The Strongest And Tallest Cranes Ever Built

The Strongest And Tallest Cranes Ever Built

5th Aug 2021

For every reason to go for crane hire, there is a crane to suit the purpose perfectly.  Read more

Village Co-op Store Raises Cash For School Library

Village Co-op Store Raises Cash For School Library

30th Jul 2021

Shoppers at a village Co-op convenience store have raised money by opting to donate dividends earned on their purchases to Nethersole Church of England Academy to help stock its new library.


Tamworth Informed reports that headteacher Jo Alexander has said that the donations have come just at the right time as the school’s funds are low, and its library was in dire need of a major refresh.


The library is currently an underused space that requires new books and furniture. The vision is to make it a fully working library whilst also being a learning space for groups,” said Mrs Alexander.


We have not been able to hold our usual fundraising events due to visitors on site being limited. Also, with some families struggling financially due to furlough and self-isolating this has had a big impact on what we feel we can ask from parents.”


The donations were received in the form of a grant from Tamworth Co-operative Societys Community Dividend Fund, which this year has seen all of its branches paired with a different school to support.


In total, over £10,000 has been handed out, and payments were made earlier than usual due to the pressure on education budgets.


Mrs Alexander said that the Community Dividend Fund scheme is hugely beneficial, and the school values such donations, as they can help support initiatives that otherwise would struggle to get off the ground, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.


The support we have received from the local community is much appreciated by everyone at the school,” she added.


The original Nethersole School opened in 1638 and since then there has always been a school closely associated with nearby Polesworth Abbey. Together with the nursery section, it currently caters for 326 children aged between two and 11.


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English School Bubble Isolation Rules To End

English School Bubble Isolation Rules To End

15th Jul 2021

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that key Covid restrictions on education and childcare are to be scrapped at the end of the summer term. This means that the current system of sending whole bubbles home after a single positive case will end, as will the need for face masks, social distance measures, and staggered start and finish times.

Officially, the rules will be eased with the lifting of other national restrictions on July 19, but many schools will have finished for the summer before that date. The current Covid testing regime for school pupils will be transferred to the NHS Test, Track and Trace system, although two on-site tests will be required at the start of term in September.

The system of sending whole bubbles home from school has attracted strong criticism from those who say it has been having a detrimental effect on children’s education and development.

Mr Williamson acknowledged this in his speech to the Commons on 6 July, saying: "I do not think it is acceptable that children should face greater restrictions over and above those of wider society, especially since they have given up so much to keep older generations safe during this pandemic."

He added: "Where there are outbreaks schools and colleges may be contacted by NHS Test and Trace and they will also work with local health teams as they currently do now. We're also setting out new rules that mean from the 16 August children will only need to isolate if they have tested positive for Covid-19."

The latest official statistics show that as of 6 July, 641,000 school children were self-isolating because of a positive Covid test in their bubble. However, it is believed that only 28,000 pupils had a confirmed positive Covid diagnosis. Department for Education (DfE) figures show that in the autumn term, 33 million days of school were missed due to isolation rules.

From 16 August, no one under 18 years old will have to isolate if they are contacted by NHS Track and Trace, unless they have a positive Covid test. While many parents and some teachers will welcome the news, there are still some concerns.

The National Education Union accused the government of pursuing a ‘herd immunity’ policy, according to a report in The Guardian. Ministers have rejected his claim. Kevin Courtney, the NEU joint general secretary, said in a statement that while headteachers will welcome not being responsible for testing of pupils, he has concerns about the alternatives.

There are also concerns that as Covid cases continue to rise steeply in the UK, schools will face severe staff shortages as teachers go off sick or have to self-isolate.

The government has pledged £1.4bn to help schoolchildren in England catch up on lost education time during the pandemic. This figure has been criticised as well below what is really necessary, which is thought to be nearer £15bn. Exams including A Levels, AS Levels, and GCSEs have been cancelled this year, and replaced with teachers’ estimated grades.


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Warrington Modular Home Plan Approval Recommended

Warrington Modular Home Plan Approval Recommended

9th Jul 2021

A development of 228 prefabricated homes at Grappenhall Heys in Warrington has been tipped to be recommended for approval, despite objections from parish councillors.

The Warrington Guardian reports that developer Urban Splash submitted a detailed planning application earlier in 2021 to bring its trademarked off-store manufactured modular units - House by Urban Splash - to the town for the first time, as the final phase of Homes England’s 1,000 home Grappenhall Heys residential housing scheme.

The 228 units already have outline planning consent and Warrington Council is recommended to grant detailed consent to the scheme at a planning committee meeting next Wednesday.

The development will be a mix of two, three, four, five and six-bed homes, and 68 of there 228 will be ‘affordable’.

However, Appleton Parish Council claims the design is ‘not in keeping with the area’, and Grappenhall and Thelwall formally objected, claiming that the development will be 'an additional enclave of development disconnected from local services’. There were also concerns raised about the design, calling it the ‘wrong product in the wrong place’.

Planning officers have said that the development should be approved, stating: “It is recognised that the appearance of the properties is different from the existing (and under construction) development in the surrounding area but it is considered that this reflects a new phase of development that by virtue of the landscape led approach and high-quality architecture will be a positive addition to the identity of the area.”

The development would be built using modern methods of construction, with modular units lifted into position by crane, and House by Urban Splash intends to introduce new typologies to meet the needs of the local market, as well as using existing models from its core range of House designs.

There would also be a central copse, that is proposed to run through the neighbourhood, providing 30,000 sq ft of green space and play areas.

The project team comprises masterplanner Feilden Clegg Bradley, architect Shedkm, landscape architect Planit-IE, multidisciplinary firm Ramboll, transport advisor SK Transport and Avison Young as a planning consultant.

The same planning meeting also discussed a scheme that would involve the demolition of a pub in Grappenhall, replacing it with a three-storey, 70-bed care home facility, car parking, and landscaping.

The proposal details that care home developer New Care, which is part of the Altrincham-based McGoff Group, would construct three blocks connected by glazed-fronted and flat-roofed linked elements.

While access to the site would remain the same, the existing car park would be reduced in size to accommodate 30 vehicles, including three mobility spaces and an ambulance drop-off zone.

The plans have been amended since they were first lodged, with changes including reconfiguration of the proposed balcony area, additional provision of internal ventilation systems and minor changes to the external appearance of the building.

Garner Town Planning is New Cares planning consultant and CSquared Architects designed the scheme. It is recommended for full consent at the next meeting.


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Children’s Laureate Opens New Cambridgeshire School Library

Children’s Laureate Opens New Cambridgeshire School Library

2nd Jul 2021

A school in Fenland, Cambridgeshire is now the proud owner of a bespoke library that will house more than 1,000 brand new books thanks to an initiative spearheaded by Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell MBE.

Peterborough Today reports that Cowell, author of How To Train Your Dragon, formally opened the library at Benwick Primary School on Thursday 24 June. The author teamed up with the school as part of a project to transform school libraries.

Headteacher Clare Talbot said the children have been blown away by the library that has come complete with new furniture and a dedicated piece of artwork created by Cowell to mark the project, which has seen six very different primary schools chosen to benefit.

The initiative aims to showcase the transformative impact that a well-funded primary school library can have on the opportunities for children alongside the vast inequality that children across England currently face.

The ‘Life-changing Libraries’ initiative aims to develop a culture of reading for pleasure and has the support of the Books Trust.

The headteacher said the school had been overwhelmed at being chosen to receive the bespoke library and hopes the gift of the new books will inspire children to enjoy reading.

She said: “We have every kind of book imaginable, we have board books for preschool all the way up to a huge collection of poetry as well as all the major titles - there is every book a child could possibly want.

“The project aims to promote reading for enjoyment. The challenge is to get every child reading and start their journey into reading which is the gateway into so many other things in life.”

Cowell has also called on the Prime Minister to help reverse the spiralling inequality in education by putting primary school libraries at the heart of the long-term response to the pandemic with a ring-fenced, yearly investment of £100 million.


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