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Save Diggle Action Group interview on Saddleworth School

Saddleworth News interviewed two members of the Save Diggle Action Group (SDAG) last week, who put their views across on the proposed move of Saddleworth School to Diggle.

Mike Buckley and Keith Lucas took part in the interview.

Interview by Gregory Deane, Camera – Danielle Bradshaw and Matthew Jaggar (editor).


  • Robert Cragg says:

    Interesting interviews. I hope you’re going to do something similar with people stating the opposite case.

  • editor says:

    We have, and plenty of them! See the two headmaster videos.

  • Robert Cragg says:

    Thanks. Missed the interview with the Head when it was posted.

  • Saddleworth says:

    Interesting that they talk of businesses in Uppermill, green belt ( sports facilities going there and sports block) , cares passionately for Saddleworth ,trying to maintain character of Saddleworth . No mention of the most important factor , the education of the children of Saddleworth.
    No mention of caring for the children or the disruption they are going to have to deal with with which ever out come . No mention how we may lose a school all together .
    A bit of green belt , more important than the children and 21st century living , not good in my eyes but it’s only my opinion .

  • Nick Watts says:

    Funny that Robert, I’d made the exact same point when there were only two videos of one side of the argument (except it was the other side!!)
    So credit where it’s due, well done Saddleworth news for presenting a balanced approach.

    Interesting camera work too.

  • Andy says:

    Does Mike Buckley have any interest in the education of our children? I live in Diggle have a child at Saddleworth and 2 at St Chads , with no school in the area living in Diggle becomes a problem , I didn’t invest in property there to send my children to school in Oldham.
    I also find it unacceptable that one issue is the safety of children walking from Uppermill to Diggle ? My children walk the other way , as do dozens more , and Nr Buckley things that is ok !!
    Double standards !!
    What has made him change his mind when no so long ago he was on the Liberals promotion material pushing for a school in Diggle ?
    I feel he doesn’t care a jot about our children !!

  • Victor Khadem says:

    To the annonymous ‘Saddleworth’, the dichotomy you present between preserving the character of Saddleworth and ‘caring for the children’ of Saddleworth is very much a false one.

    Rebuilding an existing school is eminently possible and has been shown to work on innumerable sites across the country. One of the country’s leading state schools, Holland Park in London, was rebuilt just in this way and through the period of construction and afterwards has improved its results (The major difference between HollandtPark and Saddleworth is that in affluent West London they had a budget of £80m to rebuild the school – we are getting just £17m). Locally, I give you the example of Wardle School in Rochdale, whose headmaster wrote the following in a recent news letter:

    ‘”I would like to express my appreciation towards both the students and the staff for the way in which they have conducted themselves over the last 18 months since the bulldozers first arrived on site. Despite part of the school being demolished around us, temporary classrooms and a new school being constructed within 2 metres of us, it has been business as normal with some record GCSE results achieved by students on the way. We now move into the new school building on the 19th or 20th December. Phase 2 commences almost immediately with the demolition of the existing school, and the development of the sports facilities (to be completed by July 2014).”

    The case is that the money has been ear-marked for Saddleworth and it is at the discretion of Oldham Council where they build the school. The money will be there whether they build it in Uppermill and Diggle.

    Arguing that we ‘may lose a school altogether’ is, I am afraid to say, nothing but scare-mongering. If you stand by this grand claim I suggest you show me and others the hard evidence to back it up.

    I was at Saddleworth School from 2000 to 2005 and received a superb education there. I want nothing more than the best for future generations, and this position is wholly compatible with campaigning for Oldham Council to make the right decision and rebuild it on the present site.

  • Saddleworth says:

    Victor . Am so glad you got a good education at Saddleworth School , that is exactly what we are fighting for today . It is not a rebuild that is happening , it is a new build . Your education was not affected by lack of facilities , nor was it affected by the problems the school has of today structurally . The parents of Saddleworth expect our children to get the same un disrupted education you got .
    We are not interested what has / is happening on other sites . Each site has to be assessed independently , no 2 sites are identical , just because it worked there doesn’t mean it will work here .
    The money is there at the moment ! No guarantee that this money will stay available and can be withdrawn if the plans are not passed . it happened 5 years ago so how do you know it won’t happen again .
    The school as it stands is very close to being unfit for its purpose , how can you say and guarantee it will not be shut on health and safety grounds .
    You refer to wardle school who presently have no sports facilities and will continue not to have for 6 months minimum . This could easily be delayed way into the new school year . They are also having to start their summer holidays later than other schools which is not good for parents who have already booked their summer holidays from 18 th July .
    Oldham council , saddleworth parish council , school head Mr Milburn , school governers and the EFA all have now rejected the plans for a new build on Uppermill . The only plans being submitted are for a new build in Diggle .
    Re listen to the interview and tell me just how many times the gentlemen discuss the children of Saddleworths education needs . As this is a important point do you not agree ?

  • Saddleworth says:

    Victor . Do you feel I don’t have a right to being anonymous ?

  • Saddleworth says:

    Hear hear Andy , same applies Delph to Uppermill, dobcross to Uppermill . Friesland to uppermill .Very unsuitable pavements in quite long stretches . This is after all Saddleworth , but to use it as a reason not to move the school , is ridiculous .

    Wherever the school is built is going to have infrastructure issues . We hope many can be resolved with the Diggle site . But very little can be done with the Uppermill site entrance and pavements and layout of the land .

  • Victor Khadem says:

    ‘Saddleworth’,of course, you have every right to remain anonymous.

    When I was at Saddleworth there was constant talk of the need for a new school owing to leaky roofs, lessons in portacabins etc. But of course, it was excellent teachers who made my education what it was, not buildings.

    Years of under-investment means the school is now in a poor state (despite the 90% of the buildings being under 50 years old). However, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the school is to be shut down on health and safety grounds. The idea that if the Diggle site is not chosen then children in Saddleworth will have to be shipped out to Oldham is completely unfounded and untrue. This is, once again, scare-mongering.

    The money is there for a new school, and that’s what everyone in Saddleworth wants. You must remember that the EFA money is not contingent on the school being built in Diggle; the location is decision for OMBC alone. The site at Uppermill has never been deemed to be incapable of taking a new school by the Governors, EFA or OMBC. It is for this reason that those who care both about the education of future generations of Saddleworth students and the environment believe it is in the best interests of all to have the school rebuilt in Uppermill, a transport hub which is the commercial and administrative centre of the district.

    On the issue of playing fields. Under the proposals put forward by a leading architect to rebuild the school on the present site, (, the new school would be built on the grass playing field at the rear of the school. This would mean that the astro-turf pitch and the sports hall would both still be in use during the 15 months or so of construction. I would add, from personal experience, that owing to poor drainage that field was only used in the drier months of the year(not many in Saddleworth!) and therefore this would be no significant loss and certainly wouldn’t impair the curriculum. If a large grass pitch were desperately needed on any given occasion, students could of course use Churchill Playing Fields, as they do now.

    I hope the above might allay your concerns. I would just add that there should be no room for personalised attacks suggesting that people don’t care about future generations of Saddleworth students. You will find no one campaigning for a new school at Uppermill takes such an inhuman stance, quite the contrary. This is a question of local politics which should be debated with reference to the facts available.

  • Malc B says:

    I think you should re name yourself as Anti Saddleworth,you have the build it at any cost attitude of a typical comer-in.
    You state that parents want their children to have an undisrupted education,I remember the extra floor being put on the existing building,I remember the ROSLA block being built,I remember the the new sports hall being added,and guess what,there was little or no disruption to the education of the children then.
    As for the footpaths in Uppermill and Diggle,you might have noticed that Diggle only has a footpath on one side.
    And just for your information before you reply,I do live in Diggle but my view won’t be affected if this monstrosity is built.

  • Mark says:

    Malc, calling a school a monstrosity is pretty weird.

  • Saddleworth says:

    MALC ,
    that is a terrible thing to say . We are all entitled to our opinion and to show support in what we believe in .
    Comer inners ? What is your problem here ?
    Paths , the whole length of Dobcross new road is only one narrow pavement , so your point is ? With children from Delph , dobcross and Uppermill using it both ways to Saddleworth school and holy trinity .
    I remember black and white tvs , coal fires ,tin baths and mangles but it doesn’t mean I want to go back to that era . This is 21st century , we want a safe building with building regulations of today’s standards .
    There was no need to be nasty referring to me in the way you have .
    I have lived in Saddleworth 20 years , my husband has worked in Saddleworth 22 years ,my children are born and bred in Saddleworth . I have as much right as you to have my opinion ! I pay my taxes the same as everyone .

  • Saddleworth says:

    Victor , I will leave it at that .
    I along with other parents can debate all day long , it’s always going to go round and around in circles ,your opinion ,my opinion . Truth and myths .
    The Uppermill site has at present been rejected by OMBC, parish council, school technical committee and The EFA , in favour of submitting plans for development on the Diggle Site . This at present is fact .
    I at first ,merely pointed out that the 2 gentlemen interviewed not once mentioned the importance of the matter of education of the children of Saddleworth .

  • John Trickett says:

    I am against the rebuilding of Saddleworth school in Diggle for reasons of drainage, access, green belt, affect on Uppermill, affect on Diggle etc etc. BUT I dont want a good school to be built on the existing site at Uppermill I want a great school. Thats partly why I’m also against Diggle. The money available (£17m from the govt, set against £27m for Waterhead, £24m for North Chadd, plus what ever profit is made from the land swop (c£2m??)) is not enough. A substantial portion of the budget will be spent on access/drainage/infrastructure, leaving a derisory amount for the school. That is why the people of Saddleworth must keep the pressure on OMBC and then onto the govt so that Saddlewortgh doesn’t, again, get second best.

  • Saddleworth says:

    The problem is the source of funding , and the urgency of a replacement school . And sites readily available . More money would be fantastic , but let’s face it , it isn’t going to happen .
    Interserve have said it can be done within budget so why should we believe those opposing the build .
    The only reason that this build may not happen in my opinion is that of green belt and even then , I believe it is small price to pay for 21st century building and education . The whole of Saddleworth will benefit from the sports block not just the children attending . All the other arguments and points can hopefully be addressed to give the best outcome .

  • Mum of 3 says:

    small villages small minds (not everyone i may add)
    comer in?
    ha ha ha
    obviously unless u are born under the viaduct your opinion doesn’t count!

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