Thursday 31 October 2013

Playing outdoors

Playground equipment doesn't have to cost the earth.  Thanks to one smart Cornishman for creating this fantastic playground for the cost of a packet of nails (and there’s none too many of them holding all together either).

We had great fun here, and kids went back for more the next day. Playground also proved to be hurricane resistant. Any ideas we can use in Kings Heath?

Monday 14 October 2013

RCCS Jacket hangs

Passing through Digbeth's trendy custard factory shops, I saw my old school blazer in a shop window.  Well, it wasn't mine - I've still got it, but was chuffed the old blazer could be seen as a fashion accessory.

I was even more pleased to see the old school uniform being put to good use in Malawi by some old RCCSians:

Thanks Tasha Elizabeth
I was never that proud of wearing the old uniform - could be something to do with the 'Queer boys' taunts the jacket attracted, but this summer I passed by Ripon with the family, and couldn't help popping in school to show my kids.

The school had closed the year before.  It was kind of eerie walking around, as it felt like it had been open one day, the next day abandoned, with everything just left where it had been.

The new gym I'd watched being built out of my dorm, the boot locker of my nightmares (I used to wake up in a cold sweat being drawn to a monster in the basement only to find it was the person in next bed snoring), all just left.

I did a bit or web search to see what had happened.  Since I left Ripon, the choir had taken on girls, and the Cathedral Choir School had become one of the first Choir Schools to have a female headteacher in 2000(?!), which caused a parent revolt forcing Mrs. Cave to resign after only one term.  Eventually debts caused the school to close, after a failed merger with Cundall Manor (one of Stephen Fry's old schools he wasn't expelled from).

A sad end to a school which I'd been happy in even if, looking back, it was a bit like a Joanna Trollope novel.  Anyone knows what did happen to the 'Phoenix School', what the choir is like now, or have any other sitings of that dashing school blazer, please post.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Where is our Childcare?

Funding decision set to force parents out of work and onto benefits.  See below, blog written by Amanda Bradley:

There are well over 200 after school clubs in Birmingham catering for working families,  if they do not have disabled children.  We are asking Birmingham City Council to ensure that European funding made available to support access to employment and inclusion, fills the gap in specialist childcare. If the city council invest in specialist childcare provision to remove barriers to OUR employment they will save TEN times their investment in reduced benefits.

Please sign our  petition and join us in Kings Heath on Saturday 5th October 12.30 pm to 2 pm outside the new Baptist Church opposite ASDA 80 High St Kings Heath Birmingham, B14 7JZ  - Please see event on facebook
Children's area and free refreshments available
Parks for Play is a charity that has set up the 1st & ONLY specialist childcare provision in this city. The provision called Playwell, because it delivers play very well, runs from Uffculme school in Moseley. It offers high quality childcare to families with disabled children that need to work, study or commit time to siblings .  Families pay standard childcare fees which do not cover running costs because we need higher numbers of staff to cater for our children. Parks for Play works to raise the shortfall, keeping fees affordable & equitable by continuously applying for grants.

This year our expected  funding has been frozen for 6 months. This will result in 20 families not being able to stay in their jobs & a 2nd specialist provision in Handsworth not opening. We are waiting for FLEXIBLE SUPPORT FUND which Job Centre Plus district managers can use flexibly to best meet the needs of the local population. One in four families in this city has a child with an additional need. 2013 CAF Holiday Childcare Survey says 79% of families with disabled children not in work cited  insufficiently specialist childcare as the barrier. 

We ARE the local population and we would like to work, to study and have childcare when we need it.

Blog by Amanda Bradley Parks for Play chair

Please sign our petition on

Parks for Play
2 Vicarage Road
Kings Heath B14 7RA