REFURBISHMENTS and improvements which have been on a Rugby primary school’s ‘to-do’ list for years are being done thanks to the Probation Service’s Community Payback Scheme.
Paddox Primary School is benefitting from the scheme, which enables those who have been sentenced to community service for minor offences to give something back to their local area. This can be through litter picks, graffiti removal or utilising their skills for general maintenance works.
At Paddox, offenders have helped to redecorate classrooms, repair fences, plant hedges and refurbish many of the schools’ benches.
Headteacher Jane Le Poidevin said: “We wanted to take the time and the opportunity to thank the community payback team. They have achieved so much for us already and there is still more work to do.
“They can achieve in a weekend what it would take us a term to do, as the essential day-to-day running of the school takes up all our time at the moment.
“The difference is that jobs that have been on the outstanding to-do list for years are now getting done and as a result we can focus more fully on the experiences we offer our children. I cannot stress enough how important this has been for us as a school.”
Rugby’s MP Mark Pawsey praised the scheme when visiting the school alongside colleague Bella Leathley, Dave Adams, the Head of Unpaid Work for the West Midlands Region at the Ministry of Justice, and Probation Service Officer Sue Chaplin.
Mark and Bella also heard from the school’s Head of Business Sonia Aldridge about how participating in the scheme has meant funding which would otherwise have had to be allocated to these works has been freed up and can be prioritised for children’s education.
Mr Pawsey said: “It was great to see how the Community Payback Scheme is enabling these improvements to be made to Paddox Primary School and improve the facilities here. It’s also a way for those who have committed more minor offences to give back, and this was on full display at Paddox where there have been some great improvements made to the school, including redecorating classrooms and repairing some of the outdoor furniture used by pupils.
“Community Payback is also a good way for justice to be done as it enables those who have committed minor offences to make a genuine difference to communities, but is an alternative to a custodial sentence meaning that offenders can develop skills and escape a potential cycle of criminality.
“I hope that the success of the scheme at Paddox Primary School will encourage more organisations to make use of Community Payback to improve their area.”
The Community Payback Scheme, which is run by the Probation Service, supervises people who have been sentenced to 40-300 hours of community service. The aim of the scheme is to make it a visible punishment which enables offenders to give back to their communities in a constructive way.