Day 197 – Save Lower Schools

A long long time ago, when our group of parents, grandparents, teachers and governors decided to get together to fight the seemingly inevitable decision to change our school system, we named ourselves after the most obvious casualty – hence Save Middle Schools.

Today we are sorely tempted to rename the campaign Save Lower Schools as the long-term casualties will be our excellent lower schools who will be underfunded, overcrowded and struggling for decades to metamorphose into primary schools under this proposal.

In recent days we have highlighted the financial nightmare that has been recommended by the final report. Only £27.2M of funding is allocated for the lower-primary switch, cobbled together from every available source – future government funding, sales of land, proceeds from housing developments, “top-slicing” of schools budgets (that’s robbing Peter to pay Paul to you and me).

If any one of these is lower than expected, or if any overspend occurs, then there really is no more money, as Michael Headley – the Finance portfolio holder – told the Executive on Wednesday evening.

What is worse than this is that the £27.2M will only pay for the shell of classrooms – it doesn’t cover any extra toilets, circulation space, corridors, chairs, tables, resources, extra staff space, enlarged halls, specialist space for the different requirements of Years 5 and 6, etc etc.

In a decade when Government spending will have to be reduced dramatically in order to curb public debt, and education budgets post-2011 have already been targeted, this really will be a catastrophe.

Unfortunately, portacabins will be the result – and many of those are still around on school sites from the last time we changed school structure in the 1970s !

Lower School governing bodies almost without reservation recommended that they support the School Organisation Review during the consultation process – but they didn’t have this information at that time.

SMS wonders how many governors realise what the future holds? How many would support this recommendation now? How many governing bodies of Trust or Foundation schools would now consider legal action against the authority for not revealing this important financial information as part of the consultation process.

The only hope we have is that sufficient councillors will listen to the arguments than having blind faith in the future on Monday night. You can help by contacting councillors and letting them know how you feel, and by being present at the Council Meeting – 6:30 on Monday 16th November in the Harpur Suite at the Corn Exchange.

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4 Responses to Day 197 – Save Lower Schools

  1. jonathan parsons says:

    i have just a small coment to add at this a while ago a sent a email to all councilers some have replyed, some have chosen to simply deleat, and some have shown great understanding of the problem, and of the problems that may created if it is pushed through, i also have spoken a great length to my local elected member who has show how this should be done by listenig and carrying my thoughts in to what may be done next, i cleary rember the last disaster and have left may coments on this, but it is intersting to note that the hills/ hazeldeen site still has the potercabins on it to this day, maby this is a warning from to past to today, and to any that read this councilers, voters, mayors and fred, we cannot afford to play poker with our childerns eduaction the stakes are far to high, you did it with my education an i still carry the scars to this day, and i will protect to my upmost my 5 and 2 year olds hopes, wishes and education, or will i simply see you at the ballot box, and in the worse case senario saying you pay for my childerns education at privat school, i am not against change but the price is simply to high, and look to suffok and northampton to see what has happend dont add bedford to this list

    jonathan parsons
    (and no hidden name to boot)

  2. A worried parent says:

    I was reading the North Bedfordshire Schools’ Trust mission statement, it reads as follows. ‘Through our partnership between Education and Business we will achieve excellence through cooperation and the sharing of aspirations and expertise to create a unique, innovative and exciting 21st Century education provision for the benefit of all our students’

    If a change for 2 tier goes ahead, will the NBST stand by this statement?

    • Village Parent says:

      This farce for change has nothing to do with the ‘education provision for the benefit of all our children’.

      It is about greed and very little else.

      It is about selling our Middle Schools for development, so that as well as obtaining millions of pounds of revenue, there would also be the prospect of continual future tax income from new householders.

      It is about saving costs through economy of scale.

      By closing our Middle Schools and transferring our children to existing latent Primary or Secondary Schools, they would be able to create much larger institutions that should effectively give lower overheads, with reduced costs in maintenance and labour.

      It is about obtaining the BSF grant at any cost whatsoever, so that certain individuals and corporations could benefit directly from this windfall.

      It is about establishing a new administration to oversee the creation of this debacle and about the future security of those that have been instrumental in its manufacture.

      It is about saving face for Upper School’s Board of Governors, which has given the weakest of excuses to pardon themselves for not fulfilling the full potential of our children.

      It is purely about the avarice and egos of certain people who have no regard for the wishes of the vast majority of parents in Bedford Borough, who have now demonstrated in the consultation, that we want to retain our Lower, Middle and Upper School’s for the real ‘benefit of all our children’.

      I will be at the Full Council meeting on Monday and if the vote still carries for a change, after all the overwhelming financial and educational evidence proving that this is a completely foolish enterprise, I can honestly say that I will never ever trust any of them again!

  3. SL says:

    Well said VP!!!!Couldn’t have put it better myself! You have summed up the whole situation so accurately and it absolutely stinks! There can’t be many councillors who don’t see this by now. I have tried to maintain my faith in common sense throughout this whole process and I will retain it to the last.

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