News in October 2010

Family fun event at Bath City Farm

Bath City Farm’s Apple and Pumpkin Day held on Saturday, attracted a lot of families and the children loved taking part in all the different activities to do with apples and pumpkins.

More local residents are discovering the farm, as well as its club for 5 to 10 year-olds which runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.
Children like Tom and Jack (pictured) queued up to have a turn at making juice with the apple press, using up about 10 big bucketfuls of apples. The apple juice was quite tasty and not too sweet as there were no additives. The remains of the crushed apples get fed to the pigs.
There was apple bobbing and a similar game where you had to use your teeth to take an apple from a string blindfolded.
There was also plenty of activity in the pumpkin carving zone, while a competition to see who could make the longest apple peel resulted in a winning peel about one metre long.

Joe, 30/10/12

The old textile manufacturers in Twerton

Thanks to Mr John Rawlings for sending in this 1910 image of the Carr mills and Cook’s factory in Twerton.

In the centre of the picture, are the parts of the Carr mills that stood on Small Island which no longer exists.
The photo also reveals some of Cook’s Factory showing behind the mills. Cook’s factory and the Carr mills were textile manufacturers, and were once big employers of Twerton folk.
In our Memories of Twerton collection, one individual remembers this: “I had a brother who worked over W. R. Cook’s factory on the Lower Bristol Road, right opposite the start of Carrs Wood. They used to make quite high class suits. He had to go to work tidy, so when he bought a new suit I used to take on the old one (Alfie, born 1913).”

Photo by John Rawlings, 22/10/10

Struggle to save Culverhay goes on

On Wednesday evening, a second public consultation on the proposed closure of Culverhay School was held at the Guildhall. Tony Parker again presented the Council’s case for closing Culverhay, based partly around raising grades and using resources to generate a greater range of choice and options in secondary schools.

Head boy James Enyon, spoke in favour of the school, saying that he had found Culverhay to be unlike the negative perceptions that some people have of it. He spoke also of how the quality of education he received had caused him to realise his potential.
Councillor Gerry Curran talked about the damage that would be done to the community by closing Culverhay, and urged the Council to consider the new proposal to turn this school into a high performing academy.
Concerns were expressed by residents over the impact of uprooting boys from their school and friends, breaking them off from the teachers who have built up relationships of trust with them, and sending them to schools far from where they live. How will it affect these pupils’ life chances?
Tony Parker was questioned on his use of data and accepted that his argument boiled down to Culverhay falling behind other schools in maths and english. But he seemed unable to show that this disparity is due to poor educational provision, rather than background factors in the community. Culverhay does well in other subjects.

Joe, 22/10/10

Stargazing on Roundhill at last!

About twenty people came to the top of Roundhill on Saturday, to take part in the star gazing event organised by the Friends of Roundhill group with the Bath Astronomers.

Two other sessions had been arranged for times earlier in the month but had to be cancelled due to blankets of cloud that prevented anything in the sky from being seen. For this last session the clouds parted and there were things for our two astronomers to focus their telescopes on.
At one stage, the big white telescope (pictured) was pointing towards Jupiter and we could see three of its moons. Our own moon also looked impressive through the telescopes with its many craters clearly visible. A girl named Jess looked at a star called Vega with one of the telescopes.
Another interesting object that we saw was a nebula – a cloud of gas that forms when a star dies and lost its atmosphere. One or two local people expressed their interest in taking up astronomy as a hobby.

Joe, 18/10/10

Strong feelings over Culverhay School

Hundreds of concerned parents, pupils, local residents and teaching staff turned up at Culverhay School on Thursday, to take part in the consultation on the proposed closure of the school.
Tony Parker the Divisional Director for Children’s Services, presented the Council’s case for closing Culverhay. Mr Parker argued that the Council’s decision was based on its aims to raise standards, choice and diversity in Bath schools and to use resources efficiently.
Mr Parker presented a chart indicating that Culverhay fell below other schools for pupils gaining 5 GCSE grades A to C with english and maths. He also said that because Culverhay uses the small schools allowance to ensure that its pupils have the same resources as other schools, the cost per pupil at Culverhay is higher than the Local Authority average.

Head Teacher Richard Thompson argued in favour of keeping Culverhay open. The latest Ofsted report states that pupils make excellent progress in relation to their starting points.
Background factors place some local pupils at a disadvantage but Culverhay is very effective at bringing these boys on to get better results.
This progress is measurable using CVA scores which show that over the period 2007 to 2009, Culverhay School was the best in Bath at improving pupil performance.
The Department of Education accepts that CVA scores give “the best indication of schools’ overall effectiveness”. Professor D. William of the Institute of Education at the University of London says that: “CVA is – by a long, long, long way – the best measure of quality of education provided”.
Mr Thompson proposed that Culverhay could be transformed into an outstanding academy for children aged 2 to 19, at the heart of the community, and with support from partners such as Bath Spa University and the Cabot Learning Centre.
As the evening wore on, residents grew angry over the Council’s apparent lack of empathy with the community. Mr Parker was forced to admit that he had suggested pupils at Culverhay be taught in portacabins if the school were to close.
A parent spoke of her son’s worries about being uprooted from his school. It was pointed out that Culverhay is one of the highest performing schools when GCSE results excluding maths and english are looked at. A resident noted that the closure would mean some pupils having to travel across the river to school in rush hour traffic.
The next consultation will be held at the Guildhall on Wednesday 20th October at 7pm.

Joe, 15/10/10

Southdown and Whiteway PACT

PACT meetings are held four times a year in Southdown and are a chance for residents to come along and have their say. This is a summary of the latest meeting held on 13th October.
An idea at the previous meeting that a live-in warden be employed at Blagdon Park, cannot be implemented, as their working hours would exceed the legal limit. In any case, there has only been one report of anti-social behaviour at Blagdon Park over the last 3 months.
The Neighbourhood Policing Team has visited residents at the Blagdon Park Community Centre and police patrols of that area are to increase. But there is no scope to gate off the alleyway as it is a public right of way.
Police have responded to anti-social behaviour behind the new flats at Haycombe Drive. PC Mark Brain said that Acceptable Behaviour Contracts have been signed by 5 youths. Section 59 warnings have been issued in response to motorbikes being used in an anti-social manner.
Somer Housing staff are also planning visits to youths and their families. A Somer representative will visit the site to look at placing a “No ball games” sign.
New priorities agreed from the meeting were: 1) Underage drinking at Mount Road; 2) Wedmore Park back alleys; 3) Speeding cars along Mount Road.

Joe, 14/10/10


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