At the end of the most difficult term many of us can remember, we are launching an appeal to our wonderful Bewdley community, to raise funds for a covered seating area which our students can use at lunchtime to ease overcrowding in our lunch hall and improve management of coronavirus risk.
The ‘year group bubble’ arrangements put in place by the Department for Education mean that in order for students to eat during the day, we have to keep whole year groups together for 50 minutes, whilst the rest of the school is in lessons. They spend 25 minutes getting some fresh air and 25 minutes eating lunch in our cramped dining hall. We are running 5 of these lunch sessions per day – one for each year group.
Those of you who know the school well will recall that it was opened in 1956 for around 500 students. With the addition of a sixth form in the 1970s, the number when the old 13-18 Bewdley High School closed in 2007 were around 670. The Bewdley School as a new 11-18 school, has a lower school roll of 840, with typically between 100- 150 in the sixth form, so between 950 and 1,000 in total. The sixth form have their own dining space and a newly refurbished sixth form block, and it is years 7 to 11 we are concerned about.
Our lower school is over-subscribed with 852 students, meaning that average year groups of 170 are squeezed into the dining hall for lunch. The extension to the dining hall which was refurbished alongside the sixth form block is our sixth form café, so there is no room for expansion of dining space in that direction. The stage was removed many years ago so that the hall is now at its maximum seating capacity for the lower school. However, we have a good hard standing area in front of the old block which could provide a covered eating area for those who bring their own lunch. Such a facility would accommodate 70 to 80 students, meaning numbers in the dining hall would be reduced to around 100, which is what it was initially designed for.
Our supplier’s estimates tell us we need to raise £30,000 to build such a facility, which we believe with your help is entirely achievable. Our capital investment for this financial year was committed to sixth form improvements before the pandemic appeared, so we are starting our fundraising from a standing start. We have already raised £1,150 from our Christmas jumper days. To put this in context, if we could raise £30 for each student in the school, this would raise £29,100. If you can help in any way, whatever size donation you can afford would be hugely appreciated. Due to pandemic restrictions, we are managing this appeal entirely online, and donations can be made here.
Thank you, as ever, for your wonderful support, and we wish you a safe and happy Christmas and look forward to a brighter New Year with you all.