Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Parkour with The Swanage School.

We drove on to Swanage, which is a Victorian seaside resort, although it's grown a bit since I was last there.

On the way we stopped off at Corfe castle to take some photos. As luck would have it, a train from the Swanage Steam railway came past just as we parked up.

It's been a battle lasting over 30 years for this band of amateur enthusiasts to finance and relay new rail track on the closed down line, get it working and then get their operation running professionally enough that they can even take special trains from the mainline network now.

It's a huge achievement and it's steam too!

This is Corfe Castle which was built on a mound in the middle of a break in the hills that cuts off The Isle of Purbeck from the rest of Dorset.

It does need a bit of work doing at the moment - it was blown up in the English Civil war.

But it is a very romantic ruin;

We headed down to Swanage, parked up on the seafront and after a spell of beachcombing we just sat on chairs on the beach, watching the waves crashing and feeling a last, late whiff of summer;

Then I saw this - a group of school kids burying balls in the sand and using them as a launch pad;

I know what that is, so when we got up (searching for ice cream) I thought I'd take a look.

 This is what we found;

Now I'm not endorsing 'The Swanage School' here, it's a 'Free School' which is a Tory scheme where parents can set up their own school, separated from local democratic control.

As a result it takes resources from all the other children in the area (the money comes from the local education budget) and while it may be great for the kids at the 'Free School' it disadvantages all the rest.

But I do have to say that this was something really great, put together by a bunch of kids in their free time, for a good cause.

They told us that they had raised over a hundred pounds in just a couple of days and I'm not surprised.

Just take a look at this;

And this;

There were about six lads running this but I couldn't get all of them into a picture;

As you'll remember from my Blog, I love Parkour which came out of the poor suburbs of Paris and Marseilles in the 1990's.

It's exciting, it's a thrill, it's as free as a bird. All the things I'm

What a great show;

How cool is that?

We finished the day off with some fish and chips on the seafront and then began the long journey home.

Except we couldn't resist stopping on the way for a quick, last view of Corfe Castle as the sun was setting;

Bye Bye Purbeck, thanks for a fabulous day!

Now, how do I stay awake on the motorway?
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


  1. Great photos of the lads doing flips, Neil. I hope you don't mind, but I have a correction on the Free School point (I am one of the founder Governors at the school in question). The school doesn't take money from other children in the area - per pupil funding is the same for every child in the county but rather than the money going to the local authority the budget comes directly from central government to the school just as in other academies. The school then chooses which services to buy from the local authority (or elsewhere).

    In Swanage there was no alternative but to open our own school as the local authority were closing the existing middle school and busing children to Wareham for the last 5 years of their schooling. This was something which many of us put aside our private political views to do something about, and I'm pleased to say that the school is thriving as a genuinely comprehensive cooperative community school without any negative impact on any schools nearby.

  2. It was nice to hear from you and Swanage School is clearly a success for its students. I particularly enjoyed reading about the art department trip to Dismaland. However, we'll have to disagree about the loss of local democratic control over education budgets.