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Installation of new fencing on school site

New fencing to improve children’s education, wellbeing and safety, while ensuring a public right of way is protected, is to be installed at a Welton school.

Several years ago, William Farr Church of England Comprehensive School erected fencing around its bottom field and woods to safeguard children in school, in line with Department for Education’s recommendations. This was part of a long-term strategy to secure the remaining areas of the school site.

The school must ensure that all pupils are safe during the school day, especially when using the field recreationally and while taking part in sporting activities.

Over recent years, the school has seen a rise in anti-social behaviour on its top playing field adjacent to Lincoln Road. It recently cost £10,000 to replace damaged goalposts, which were vandalised, and a further £6,000 will be required to repair the burned cricket strip. These are funds which have had to be diverted from other educational resources.

The Department for Education, together with the school, is funding the erection of perimeter fencing around the top playing field and to the front of the main school.

To protect a public right of way which runs between the main school site and the top playing field, the fencing will be installed either side of the existing public footpath which runs through the school site from Lincoln Road to the light industrial estate on Honeyholes Lane.

Headteacher Jonathan Knowler highlighted the problem the school has had in having an open school field, which has included dog mess, vandalism to goalposts, broken glass, fire damage to the cricket pitch and the need for constant repairing of hedgerows.

Mr Knowler said: “It is, of course, the minority spoiling it for those who always use the field responsibly.

“But our priority has to be the education, wellbeing and safety of our children. Schools are facing significant budget pressures and we cannot afford to keep repairing the damage caused.

“We need a secure boundary around the school to provide a safe and purposeful learning and recreational environment for our students.

“This is what parents expect for children with whom we are trusted to educate and take responsibility for.” said Mr Knowler.

“The public footpath will remain fully accessible, but people will no longer have access on to the school’s land.”

Work on the fencing will be undertaken during the summer holidays following a successful submission to the DfE’s Condition Improvement Fund.

“We understand this may not be popular among some, but I ask they put themselves in the shoes of their children or grandchildren who may be using the field for sport, only to be cut by glass or fall into dog mess.

“An important safeguarding issue the Department for Education recognises is that members of the public have direct access to children and school facilities from the footpath. It is a red line for the department and for us.

“The works will get underway once we break up for the summer holidays. Contractors have been appointed and we expect to complete the project by the end of September.”

The school has liaised with the Place Directorate at Lincolnshire County Council on the project.

“Our focus is always on the education, wellbeing and safety of the children in our care. Hopefully, these works will reassure parents and carers there is no higher priority.”

Anybody with questions about the improved safety measures is invited to a drop in at the school on Thursday, 20 July, between 5.00-6.00pm to talk to the Headteacher and School Business Leader about the project.