and lots of green space.

We have invested heavily in our schools in recent years in order to modernise facilities and meet demand. Since 2011 a total of 2,850 secondary school places have been created to meet current and future need.

This academic year we will create a further 750 places with expansion projects at three schools.

Jack Hunt School will have a £7million expansion including 11 new classrooms, a science classroom, all weather sports pitch, and a new dining hall and kitchen.

This work has just started and will allow the school to increase its capacity from 1,800 to 1,950 pupils.

Work is also underway on expansions of Ormiston Bushfield Academy and Nene Park Academy to increase pupil numbers and improve facilities.

Combined we’ve committed £14million to these projects.

Our commitment to providing the first class education that every child deserves remains a key priority and we will continue to work collectively to provide the best experience for pupils and focus on improving exam success at all levels.

Children from a range of backgrounds, faiths and cultures go to schools throughout Peterborough.

This diversity, allowing our youngsters to build friendships and learn about other countries and their family traditions, is something we should be proud of and celebrate.

This weekend is one of Peterborough’s biggest cultural events - the Peterborough Italian Festival.

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Aldo Zilli will be making a special appearance on the Sunday.

Alongside a variety of Italian food and drink, there will be a line up of entertainment including music and dance from Laboratorio Orafolk and theatre from Shakespeare in Italy with their performance Aliens Order.

This week is Zero Waste Week and I’ve been doing my bit to reduce the amount of waste I produce.

Like lots of readers I recycle as much as I can, but this campaign is about going one step further and not producing waste in the first place.

I usually buy my lunch, but this week I will be bringing it to work in reusable containers.

I’ve also reduced the amount I print for meetings, which I hope can be a permanent change.

Very few of us can commit to producing zero waste, but I am sure we could all commit to something to reduce the amount of waste we produce. You could ask for your takeaway coffee in a reusable flask.

The commitment could be simple, but the impact, if we all get involved, could be huge.

Finally, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the family of the little girl who passed away following the tragic accident at the Embankment on Sunday.

My thoughts are with her family at what is an incredibly difficult time.