Parents in South Gloucestershire learnt today that a bid to the Tory-led Government for funds for urgently-needed new or refurbished schools has been rejected and that their children will continue to be taught in poor conditions.
The bid for funds from the Government’s privately-financed Priority Schools Building Programme included a much-needed new primary school in Kingswood and a long-awaited refurbishment of Patchway Community College.
A new primary school is required in Kingswood because of the increased number of primary-age pupils in the area. Patchway Community College has a catalogue of building problems and is in a poor condition compared to neighbouring secondary schools.
Today the Department for Education announced that South Gloucestershire schools will receive nothing at all from the Programme.
Labour’s Children and Young People’s spokesperson Councillor Gareth Manson, who is a Kingswood councillor, (Labour, Woodstock) said:
‘Kingswood desperately needs a new school and this is recognised locally, which is why the council included it in its bid. I am angry that once again the Government has rejected our request. As a result, Kingswood children will have to work in Portacabins which came to symbolise the previous Tory Government’s neglect of schools. It seems they are turning back the clock.’
Patchway Labour Councillor Sam Scott, who is also a governor at Patchway Community College, added:
“Much of Patchway Community College has fallen into a poor state because of the lack of major investment that it needs. Despite the physical conditions the staff and students are doing a great job. The local community was banking on success from this Programme to get new buildings, and with the council so strapped for cash the situation really does not look good. I shall continue to press the council for a way forward, as the condition problems cannot be ignored.”
Commenting on the overall programme, Councillor Manson observed:
“The Coalition Government’s school building programme is tiny compared with Labour’s Building Schools for the Future programme. As a consequence schools are forced to compete against each other for funds that they desperately need. Many, like all those in South Gloucestershire, continue to go without.”’
24th May 2012