Archive for December 7, 2011

School turns heating off to ‘save planet’

Fury as kids shiver on coldest day

School's cool ... Ansford

School’s cool … Ansford

 A HEADTEACHER got a roasting yesterday for turning the school heating OFF on one of the coldest days of the year — to save the planet.

Pupils shivered in coats, hats and scarves as temperatures fell to just 1°C (34°F).

Head Rob Benzie switched off the radiators to show how the secondary school could cut its carbon footprint.


'Success' ... Mr Benzie

‘Success’ … Mr Benzie


But some staff and parents slammed the “barbaric” plan.

One teacher called it “beyond stupid” and added: “It was absolutely ridiculous.

“I’ve never worked in such cold. I’m all for saving the planet but this was barbaric.

“Nobody could work properly and kids could not even grip a pen through their gloves.” The mum of a 12-year-old at Ansford Academy in Castle Cary, Somerset, said: “She was shaking when she came home. I was absolutely furious.”


A dad added: “Turning the heating off in December is just mental.

“I can’t believe the kids learnt anything. I’m very angry with the school.”



But Mr Benzie, 52, defended the “successful” experiment last Friday — locally the coldest day of the winter so far — and vowed to stage regular “eco-days” at the 640-pupil school.

He said: “We cut the heat to see if we can lower our carbon footprint. We let pupils wear as many jumpers as they liked.

“Everyone seemed happy enough although it did get pretty chilly. We sent letters to parents telling them of the plan.

“We had only one complaint and that was from a member of staff. But in the end they just got on with it.”

Mr Benzie said he hoped for another eco-day next term, adding: “I’d like it to be a regular event. We have too much heating — sometimes I have to turn it down as it can make students fall asleep.

“The idea was actually thought up by a small number of pupils from our student eco-group.”


COUNCIL Scrooges are set to cancel Christmas in a Midland town to save more than £1 million.

Bosses at Redditch Borough Council, in Worcestershire, have drawn up shocking plans to pull the plug on Christmas lights and decorations for the next three years.

The lights, which are paid for by the taxpayer, have proved to be a favourite over the years, bringing a festive sparkle to the outdoor market, shopping centre and streets surrounding the town’s St Stephen’s Church.

But if the plans gets the green light Redditch will be void of Christmas spirit in the busiest shopping period of the year.

Last night, the local authority was accused of being “killjoys” intent on axing the town’s most popular council-funded events.

A spokeswoman for the West Midlands branch of the

Taxpayers Alliance said: “People in Redditch are going to have a miserable Christmas if these ridiculous plans go through.

“Christmas is a time that should bring everyone together so axing the lights is really a bad idea.

“There are plenty of other ways that the cash can be saved.

“Local councils spent thousands on glossy leaflets and magazines pushed through letter boxes when nobody really wants them.

“And the amount of money that is spent on middle-management now is huge.

“The council should reconsider their proposals and look at trimming the fat in these other areas.

“There is no need to cancel such popular and traditional celebrations.

“Christmas lights are one of the most popular ways of using council taxpayers’ money.”

In a triple whammy of cuts the council will also put an end to Guy Fawkes night celebrations and scrap the popular winter ice skating rink that was piloted for the first time last year.

In total, Redditch Borough Council will save £35,000 each year  by axing the festive lights.

And nearly £50,000 will be saved by scrapping the fireworks display at the Arrow Valley Country Park, which sees thousands of families descend on the town for the area’s biggest bonfire night extravaganza.

The ice-rink cost the local authority £30,000 last year, but it will not return unless there is a commercial sponsor.

Conservative Council Leader Carole Gandy, said: “There is no getting away from the fact that we need to save £800,000 next year and a further £300,000 after that.

“We have come up with a list of proposals for areas where we can save the money.

“The Christmas lights and fireworks celebrations were one of the areas we all believed we could do without.

“But I must stress these are only proposals at the moment and in the end it is up to the people in the town to decide.

“We will review the situation after a public consultation and we will come to a final decision .”

It is believed the proposed council cuts will mean just five jobs will be at risk at the local authority in the next financial year.