LOCAL MP PRESSES MINISTER ON CAPITAL FUNDING TO REBUILD CRUMBLING SCHOOL

Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East – wrote to Michael Gove MP – Secretary of State for Education – in July seeking clarification of how the details of a statement that Mr Gove made in the House of Commons regarding schools capital funding would affect both Coventry and Richard Lee Primary School.

In his response to Bob’s letter, Mr Gove failed to provide the certainty that Bob was seeking over future capital funding allocations in Coventry, however, he did outline the details of two additional programmes of capital funding.

Firstly, Mr Gove said that he intended to “redirect £500m of savings, this financial year, from within existing budgets to those local authorities that are experiencing the greatest pressure on school places”.  He said he was unable at this stage to confirm whether Coventry City Council will receive money under this reallocation although he expected allocations to be announced in the autumn.  He said the money will be allocated in the form of capital grant, which will not be ringfenced.

In addition, Mr Gove provided details of the newly established Priority School Building Programme – a privately-financed programme of school building – which he recommended that Richard Lee and the Council should consider applying to.  He said the programme would “address – depending upon the mix of applicants – between 100 and 300 of the schools in the worst condition.”  He said that all publicly funded schools, sixth form colleges and local authorities will be able to apply to participate in this programme between 3 and 14 October.

Bob has now written to both Richard Lee Primary School and Coventry City Council to highlight the details of Mr Gove’s letter and ask them to look into the details of each programme.  

Bob said:

“Richard Lee Primary School is in an appalling state of disrepair and desperately needs a full rebuild.  The school building continues to deteriorate month by month, year by year and edges ever closer to the end of its limited lifespan.  I am seriously concerned what effect another harsh winter will have on the school building and that is why I sought clarification over capital funding allocations from the Secretary of State.  Unfortunately, however, whilst the school continues to crumble the Government still hasn’t provided the certainty over future schools capital funding that we require in Coventry.

“I am not sure at this stage if the Council or Richard Lee will benefit from the capital funding programmes outlined by the Secretary of State but if there is a chance, however slim, that Richard Lee could benefit then it must be given serious consideration by all involved.”

12th September 2011

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