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Media Coverage

Lib Dems: Another 3,000 places needed by 2015

It is thought an extra 3,000 primary school places will be needed in Bristol by 2015.

Bristol’s Liberal Democrats are calling on the Education Secretary Michael Gove to pledge support to solve the primary school places crisis in the city, saying it is not clear what funds they will have over the next few years.

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Discussion

One thought on “Lib Dems: Another 3,000 places needed by 2015

  1. The key here is getting a firm commitment from central government for funding. Right NOW.

    There is a risk that the local authority will be paralysed by two factors: the amount of money they will have for school building projects for the financial year April 2012-2013 is unknown (because it depends on central government budgets yet to be announced).

    Secondly, Mr. Gove plans to centralise school capital project planning, which means the prioritisation of solutions to Bristol’s crisis will have to compete with other initiatives. So the local authority also doesn’t know if/when projects will be approved.

    This is, of course, all out of step with the timing required: design and planning are needed right now (well, actually two years ago!) to prep for September 2012. But it may be that decisions can’t be made until early 2012. Unless that changes, it seems to me almost inevitable that the 2012 Reception cohort will face exactly the same problems as 2011. The most the authority would be able to do is install some more temporary units at schools that are not already max’d out on space.

    Gove is the key, I think. I suggest parents approach him directly in order to release funds to the local authority (or, if he insists, a central government body that would oversee the approval of Bristol projects). As it is, the local authority simply does not have sufficient _known_ funds to do all the work needed in time.

    It doesn’t matter how many bits of land we locate or how many creative schemes to expand schools we come up with: if the funds aren’t there, nothing will happen; and in fact, land that is currently “in play” will inevitably be developed before authority schools can bid for it, and end up with more dense housing on it, making the problem even worse.

    I could be wrong, of course. I hope so.

    Posted by Lloyd Fletcher | June 28, 2011, 1:20 pm

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