Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Building Schools for the Future

Today we had confirmation that all 3 RC schools in the borough will be in the current wave of BSF funding. The planned federation of St Michael's in Billingham, St Pat's in Thornaby and Our Lady & St Bede's in Stockton has enabled them all to be in the same funding wave. That's good news, especially for St Pat's which desperately needs some investment in its buildings. However, it leaves Egglescliffe, Conyers and All Saints out on a limb as the only 3 schools in the borough which won't benefit from this funding. What the government is thinking of, cutting 3 schools off from what's happening in the rest of the borough, is beyond me. But so is much of what this government does.
So what next for Egglescliffe school? Well, nothing much at present. A study will be undertaken to look at a variety of sites which have been suggested for building a replacement school when funding becomes available. One of those sites is Preston Park, and so far I haven't found anyone living in Eaglescliffe who's happy with that. One of course will be the Allens West playing field site which suffers from the problem of the pylons at one end and therefore the overhead cables which alarm some people. I've heard other sites suggested but I'll wait to see which are proposed in the Cabinet report next month.
Given the shortage of money in government coffers now that it's been spent on propping up banks and fighting an illegal war in Iraq it seems unlikely that the BSF programme will continue beyond this wave so another means of financing the rebuild will need to be found and that won't be easy.
Meanwhile plans are progressing for the general election. For most voters there's nothing much to an election - a date is announced and they vote (or not) then wait for the result. For the council officers and members there are decisions to be made about where to count the votes, where to store the postal votes as they come in, how many people are needed for all the different jobs and so on. Planning is ongoing now for an election in May to coincide with the local elections which happen in some areas, though not in Stockton. Before that we have the annual canvass of the borough to produce the electoral register and already plans are being made for conducting the 2011 census. There's never a dull moment in Electoral Services.

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