You may have heard, or read, that Hillingdon borough has opened several new schools recently. However, nothing can compare to visiting one, which I was lucky to do last week.

Unable to accept an invitation to the official opening of Rabbsfarm Primary I was pleased to be offered a peek at a later date.

The old school, in Gordon Road, Yiewsley. has been replaced by a stunning new building; its success due in no small part to headteacher Barbara Neville’s being involved in its design and execution every step of the way.

No overflow, or squashed pupils, here: there are plenty of classrooms, including smaller areas for those needing extra help, and a vibrant, inviting library. My eyes widened further as I saw high-tech whiteboards, fabulous outside space, a massive hall, and even a food technology room and a drama/dance studio.

The staffroom has been designed to have easy access to the playground. Most old schools have the teachers’ sanctuary as far away as possible from pupils, for obvious reasons, but Rabbsfarm has got around this with a thoughtful and much-needed addition: a quiet room set aside for teachers to mark and prepare work, well away from the playground!

It is obvious that the surroundings are not only appreciated by staff and parents, but are enjoyed by the children too. OK, it’s not only a building that makes for a great atmosphere, but it’s a long time since I’ve seen pupils so content and involved in their lessons – and completely unfazed by a visitor poking her nose in.

What a great antidote to the constant bad news fed to us by politicians about the state of our schools. By these standards, the future is good. Definitely a gold star – or 10 – for Rabbsfarm.

WHILE sorting out stuff for a memoir, I realised that in spite of great strides in science and technology, and many positive stories like Rabbsfarm, some things unfortunately seem locked in time. I found a newspaper cutting from my old school’s prizegiving which quoted a Canon Bryan Green saying the world at times ‘appeared to be mad’.

He said: “We have never had so much ‘know-how’ as today and yet we do not know how to live with each other, or be without bombs, racial discrimination or broken homes.”

That was 50 years ago.            

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