Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eaglescliffe Lib Dem councillors finally sat round the table last night with members of Ingleby Barwick Town Council and ward councillors for Ingleby Barwick and Yarm to talk about schools.  The next stage of the application for a "Free School" will go in within a week and we shall see what comes out of that.  The current request is for a 600 place school to complement All Saints.  Meanwhile Stockton Council is working on an assessment of all its school buildings to see where improvements, expansions or reductions in size are needed.  At the end of that I hope that the council will be in a position to put a strong case for the funding needed to rebuild Egglescliffe along with other important or urgent work which needs doing on other schools.  It's a real shame in my view that the route for increased places in Ingleby Barwick seems most likely to be the Free School one, but it's not the first time I've disagreed with a policy of the Westminster government and I don't expect it to be the last. 
Yesterday evening I think that other people round the table accepted that nothing I've said or done about schools in recent months means that I don't think Ingleby Barwick families deserve to have secondary school places near at hand. As the famous advert says "It's good to talk".
This afternoon came another piece of good news for the area - the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership has been given the go ahead by government.  That means not only a recognition by central government that we do have a serious partnership here of businesses and public sector bodies who are keen to work together but also that we can now seek financial support to get the investment coming into our area.  It's also good that Vince Cable seems to have recognised the need for a North Eastern body to deal with such things as strategic investment into the whole region and European funding.  Things are looking up.

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