Artograffi #142

Posted on 25th September 2023 | in Artograffi

What happened to the running track we were promised?

Last year the long awaited dream of a new James Calvert Spence school building finally felt like it was becoming a reality, but it has certainly not come without its issues. Most recently is the removal of the running track from plans. This has angered many, largely because they felt the decision was made unfairly.


The current running track is awful and unusable

From the very first new school plans a running track was included. Alongside several football pitches and a multi-use games area, it seemed like Amble was finally getting the facilities the community needs, what with the expansion in housing. We were promised an all-weather running track with floodlights and synthetic turf pitch inside.

The running track that is currently on site is awful and unusable; not a single lane is free of rabbit holes and the surrounding grass is horribly overgrown. It has fallen into disrepair, and because it was blocked off from public access several years ago it has had little use. After all, who would pay over £100 an hour for an impractical track?

The planning statement for the new school says not enough people have used the track. They cited this as the reason for the track’s exclusion in the updated plans.
They say there has been ‘little representation from the local community for the track’s repair or replacement. There is very little demand currently for the athletics track’.

So instead it has been replaced with yet another grass pitch. Despite earlier consultations, this change was not discussed with the public, leading to some outrage.

One commenter said ‘This seems like a huge backwards step. This would have been a huge benefit to the school, its pupils and the community as a whole. Now there will be no track at all. Amble has been crying out for years for investment in leisure and sports facilities. Alnwick has had its investment, Morpeth have had theirs. Why has this been removed?’. There has been a flood of support for the track when it was noticed it was being excluded, and Sport England have flagged their concerns for its loss too.

Although I understand the difficulties of creating this school, a running track truly could be beneficial to the whole community to instil a love for running and athletics in those who use it. I hope there are more deliberations and something changes, so we can have the facilities we deserve.

By Ava

JCSC entrepreneurs win!

Congratulations to Bethany, Becky, Olivia, Jess, Jasmine and Emma who are the national runners-up in the Tycoon Enterprise Competition for both KS3 and KS4.

They came up with an idea for creating and selling self-sustaining plants in terrariums and formed a business called ‘Light Clouds and Co’. (See Artograffi #141).

The group travelled with Mr Gaines and Mr O’Neil down to Hampton Court Palace in London for the finals, and were presented with their award by Dragons’ Den’s Peter Jones.

Being a middle schooler in high school

Because of the extensive building works happening to James Calvert Spence College, the previous middle schoolers, years 5-8, are now up on the Acklington Road site. I am in year 13, so it feels very strange being surrounded by the youngest years when we are finally starting to feel like mature students. I asked Issy from year 6 what she thought about being in the new building.

Mr Rodgers outside the mobile classrooms

The younger years are in Portakabins on the field, which Issy described as “awful and disgusting… it’s not the best they could have had. It’s got stains on the wall and loads of gum on and under the tables”.

Personally, I like the separation of the younger years as it would be far too crowded having them in the main building all the time, but I understand the annoyance at inadequate classrooms. One of my classrooms, for about a third of my lessons, is a dingy room that used to be a storage cupboard. It’s especially frustrating because I know there is no better solution, and they are making what they can out of an inconvenient situation.

Watch out for the other students
Lesson times have changed too, meaning years 9 and above have to wait until 1.30pm for their lunch. It’s not the end of the world, but another irritation to add to the list. Issy said, “I don’t think it’s good the way they’ve sorted it out. Because at the end of the day you think ah yeah it’s last period but then you’ve got another class!”

Being at the high school also means Issy has to face students of up to 18 years old, which she said was “not very good because there’s the older loud ones and we can always hear them during tasks and tests”. I agree, except in my opinion it’s the younger years you have to watch out for!

Overall the move has been tricky to navigate in the first few days. Overcrowding
and general disorganisation has been a problem, for example in the canteen: “it’s okay but the queues are always massive and it’s always super crowded”.

Issy and I are looking forward to settling in a little better and hope this year goes well for everyone.

By Ava
and Issy

See also page 19

Grace’s braces (are no longer a thing)

After 367 days my braces have (finally) come off, so I thought I would tell you how it was, just in case you ever get braces.

Before I got my braces on, I had to get two of my bottom teeth removed. Not everyone will need to get teeth removed. It might seem scary, but it isn’t as bad as you’d think. After all of that, you should be ready for braces. If you’re scared of getting those on, don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt much, and the pain goes away quickly.

Just make sure to eat a big meal beforehand so you won’t be hungry. Every month or so, you will need to get your braces tightened – this is what brings your teeth closer together and makes them straighter. The most uncomfortable time that they get tightened is the first. Each time they get tightened, it hurts a LOT less.
When it’s time for your braces to be taken off, don’t be scared – people say it is way worse than it actually is. First of all, you need to lie down in the seat, and your orthodontist will get things which are like tweezers, and use those to pull the metal parts of the braces off. Similar to getting your teeth removed, the sound of the metal getting taken off the glue is the worst thing about it.

The orthodontist will get a drill thing to get the glue that stuck the metal parts on your teeth. Although it is loud, it doesn’t hurt at all. After all of the glue is gone, you will be given a cup of water to make sure all of the pieces of glue are out of your mouth.

Finally, I don’t know if this is the case with everyone, but I had to bite down into a mould thing since I had to get retainers, to make sure my teeth wouldn’t move back to their original positions. All I remember about that was that the mould stuff tasted like forest fruits. Once my bottom and top teeth were finished with the mould thing, I could finally go home with my straight teeth!

A couple of days later, I finally got my retainers. Depending on how much your teeth have moved over those couple of days you have waited, the retainer could be either very snug or a perfect fit. If it is tight, after just a whole day of wearing retainers should make your teeth fit in it better. After a day – or however long your orthodontist said – you only need to wear your retainers at night.

That’s all, bye
By Grace O

What’s happening at the Welfare?

We went to the play park at the Welfare to see the park and the surface of the playground. The surface had lots of potholes. We thought that was really sad. We saw some people playing on the MUGAs, but there weren’t very many people there because it was raining.


There were lots of potholes at the playground

We asked Julia Aston from Amble Development Trust what is going to change. She told us people had been messing with the surface for a long time and now it can’t be repaired so they are getting it replaced.

She said “We have a contractor who is going to take up all the playpark surface and dispose of it because it is hazardous and then he will relay a new one.”

Can you guess how much it will cost to put a new surface down?

We also learned that the MUGAs are going to get new flood lights, new fencing and surface improvements.
Can you guess how much it will cost to do these improvements?
About £180,000!!

When is all of this going to happen ? Julia told us “Sadly it won’t all be done together. The contractor told me he hoped to start the play park at the end of August. The MUGAs application is a part of lots of other ones, so it will take a bit longer.”

I think it’s great what they are planning to do, but it’s not great that its having to be fixed because people destroyed it.

By Isabelle


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