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Kimberley School Sports Centre Swimming Pool

  • My child has been placed in a different tutor group to their close friends, can they change groups?"
    The tutor group is the group in which the students register and are taught some of their lessons. In many lessons, the students are mixed with others from across the year group – for instance in core subjects where students are grouped by ability, and in practical lessons where group sizes are smaller for health and safety reasons. Our priority is to place students into tutor groups where they will work best. It is important to note that this may not necessarily be with all of their friends. Indeed, experience shows us children integrate more efficiently into school if they are mixed up a little and make new friends. We have placed students into groups based upon information received from their current Primary School. This includes the support they might benefit from, as well as individuals they may not work well with. We cannot guarantee that students will be with their friends however we will endeavour to place them with others from their Primary School. As we are over-subscribed, the tutor groups are full. As a result, we are unable to make any changes to these groups. Please do be reassured that we will work with all students in September to ensure that they quickly settle into their new tutor group and classes.
  • Where should my son/daughter go on their first day in September?
    The first day for year 7 will be Wednesday 6th September. We operate a staggered start back after summer to allow year 7s to be the first students in so they have to time to get to know school, their timetable and their tutors. We will begin the day with an assembly at 8.45 (so students need to be on site for 8.40am) so they will need to make their way to the main hall, which is where they will also be on the transition days in July, and staff will be on hand to help direct them.
  • Will students get to meet their tutor on the Induction day?
    Students will meet their tutors on the inductions days and have time in their new tutor groups getting to know each other, the school systems and their way around!
  • What do I do if I think my child is Dyslexic?
    Our Learning Support team can run tests to see if we need to put in place any additional support for your child. Please be aware, however, that Year 7 need some ‘settling in’ time for the first few months before we usually do this.
  • 1. Why is the swimming pool so expensive to run?
    Swimming pools require an enormous amount of energy to heat the huge volume of water, pump the water around the system and to maintain the correct temperature for the surrounding environment. They need to run for 24 hours a day to maintain the systems – they cannot just be shut down at night when not in use otherwise the energy costs of ‘reheating’ them in the morning would be even higher. The costs of energy – electricity and gas have doubled in the last eighteen months following the war in the Ukraine and its impact on global energy prices. As swimming pools require vast amounts of energy a doubling of this cost is a huge additional cost. Swimming pools also have very high water costs due to the large volume of water needed to run through the system. Water costs have also risen over the last eighteen months and are set to rise again for the Kimberley swimming pool in January 2024. Chemicals are also required to keep the pool safe for swimmers. The cost of these has risen considerably over the period and some items, like CO2, have incurred additional energy surcharges as they use a lot of energy to be produced and these have risen more than the 10% inflation rate. There are lots of health & safety compliance that has to be undertaken on a regular basis e.g. Legionella testing. The costs of these and a wide variety of other service contracts have all gone up in the context of the cost of living and added to the overall costs of running the pool. The swimming pool at Kimberley is fifty years old and the technology of the pool plant is old and nowhere near as efficient as modern pool equipment. Given the age of the pool plant maintenance is an ongoing issue and significant additional costs have been incurred to replace worn out or broken parts. Swimming pools across the country are struggling with the massive increase in costs not just at Kimberley. Sport England figures suggest some 400 swimming pools have closed in England since 2010.
  • 2. The government put £65m into the last budget specifically to help struggling swimming pools –why hasn’t that been accessed to save the Kimberley swimming pool?
    A bid to access this funding was made to Sport England by Liberty Leisure on behalf of Broxtowe Borough Council / Notts County Council. The Kimberley swimming pool was included in this. In total the award for the Kimberley pool was £46,000 over three years. This amounts to £15k per year. Given the losses incurred are over £300,000 currently, this amount of money is nowhere near enough to solve the problem. The grant money is also contingent on a guarantee that the pool will remain open for three years from the date of the award. Given the position we are now in, there is no way that such a guarantee could be made so the likelihood is that grant money will have to be returned. The school will not therefore benefit from this fund despite the losses already incurred.
  • 3. We thought the swimming pool was safe for three years when the school took over the Sports Centre. Why is it closing now?
    The original Licence to Occupy agreement between the school and Broxtowe Borough Council had the aim to try to maintain the facility for the community for a period of three years only from 1st September 2022. This was specifically to give Broxtowe Borough Council sufficient time to build a new leisure facility to serve the northern part of the borough. The Licence to Occupy agreement has clauses that require an annual review of the situation for all parties to consider whether they can commit to a further year of the agreement. Since the agreement came in to operation the financial situation in the UK has changed considerably with high inflation and huge increases in gas, electricity and water charges; the costs of running the swimming pool have massively increased. The school therefore had to significantly increase the hire charge to Broxtowe Borough Council for the use of the pool / gymnasium to cover the increased costs. The council, whose own budget has suffered considerable cuts over previous years, are unable to fund those increased costs and therefore there is no choice but to close the pool.
  • 4. Everything would have been fine if the Sports Centre had continued to be run by Broxtowe Borough Council / Liberty Leisure Ltd
    Whoever had responsibility for running the Sports Centre would still have faced exactly the same massive increase in costs. Nobody has escaped the rise in utility costs or the cost of living crisis. It is an unfortunate coincidence that the massive rise in utility costs started almost as soon as the school took over the running of the Sports Centre. The school operated the facilities in exactly the same way as Liberty Leisure and maintained community access for the same opening times that had operated before. Broxtowe Borough Council and Liberty Leisure would have experienced exactly that same rise in costs and would have had no choice but to increase their funding to cover those extra costs. Whilst the school has been running the Sports Centre we have committed the entirety of our lettings income from the hiring out of the pitches, Sports hall, School gym, Studio 1 and other facilities within the school that have nothing to do with the Sports Centre – even with all of this there remains a massive loss. If BBC and LL had continued to run the Sports Centre, the school would not have committed that lettings income and instead would have retained it to invest in the school and facilities for the students, something we have been unable to do at all since September 2022. BBC and LL would have needed to fund this shortfall which would have amounted to an additional c £150,000 on top of the increased utility costs etc. This is exactly the scenario that happened in 2021-22 when the school took over the lettings of the pitches and retained the income from those lettings to invest in the school, whilst BBC and LL continued to operate the rest of the Sports Centre. Broxtowe Borough Council’s communication to the school indicates that they do not have the funds to meet the increased hire costs that the school needs to charge for their hire of the pool, gym, spin studio and Studio 1. It seems unlikely therefore that they would have the funds to meet increased costs if they were operating the Sports Centre themselves.
  • 5. If the swimming pool is so old why can’t it be refurbished to be more efficient?
    The Sports Centre was built fifty years ago and is well beyond its intended life span. Modern swimming pools are constructed with easy access to maintain and renew pipework, valves and associated plant, offering walk through tunnels for on-going inspections. Unfortunately, Kimberley Leisure Centre, opened in 1974, was not constructed this way. The most recent condition survey was undertaken in October 2023. The executive summary of that condition survey can be viewed below. In summary, the costs of a basic refurbishment are £2.4 million and these are just the priority items. This is economically unviable and a level of capital investment that is not realistic for the school or East Midlands Education Trust. The current agreement with BBC was only ever for a maximum of three years to bridge the gap whilst BBC looked to build a new facility. The long term prospect was always that the pool would become uneconomical and need to close. The change to the economic situation has now accelerated that position as it is unaffordable to continue to operate it given the massive increases in running costs.
  • 6. This was always the school’s / EMET’s plan to take over and get the whole of the Sports Centre
    We entered into the Licence to Occupy in absolutely good faith. If we hadn’t done so there would have been no public access to leisure facilities on this site. The decision to move to the Licence to Occupy involved considerable time and expense which the school took on willingly including: i. Developing the initial business plan and projections / agreement legal work ii. Pool and plant survey iii. TUPE Transfer of some of the staff to TKS iv. Recruitment of additional site staff to meet the needs of the Sports Centre v. Significant training costs for all relevant staff to be trained to operate the pool plant and to be compliant with Health & Safety requirements These are not the actions of an uncommitted partner in the Licence to Occupy agreement with BBC. EMET have committed in excess of £300k of capital investment into the Sports Centre building to provide new classrooms and implement significant safeguarding measures so the public could continue to access the Sports Centre during the day, but not come in to contact with students. That investment also provided a new reception, refurbished changing areas and new offices for Liberty Leisure Ltd. These are not the actions of an organisation that has not been committed to the Sports Centre and community access. The original business plans never projected substantial profits for the school. The decision to try to maintain community access on virtually the same basis as under the old Joint Use Agreement was based on the belief that this is a valuable local facility for our students and their families and the wider community. We certainly could have generated more income and much lower costs if we had chosen to simply end the Joint Use Agreement and not entered into the Licence to Occupy agreement. Instead we chose to try to do the right thing for the community, whilst BBC sought to build new leisure facilities.
  • 7. Is the school trying to stop community access to the Sports Centre?
    Absolutely not. We remain in discussions with BBC and LL regarding the possibility of maintaining a gym and classes offer at the Sports Centre, though it is unclear how viable this may be. Many organisations and clubs use The Kimberley School facilities every day of the week across a wide variety of sports and activities – including football, badminton, table tennis, various martial arts, Drama groups, CarBoot sales, Christmas market etc. Many of our own students make use of the facilities outside of school times. We endeavour to provide use of our facilities for whatever purpose is needed – if we can help, we will. Our pricing for lettings is competitive with other providers. The school hosts the Kimberley Youth Centre on the site. We provide facilities for holiday club organisations and nursery providers to operate during the school holidays. School property is used as allotments by ‘RumbleTums’ charity café. We continue to have enquiries from a variety of community organisations to access facilities at the school and whenever we can accommodate them we will. We will always see the school as part of the Kimberley community.
  • 8. Kimberley Town Council was awarded £16.5 million as part of levelling up funding. Why can't this be used to sustain the pool?
    The reason for this is that Levelling Up funding was awarded by central government and can only be used for the purposes stated in the original bid (ie football and cycling) and the Town Council are not allowed to change that for a different purpose/use.
  • 9. It's stated on Kimberley Town's council website that before the Levelling Up bid was submitted there were discussions with the school about potentially including funds to improve the facilities at the leisure centre but at the time the school did not want to progress this suggestion. Is this true?
    Absolutely not. The Deputy Chief Executive and Section 151 Officer for Broxtowe Borough Council wrote to the then Head Teacher of the school, Andrew George, asking for us to give our views on how the levelling up bids could be used. Mr George responded to this on 13 December 2021 to advise that funding would be required to continue to keep the swimming pool open and facilitate access for the primary schools and community and to enable work to take place to separate school areas from community areas for safeguarding purposes. The latter works were carried out at the schools expense subsequently anyway to facilitate the current Licence to Occupy agreement. The school, quite rightly, said that it was not best placed to identify how the levelling up funding could improve leisure and sporting facilities in the wider area; there are other organisations much better placed and responsible for making those strategic decisions. However, within our response it was made clear that we were more than willing to work with the council and hire our facilities to enable the continued provision of such services to our community (ie swimming, fitness and studios).
  • 10. Is it true that the sports centre will be demolished and land sold for housing?
    Absolutely not. The Trust has invested in the sports centre to offer a full and comprehensive PE curriculum to all our students. The building will remain open and facilities such as the sports hall, studios and pitches will remain for hire for community activities as is the case now.
  • 11. What will happen to the pitches and current lettings programmes?
    We have very close links with Priory Celtic Football Club (for whom the vast majority of our families play) and lots of other local clubs such as Safari Badminton, Sports4Kids, Little Acorns, Kimberley Kougars, Hucknall Badminton, Karate Zone, Kimberley Cricket Club, HulaFit, Spotlight Dance Academy, Shianne Ambers School of Dance, Golden Gloves Kickboxing, Kimberley Miners Welfare, IMA Martial Arts, Advantage Martial Arts, Kimberley Table Tennis Club, Kimberley Historical Society who regularly use our facilities to host community activities. This will continue as part of our lettings programme via In addition we continue to host the Nottinghamshire County Council run Young People's Centre, attached to the Sports Centre, for young people in the local area 4 nights per week.
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