Day 57 – The Money Game

A Friday afternoon task for you to participate in: each lower school has approx £1.2M to spend on upgrading itself to a primary school. Each extra classroom costs, say £0.6M in total building costs, but remember we have to employ consultants and central bods to administrate this huge capital programme, and they don’t come cheap…not even Bob the Builder comes cheap…

OK, now work out where these classrooms are going to be built, and how each new primary school is going to provide for science, music, arts, technology, sport as the middles do now.

Now add in the effect on the local community.

Interesting game isn’t it.

SMS will start with Sharnbrook John Gibbard Lower School. Built using funds raised by a local man in the Victorian era, it is sited in the centre of a busy village where Sharnbrook Upper School and Coilworth Science Park are located. Traffic is a massive problem for local residents in the morning and afternoon and the local parish council has this as one of its main issues with any development in the village.

Classrooms could be built on its large playing field to the rear of the partially-listed building. Another 60 pupils, though, would mean at least 30 cars more at the start and the end of the day, and there isn’t enough car parking for staff already.

Or they could move the whole school to the edge of the village, knock down the historic building, build lots of new houses (hurrah, more houses in the villages…), and increase car movements even more !

And this is going to be better than improving the condition of Margaret Beaufort Middle School?

We don’t think so.

If you’d like to contribute please add a comment below about your local school.


2 Responses to Day 57 – The Money Game

  1. Michael Headley says:

    This has prompted me to have a deeper look at the figures.

    The new 2 form entry school at Biddenham Loop is costed at £6.5m for a primary or £3.8m if it’s a lower. That’s £2.7m to change a lower into a primary at the design stage. To convert an existing building I would expect would cost more.

    Now hold onto that figure whilst we look at what’s proposed for the lower/primary schools in the consultation.

    Adding up all the forms of entry of all the primary schools in the consultation document, gives you 72.4 forms of entry across the Borough. (I’ve left out Biddenham Loop and Kempston Rural because of their link to new housing developments). That therefore doubles to 144.8 new classes in primary schools over the number currently in lower schools.

    Now the maximum capital proposed is £60m. So being generous that would be £415k per class. A 1 form entry school would get £830k (2 extra classes). 2 form entry school £1.66m etc.

    Now that may sound quite a lot, but lets go back to the Biddenham Loop proposal. That two form entry school needs £2.7m extra to be built as a primary rather than a lower. An existing equivalent 2 form entry lower school will get on average just £1.66m. That’s £1m short if we’re being optimistic.

    Can someone check my arithmetic here. I know there is a lot of averaging going on, but given the sparse data available from the council it’s impossible to do much else. Some schools would need more and some less, but I suspect its not bad as an average figure.

    This leaves the council with two choices if it pushes ahead. 1. Put the primary schools together on the cheap. Or 2. Borrow more and cut other council services to pay for the massive borrowing.

  2. Jo says:

    What it means for you guys is loads of profit for the management of Portacabins!!!

    Silly why go from educating children in proper rooms to using temp huts?!?

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