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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 May 2007, 12:02 GMT 13:02 UK
No playground for 'super school'
School pupils
Teachers hope the move will help students learn
The most expensive state school in the UK will not have an outdoor space for students when it opens in September.

Alan McMurdo, head of Peterborough's 46.4m Thomas Deacon Academy, said: "I think what the public want is maximum learning."

But Tim Gill, who led an official inquiry into children's play, said the idea "borders on inhuman".

The 2,200-pupil "super school", part of the government's city academy scheme, will replace three separate schools.

'Maximum learning'

Mr McMurdo said the main aim of not having a playground at the school was to help pupils' learning.

Children need to have some time where they take responsibility
Tim Gill
Play expert

He told BBC News: "This is a massive investment of public money and I think what the public want is maximum learning.

"They recognise that youngsters can play in their own time, play in their local communities.

"What I want from my teachers is maximum teaching and I want maximum learning from the youngsters."

'Extremely damaging'

However, independent play expert Tim Gill said the concept sounded "crazy".

"It borders on inhuman," he said.

Let children be children. Let them grow themselves.
Wayne Smith, Lincoln

He added: "It's symptomatic of a way of thinking about children that we have to control and programme and manage every aspect of their lives.

"That seems to me to be extremely damaging in the long-term because children need to have some time where they take responsibility and they make everyday decisions about what they're doing."

The academy is being built in Queens Gardens, Peterborough, as a replacement for John Mansfield School, Deacon's School and Hereward Community College.

Construction work on the Norman Foster-designed building on the eastern side of the city started in July 2005.

The city academy programme aims to revitalise secondary schooling in areas where local schools could benefit from re-organisation.

Super school construction begins
19 Jul 05 |  Cambridgeshire
City's 34m super school approved
11 Aug 04 |  Cambridgeshire

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