We have been contacted by a concerned resident regarding disabled parking at Winston Churchill School. Steve Tonkmor has contacted the school, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE and MP Jonathon Lord, and having become frustrated with the responses received thus far he hopes to raise awareness of the issue; he has this to say:
Dear Knaphill News,
I would like to point out that at Winston Churchill School the Disabled parking spaces have a sign that says DISABLED PARKING ONLY. I and the other 1.3 million disabled people in the U.K. might think this is parking reserved for the disabled. But nothing could be further from the truth at Winston Churchill School, Woking. The Head Teacher (Mr. Smith) has allocated these parking spaces to his staff (not displaying blue badges). I have challenged this and been told that this is his policy and the spaces will not be left free for the use of the disabled. I reiterate spaces marked DISABLED PARKING ONLY, I’m sure most of your readers understand what this means, yet the Head Teacher with a BA and MA does not. It is quiet ironic that the school motto is SERVICE BEFORE SELF, someone might what to explain what this means to the Head Teacher.
Here are the thoughts on this matter from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE.
Dear Mr Tonkmor
I don’t know if this helps, but I believe that an accessible parking space should be left free at all times (if it is marked as such) unless a disabled person is using it. I do not believe that it is right to allow other people to use it at certain times of the day, as this sends out a very poor message, especially to children. If they saw this happening, then they could perhaps be encouraged to think that the blue badge symbol means nothing at all !!
Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE
I agree with Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, Mr. Smith is very much occupying the moral low ground here and setting a very poor example. As an educator of over a thousand pupils this is very worrying. He has explained that he is not answerable to the authorities on this matter as the Governors own the property. Governor almost initially made up of fellow teacher this includes parent governors (teachers from other local schools). I have complained to Surrey County Council, the Secretary of State for Education, Ofsted and my MP Jonathan Lord – He replied with a letter stating Mr. Smith is doing his best. I don’t know what this means, his best to stop the disabled using disabled parking bay or his best to provide parking for his staff? The real question is, if this is his best, the future for are children would seem a little bleak, however it does explain society’s moral compass dilemmas.
Examples of the excuses:-
- They are ambulance and emergency spaces. (They have these at hospitals, but teachers aren’t allowed to park in them).
- The disabled drivers aren’t allowed to enter the car park. (Why have disabled spaces then, plus the spaces are always occupied by staff).
- You can’t use them because children’s safety is at risk with cars driving in the car park. (This don’t seem to hinder the staff leaving the car park at let out time or the Post Van, taxi’s and parents parking in the visitors bays). IF THIS IS A TRUE RISK LOCK BOTH ENTRY AND EXIT GATES TILL 3PM.
I hope you can help get back the disabled parking for the disabled. As I am getting a lot of excuses why they are to stay staff parking. I attach a photo of the disabled parking bays, sign and the staff cars that are always parked in them. YOU WILL SEE FROM THE PHOTO THESE ARE CLEARLY DISABLED PARKING BAYS. They even specify the drop off and pick up times on them.
Mr. Stephen Tonkmor
So what do the readers think? Should the Head take more notice of Mr Tonkmor and release the parking bays? Add your comments below.