Thursday, October 14, 2010

Victory stage 1

Tonight Stockton Council's cabinet has set the council back on the right track after wasting resources for 6 months on looking at an option for building Egglescliffe School in Preston Park.  Following the demise of the BSF programme the council is now looking at what the Labour government should have let it do in the first place - looking at all the school buildings we have and their fitness for purpose.  By February we should have a condition report on all the schools in the borough and know which ones need most urgent replacement so that when funding becomes available the council is ready to go.
We also have to contend with the application for a so-called Free School in Ingleby Barwick.  The councillors leading on that application keep describing it as costing the authority nothing, not seeming to realise that the money has to come from somewhere and the only likely source is the council's school funding.  If millions have to be spent on a new building in Ingleby Barwick it won't be available for the rest of the borough, and it's no good telling me that the borough will save money on transporting children off the estate. They don't spend that much on buses!
Meanwhile, the Park is safe for the time being and we now have time to ensure that there's proper protection in the borough's Core Strategy so that no-one but no-one can ever again propose building on it. The Protect Preston Park group will now work towards that, along with councillors and together we'll succeed.


Anonymous said...

I'd like to point out some inaccuracies in this statement regarding the Free School application. Free Schools are to be funded directly by Central Government in terms of the provision of buildings etc, i.e. will NOT be funded by local councils.

There is a pot of money that the new coalition is going to spend on Free Schools. If money isn't spend on a Free School in Ingleby Barwick, it won't end up in Stockton Councils budget, it will be spent elsewhere in the UK! So we have a choice - try to get a share of that pot or ignore it and let the rest of the country take advantage of this new initiative.

Please get your facts correct - it will prevent alot of needless angst in all wards of Stockton Council.

Maureen Rigg said...

I prefer to have a conversation with someone who's prepared to put their name to their comments.
There is no new money for these schools and the funds will come from existing allocations. Fragmentation of the education system means that the economies of scale for such background but important services as HR are no longer available, the academies and "free" schools get a bigger slice of the cake to compensate and the local authorities get less.
As far as capital spend goes - if the capital goes on the "Free" Schools it isn't available for much needed replacement buildings and refurbishments for other schools.

Anonymous said...

Apologies that I can't leave my name on posts - not completely up to speed with this technology yet.

From your comments on Academies and Free Schools removing money for back office provision, does that mean that you'll opposed Egglescliffe and Conyers from becoming Academies? I've heard that this is what they now intend to do (but this information could of course be incorrect).

I also believe that SBC would be able to tender for providing back office services to Academies... and as Free Schools will legally be the same as Academies I see no reason why SBC can't tender for the work for the Free School if the government give it the go ahead.

Regarding Capital Spend...
I realise that as an Eaglescliffe Councillor you'd much rather see any money spend of rebuilding Egglescliffe school, and I'm sure that you're representing the likely views of your ward.

However, as I've already said, its a new government policy - if a slice of the Free School pie doesn't go to Stockton for the school on Ingleby Barwick you won't get the money through another channel. That money will instead be spent in Nottingham, or London or Dorset or wherever... You may not agree with the policy (I know that alot of Lib Dems don't) but its what our government are giving us.

We can either embrace it, try for a Free School and reduce the rebuild size for Egglescliffe (making this more affordable) or we can ignore it and get nowhere.


Anonymous said...

Dear Cllr Rigg

Depending on who you believe Bussing costs are Between £350,00- £400,000 a year
With the increases in fuel and rising costs it wont be long before its £500,000 a year thats HALF a Million pounds of council tax payers wasted money.

take that over 30 years and it soon adds up £15 million pounds at todays rates.

So regarding your comment - They don't spend that much on buses! I think you find we do

We also have SBC going on about reducing carbon emissions now take off the dozen or so busses that travel twice and the two busses that do a double run and then the parents who then have to travel to pick their children up because they are doing activities after school and you would soon see a BIG reduction in Co2 Emissions and along way to SBC emission targets.

Ingleby Barwick resident

Anonymous said...

Dear Cllr Rigg,
I have read your blog with interest but wish to ask a couple of questions.

Firstly, where do you suggest Egglescliffe school is relocated to?
Mrs Darnell has said that the building is no longer fit for purpose and I am sure you would agree that the excellent work that goes on there to educate our childrem deserves the best surroundings, so where should a school be built?

Secondly, you say that the BSF process was bureaucratic but how do you explain the fact that it was your government that pulled the plug on BSF?

Finally, I am confused as to why you oppose a 'free school' in Ingleby Barwick as it is part of your governments choice agenda for parents.

I look forward to your response.