Town Crier

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The Power of Words

I was very humbled when Thomas Peacocke Head Teacher Ann Cockerham told me of an assembly they had with the Christmas Festival as a theme. Part of the report of the event in Rye’s Own was read out and when the paragraph about the Colleges Third Year Open Air Theatre Group performing in the pouring rain was mentioned there was spontaneous applause. “The power of words” commented the Head of Music. I failed to get praise like that when I attended the old Grammar School in the same building over fifty years ago!

                      New Name for Thomas Peacocke

Big things are happening at the Thomas Peacocke. With the help of a dynamic head teacher and willing staff, the College has recovered from the ‘special measures’ imposed upon it a few years ago and has been turned on its head to become one of the best schools in Sussex.

The efforts of staff and pupils have been rewarded by specialist status for the arts award. The college will get a £100,000 grant to develop a new performing arts facility. With the award comes Government funding of £80,000 a year for four years to finance curriculum changes.

A performing arts facility will be created within the existing school buildings which will also be available for community use.

Every student will have the opportunity to study art, drama, music and dance.

The advances and improvements that have been made at the College, Partnership Meeting especially in art, drama and ICT (information and communication techniques) has earned the college its Special Schools Status.

The award will mean students will be able to create short films, magazines, websites, and advertisements and develop their skills in music technology.

Workshops at Glyndbourne, ballet and theatre visits, visits to museums and exhibitions and the chance to perform and exhibit their work in concerts, exhibitions, dance festivals and in the Rye Festival.

2008 is the centenary year of the school which started as Rye Grammar School. The name changed to Rye Comprehensive School in the early seventies and in the eighties to Thomas Peacocke Community College. This autumn it will change again, to Rye College. It will be a completely new and exciting start. A new uniform, new status and funding will give teachers and students the chance to progress even further.

                            Were They Impressed?

I was impressed by the presentation given by students from the College at a recent council meeting at the Town Hall. Their ideas of what facilities should be available for young people in the town seemed very reasonable. I wonder if they were as impressed by the shenanigans that went on in proceedings for the election of prospective Mayor and Deputy Mayor?

At the Rye Partnership’s Open Meeting at the Thomas Peacocke College on Thursday 21 February a great deal of trouble was gone to present the often critised group’s achievements, in a better light. Despite a bit of barracking from the eighty or so strong gathering they put their case over pretty well.

A local resident called for “improved perceptions” and suggested a weekly ‘Partnership Corner’ in the local press including perhaps a regular ‘Day in the life of a Rye Partner’ feature. The ideas were met with a general round of applause, so after the meeting I approached Partnership Chairman Keith Glazier and offered a page a month in “Rye’s Own” to keep the public completely up to date with the organisations hopes, plans, ideas, successful grants and achievements. The offer was taken up, so now there can be a window into the organisation which has dealt with many hundreds of thousands of pounds for the regeneration of Rye and the immediate area. There was one comment by the chairman during the meeting that I must take issue with. He claimed that the local press had not enquired at the office before repeating rumours. This is not corrrect. Six months ago I put seven questions (in writing) to Sam Souster of the Partnership. Four were answered (in writing) immediately, but three others Sam did not know the answers to and was to find out. The most important of these, what happened to the Bonfire Boys promised Intereg money (they were promised £20,000 but only recieved £9,000), is still being investigated by Rye Partnership. No doubt there is a simple explanation, I am just pointing to the fact that this magazine did ask first.

“Rye’s Own”  March  2008

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