Dear Sir,

Whilst out for a walk the other day I noticed the old Woodham Community College running track had been ‘marked out’, as if being prepared for athletic track events. Surely this cannot be the case. After years of neglect, this track is not fit for purpose.

I’m am not one for writing letters to newspapers, but many years ago I was a young athlete who used this track in its better years. I can only imagine the budgetary restraints placed on our schools and colleges and the need for them to prioritise their spend and therefore the need to seek funding from other streams.

I ask myself, would it not be possible to fund an athletics facility ‘for all’, similar to that enjoyed by athletes in Shildon? A facility in Newton Aycliffe, for use by our schools, athletics clubs and those of us who just want to keep fit.

Let’s inspire our young people to become involved in ‘track & field’ by adding to the already amazing sports facilities our town has to offer.

Name and address supplied.

Head Teacher replies:

Your reader is correct in surmising that money is a real issue for schools. Education is currently grossly under funded, with reductions in income and increased costs. As such, our priority has to be maintaining our high quality teaching so that students continue to achieve above national average results.

We do, however, ensure that the facilities we have are looked after properly. The running track, which is used only for PE lessons, not for competitions, is maintained regularly with additional work planned for this summer. We also seek to invest in our facilities as best we can, completing a refurbishment of sports changing rooms last autumn.

It would be lovely to have modern community facilities at Woodham Academy. We are currently in discussion with Durham county council to find a way to fund a 3G football pitch. A state of the art athletics track would be fantastic.

Christine Forsyth