What does Urnfield show about values of Tormead School?

Good morning prospective Tormead parents! We hope you have a lovely open day in glorious sunshine. If you visit the Urnfield you will see it (almost) at its best…glossy with melted frost, woodpeckers in the trees to the north, just a hint of bud, and misty views all the way to the City of London. How lucky the school is to be custodian of such a beautiful green site. And did you know it is in the nationally protected Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (now called National Landscape)?

You may like to know that the Surrey Hills Board is starting to consider the ambition and scope of the new 5 year Management Plan for the whole area that will be developed in 2024. This is a statutory requirement of all protected landscapes – National Parks and National Landscapes – and the new plan could not come at a more important time. Climate crisis, nature emergency, mental health challenges particularly amongst young people, and lots of evidence for nature-based solutions for a whole range of societal ills. “Nature-based solutions” does not include artificial hockey pitches illuminated by bright floodlights, by the way.

The Surrey Hills Board is using Doughnut Economics to guide its thinking. This model was developed by Kate Raworth, who calls herself a “renegade economist”, and it is a holistic model which challenges us to find a way to thrive as a society and an economy within defined planetary limits, whilst ensuring we meet basic social needs essential for a good life. The point is to ensure the social foundations are covered, and not to breach the ecological ceiling which otherwise will eventually threaten our very existence. Living good lives within considered environmental limits. That’s the (literal) “sweet spot” within the ring of the doughnut.

Where would you place the Urnfield project on your doughnut? Is it required to meet the societal needs of Tormead students? Of Guildford’s young people more broadly? Is it required to provide essential jobs, housing, energy, education or wellbeing even? What about the wellbeing derived from time in greenspace? The potential improvement of existing facilities to benefit a much wider section of the local community?

You’d be hard pressed to argue the case for Urnfield being located anywhere other than outside the ring of the doughnut, breaking right through the ecological ceiling that the doughnut image presents, and shooting way beyond it. Urnfield, and by implication Tormead, is an outlier. This is old thinking, as we have said before. It’s not what most of us would want for our daughters.




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