In the consultation document, we are told that BSF funding to the tune of over £300M will be applied for and that this will transform secondary education in Bedford Borough for about 2000 pupils per year group in five 11-19 schools, one 11-16 school, one 11-14 school and one 14-19 school. This money will allow sufficient building to allow 2 new year groups (4000 pupils across Years 7 and 8 ) to be integrated. Note that this includes the highly ambitious and controversial Biddenham campus, more of which in a later post.
In the same consultation document, we are told that the primary sector will be transformed to accommodate the same number of extra pupils (4000 across Years 5 and 6) and that this will cost £60M at most. They even suggest that up to 10 schools may be relocated or built. With £60M.
This beggars belief. We are talking here about roughly 50 lower schools being transformed to primary schools and providing the extra facilities and experiences that Years 5 and 6 need. The extra facilities and experiences that middle schools already provide. The extra facilities that the Rose Report (commissioned by the DCSF itself and published recently in April 2009) recommends strongly for future provision in Years 5 & 6.
So why the disparity in these numbers?
Because they haven’t done their sums. Because they don’t know how much it will cost. Because they are so desperate to get their hands on BSF funding that they are willing to say anything to persuade us it is the only option.
And the implication for lower school Heads is that if you support this move your school will get more money, your school will benefit, your pupils will have a better educational experience. So of course they support this. Any rational person would. But the reality is that what may well happen is a chaos of overcrowded sites, “temporary” classrooms, and disaffected pupils and staff.
You must act to stop this damaging and dangerous proposal.
Fill in the consultation document with a supporting vote for the retention of three tier.
Email the Times & Citizen
Email your MP
Email Chris Hilliard
SMS despairs at the lack of ability to do simple sums of our local civil servants. Then again, they probably went through the two tier system…