A large school in Dorset is set to open next door to a probation centre visited by paedophiles. Local residents and the police have expressed concerns over the plans.

According to a report by the Telegraph on August 30, Livingstone Academy in Bournemouth, which is to be housed inside an old magistrates court, will also feature obscured ground-floor windows to prevent paedophiles from being able to see the children.

The school’s proximity to the probation centre could also unwittingly lead to sex offenders breaching their orders by being so close to a school.

The Department for Education, which is responsible for the school, told the Telegraph that “all necessary safety features” had been implemented to ensure the school was safe for children to attend.

However the features, combined with the building’s penal origins, create an incredibly hostile learning atmosphere. The features include:

  • No ground-floor classrooms and obscured windows up to a height of 2 metres
  • An 8ft-high fence with gates that open for an hour in the morning and 45 minutes in the evenings so children can enter and exit the school
  • Reception staff to keep an eye on the main entrance
  • Playgrounds enclosed by the school building so the children are out of view
  • CCTV cameras all around the perimeter of the school

None of these safety measures when taken together are conducive to a good learning experience. Older children will also be aware of why the building has been specially designed, which could also cause anxiety and distress.

The plans must also be costing the government enormous sums of money, so we have to wonder why they would choose this location and go to such expense.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council will decide this week whether to grant planning permission for the school.

BCP