Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East – will lead a delegation of representatives from Richard Lee Primary School and the local authority in a meeting with Lord Hill – Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools – to discuss the condition of Richard Lee School building and their capital funding needs. The meeting is due to take place on Thursday 7th July 2011 at 11am in the Department for Education.
Those attending the meeting will include Nicola Harwood – Headteacher of Richard Lee Primary School – and Councillors Hazel Sweet, Faye Abbott and Lynnette Kelly.
The meeting will give those present the opportunity to highlight the poor state of disrepair of the school building and the need for more certainty over and an increase of future capital funding allocations from central government.
The meeting with the Minister cannot come soon enough following an incident last week that saw part of the ceiling in one of the school corridors collapse; fortunately the incident occurred overnight when no pupils were present. However, this latest incident highlights the urgency of the situation faced by teachers and pupils at the school and only adds to the concerns of parents.
Following the meeting with Lord Hill, the delegation plans to present a petition to 10 Downing Street. The petition condemns the Tory-led Government’s decision to cut capital spending on schools and calls for this decision to be reversed and for Coventry City Council to be provided with the necessary funds to rebuild Richard Lee School.
Tomorrow (22nd June 2011), Bob will raise the plight of Richard Lee School again in Parliament. All three Coventry MPs have a debate on the ‘Education Capital Programmes in Coventry’ at 11am in Westminster Hall.
“The School building remains in a dreadful state of disrepair and continues to edge ever closer to the end of its useable lifespan; as a result any remedial works that are undertaken can only ever be temporary. The only way to permanently resolve the ongoing maintenance problems at the school is through a full rebuild. We will ensure that this is made abundantly clear to the Minister.
“We will also ensure that he is made fully aware of the conditions in which children and teachers are being forced to work in on a daily basis and of the understandable concerns expressed by parents.”
22 June 2011
Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East – has written to Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, to seek a meeting to discuss the condition of Richard Lee Primary School.
In his letter to Michael Gove, Bob said:
“Richard Lee is currently top of Coventry City Council’s list of primary schools to be rebuilt as a consequence of its age, poor state of disrepair and the fact that it does not meet the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act.
“However, the proposed rebuild does not look likely to happen in the near future as the Council are currently unable to make the necessary plans due to uncertainty surrounding future funding allocations from central government.
“This uncertainty has left the school with a significant list of repairs that urgently need to be carried out, but insufficient funds with which to do so. The roof, boiler, windows, electrics, and drainage system all need to be replaced and as a result of a flood at the school in January, around 80 pupils are currently being taught in a corridor.
“I visited the school last Friday and I was appalled by the condition that teachers and pupils are expected to work and learn in. This dreadful state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue and I would therefore ask that you meet with myself and a delegation from the school and the Council to discuss what can be done to improve the situation at this school”.
Bob Ainsworth said thousands of young people in Coventry have been betrayed by the Coalition Government’s decision to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance.
The news comes as thousands of students around the country protested yesterday for the second time in as many weeks as part of a rally to demonstrate the strength of feeling against the plans for EMA and tuition fees.
Introduced by Labour in 2004, the scheme was axed by Michael Gove in the Spending Review last month. This was despite promises by David Cameron and Nick Clegg before the election that the payments would be safe.
4,634 young people in Coventry depend on the payments to help with basics such as transport and books. Now the payments are being axed from next year, many could find it hard to make ends meet and choose not to continue their education.
Independent studies had shown that the payments increased the number of students remaining in education who would not have done so without the financial incentive, as well as raising attainment amongst disadvantaged young people.
Bob recently tabled a written Parliamentary Question asking; “How many people claimed the Education Maintenance Allowance in each year since its introduction in a) England, b) the West Midlands and c) Coventry”.
“Before the election, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats said they would keep EMA payments – now they have betrayed young people by going back on their promises and scrapping them.
“I’m appalled that David Cameron has gone back on his pre-election promise to protect the payments; I think he owes the young people of this country an explanation.
“I want to see all young people staying on at school, going to college, getting an apprenticeship or doing some form of training while at work. That’s why Labour introduced EMA, and axing it could mean thousands of students failing to reach their full potential.’
25th November 2010