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EXCLUSIVE: St Peter's College in Chelmsford to shut

By This is Essex  |  Posted: February 27, 2009

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A CHELMSFORD secondary school is to close.

St Peter's College, formerly Rainsford High School, will shut its doors in August 2011.

Declining pupil numbers mean the school in Fox Crescent is no longer financially viable.

Essex County Council plans to build a state-of-the-art vocational centre on the site which will have 300 places for students from mid-Essex aged from 14 to 19.

Pupils aged 11 to 13 currently at the school – and those who will start in September - will be offered places at either Chelmer Valley High School or Hylands School.

St Peter's pupils and parents have been told the news and asked to give their views on what they would like to see included in the new facility.

A consultation has now been launched proposing the closure of the school and the building of a vocational centre.

Head teacher Simon Carpenter, who joined the staff in 2003, has spoken of his sadness at the decision.

He told the Chronicle: "What has driven the school and what has driven me is trying to make sure we are doing the best we can for the pupils and the community we serve, and I still do.

"It is with sadness and regret that we have to close the school but the proposal for the new vocational centre has been made with the best interests of the young people of this community in mind."

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  • PaulDG1962  |  November 10 2011, 4:33PM

    Like you Matthew (comment above) -I was a student at the school from 1974 - 1981 - We were classmates if i guess your identity correctly. The school always had a poor reputation that it didn't deserve. When I returned to the UK last year only to learn that the school was to close - I was also saddened deeply. My maternal grandfather was site-foreman when the Lower School was built - and my mother also attended the school before I did. The only comfort is that the site will be used to provide education still for the young people of Chelmsford - so in what ever capacity and under whatever identity - at least the old school will serve the needs of the community. I had feared that the site would be sold for commercial or residential development. Paul G

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    Matthew, London  |  February 09 2011, 7:46PM

    I'm sad to hear of the school closing but far more distressed to read in the comments that it had acquired a negative reputation. I attended 1974-81 when it was The Rainsford School and indeed it did have a reputation - one for excellence when it consistently achieved among the best academic results in the county. I have to wonder what happened to change that.

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    some one in year 11, SPC till the end, Chelmsford, Essex  |  January 03 2011, 1:45AM

    I know that this was published nearly a year ago but i just wanted to say my part but never really had the words to say how i felt about the closure. St. Peters is not Rainsford, it has'nt been for some time now. We are not a 'bad' school, infact we are a good school, a strong school. We envolve people who dont go to the school in to see what we do, we encouage them to come and visit us and to see for them selfs just how much the place has changed. we were given a bad reputation because of rainford and melborne but that has nothing to do with St. Peters now, it was not just its name that changed but the whole school and the area around it, every one was proud of them selfs and so they should be, we have all put in alot of hard work to make people see how different the whole comunity is and how much joy there is inside tho's walls. due to sickness i had to transfer to hylands, and not to put them down, i just felt rather depressed being there, it felt like i was not segnificant in fact i was just another student. but in St. Peters each teacher developes a bond with each student much like a friendship, the teachers egnolage you and can find the best ways to teach a spacific student and find another for a different student, this makes us feel uniqe and sagnificant. we have been through so much to gether as a school, as a comunity and as a family, and i am sure i am not the only one who would stand up and be proud to say i am from St. Peters College. The fact that the school upsets me and makes me think of all the teachers who have worked the bottoms off trying to give us the best education posable and how they feel, so thank you to them, they have given me the best experiance of my life and for that i can never repay them. thank you.

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    student, chelmsford  |  March 05 2009, 9:25PM

    "A TROUBLED school with a bad reputation is set to shut".? Why are you focusing on the bad points of the school? Before making remarks like this, you should think about all the teachers working at the school, and the ones who have been there for even over 10 years. They have been trying, and doing all they can to raise the reputation and standards, and mainly the grades of all the students, and then seeing this type of statement, it must not be very encouraging?! Yes although I think it is a good idea that the school is shutting as I think it could be put to better use, I¿m not happy with what is being said about the school. From all of the bad publicity which is being created on the school, obviously people are going to think that it¿s a ¿troubled school¿. But actually, it is at its best which it has been for years! So in my opinion, it should be given a chance instead of being judged so badly. After reading the article which was posted in the Chronicle with a teacher, who has actually been there for nearly 18 years, she was almost in tears. And I quote from this member of staff, that she can count on one hand all of the students that have ever been rude to her from the whole time she has been teaching there. And also, she said that St Peters College is one of the best schools which she has taught in. Surely this counts for something? I personally moved schools from Hylands to St Peters, and this school has done so much for me. They care for their students more than any other schools I have known of. So if you want to know truthfully if we¿re are a ¿troubled school¿, you should come and see firsthand, and talk to students who have been there through the bad parts and still there though the good times of the school, and see how much the school has helped them!

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    Gemma, Chelmsford  |  March 02 2009, 11:10AM

    I am soory, but to anyone that is saying that St. Peters is slipping, then you obviously arent allowing for the changes and problems that it has had. I have just left St. Peter's in 2008 and I achieved 7 a's 4 b's and 2 c's, I wasnt the highest achiever, it is not only down to to the school if the children get the grades, its also the childrens choices, we were quicker than average to get out of special measures and we were constantly improving, we worked hard to get that school up. Now it seems that the work was for nothing, its a shame, and i feel really sorry for all the current staff and students, they are all a great group, keep up the good work, and end St. Peters on a high, you deserve the credit and show what our school can really do!!

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    Sarah, Witham  |  March 01 2009, 8:37PM

    I do not really know about this school and have not been an ex pupil but I do agree with alot of the comments by others especially the one parent family statements.Me & my sister both came from a one parent family(not through choice) but studied hard thanks to the support of my mum & extended family and achieved well and both went to university and did well in our chosen subject so dont judge and make sweeping statements about one parent families.There are plenty ill behaved children who come from all different backgrounds.As for the vomit comment this is also narrow minded as you can see this in any area especially after people chuck out of pubs on a fri/sat night. It is a shame this has happened especially as parents have not been consulted but even if they had I think they would still have made the same decision. I agree you should look at schools and not go on hearsay as our child goes to primary school this year and we looked at all relevant schools regardless of opinions given by others and some were completely different to what we had heard from others(who base there opionion on what a school may have been like previously not currently) It is sad they do not have money to keep this school going especially as stated that they have money to build a new college & when all pupils & parents are happy with the school & the head is doing a good job.But that seems to be a trend these days of hearing but not listening & not doing what is necessarily in the best interests of pupils more targets & budgets!

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    James Shephard, Reepham, Norfolk  |  February 28 2009, 11:32PM

    As an ex-pupil of Rainsford (92-99) it is very sad to hear of the closure. It was a superb school which I was proud to attend. Unfortunately in recent years it has let itself go and due to a poor management standards have slipped. The students' education is therefore going to suffer and this is not good. They should be sent to a school that can deliver a high standard of education and that will have high expectations of the pupils. The decision to close is therefore probably the right one as long as the students are sent to a better school where they are given the opportunity to learn and achieve. Rainsford will always live on, St Peters is what will die.

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    Deadleg, chelmsford  |  February 28 2009, 2:20AM

    The children are our future! Let's change that to MY children are MY future to fit in with modern times shall we. It's clear that people are heartbroken at this decision, the very same people in this 'democracy' who weren't consulted but TOLD to move their kids on. I'm lucky enough to come from a privileged background and am disgusted with this turn of events. Dog mess and someone throwing up on the side of the street is a reason for closing down a school is it? If the person that made these comments has children then shame on them. Children are children apparently until they turn 18 and they can do what they want according to the powers that be. It's only one second in time from 17 to 18 when our discipline is infringement and we get penalised. These are the very same people that see these parents and more importantly their kids as a statistic and are happy to start the ball rolling with a few choice words in the media and let the affluent (ignorant) people see things that aren't there. This government plays on the arrogance and ignorance of people who are exactly that and I for one hope that these poor kids who are being sidelined for a bigger and better government scheme make something of themselves and if not; well, let's just hope those 'hoodies' or hoodlums as they used to be called doesn't harrass you, granny,your kids etc blah blah blah. And if they do just take it on the chin and remember that you are one of a minute section of society that wanted he or she on the scrapheap in the first place.

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    anon, chelmsford  |  February 27 2009, 7:36PM

    Can i just ask are we talking about a school closing or childrens home lifes? Whats the problem with children living in one parent families? Does it automatically make the child a bad person NOit doesnt so why even mention it, has nothingto do with why the school is closing.

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    Penny, Chelmsford  |  February 27 2009, 7:14PM

    As a parent of three children who have attended St. Peter's, the last just finishing their education, I agree whole-heartedly with the comments made by Vanessa. I know many families (with two parents) whose children have attended the school and gone on to University or high-flying jobs. I also know those who are not academically brilliant who have been helped immensely by the dedicated staff and managed to achieve more than they thought possible. The school gives every pupil, no matter what their ability, the opportunity to feel valued and respected something the other schools in the immediate area don't offer as they have restricted entry requirements (including St.John Payne). It is a shame that some of those making comments are doing so from a position of ignorance having never attended the school or lived in the area as I have for 25 years. The area will be deprived of a positive social influence at a time when many local families are feeling the effects of the current economic situation and careful thought must be given to what replaces it. The opposition to the decision is extensive contradicting the remark that not many people are commenting on this site, it may interest that correspondent to know that on Wednesday within hours of the announcement, a group had been formed on one of the popular social networking sites which quickly had 250 members this has now risen to over 370. As to having a Community officer on the site during its "rough patch" to help with behavioural issues this is a practice that helped to build relationships between the officers and the local youngsters and is, in fact, a policy now taken on by other schools in Chelmsford who saw the benefits of the idea.