Saturday, January 8

Inconsiderate neighbourhood schools?

A copy of this letter has been sent to Springfield Secondary School.

It is with great disparity that this matter has to be brought to light. Other residents that live near (or even next to) neighbourhood schools may share my sentiments - that some (definitely not all) neighbourhood schools are insensitive to the presence of a residential community around them.

My experience with Springfield Secondary, a neighbourhood school in Tampines West, is one that has persisted for months. On weekdays, when co-curricular activities (CCAs) are carried out, it is understandable if the noise level occasionally surpasses an acceptable limit. However, the school band, particularly, has played a significant role in contributing to the noise level with the cacophony of sounds the different instruments produce. Moreover, the incessant din of drumming that increases in tempo and varies in rhythm aggravates the irritation the noise causes.

Perhaps the school can lessen the noise level produced by the band by confining most of its practices inside enclosed spaces instead of in the open air. Due to the school's close proximity to the surrounding housing estates on one end and having a large open space on the other, sound gets amplified from the open spaces to the nearby housing blocks.

The situation climaxed early last Saturday morning (8 January) at around 6.30am when the cheers of students and the thunderous melodies of the band playing awaked me. The noise level was so extreme even for me, ten floors up in one of the housing blocks next to the school - how much louder can you imagine it is inside the school? Besides, did they have to start practising (or performing) so early in the morning? Are they incognizant of the fact that there are babies that need to rest and many other residents that are still asleep? Interaction with the residents in my block has revealed that I was not the only one affected by this incident.

By noon, most of the hubbub had ceased. In this case, wouldn't it have been wiser to schedule the practices to begin a bit later in the day so as not to affect us residents?

In the Parliamentary Reply on 19 October 2004, which covered the issue of the 5-Day Work Week, it was mentioned, "Schools will look on Saturday as an opportunity for students to engage in unstructured activities, to reflect and to pursue their interests. Schools will also hold CCAs on weekends where necessary." Nevertheless, the execution of CCAs should not result in the peacefulness of the vicinity being compromised.

Are the teachers-in-charge of the CCAs are either ignorant or inconsiderate towards the residents living nearby? It is time for the school to maintain an acceptable noise level and withhold noisy activities in the wee hours of the morning if it does not want more complaints from the public in future.


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