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School funding scandal

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Labour warned last year that Government funding for schools was in doubt.

Calderdale Labour group warned last year that there were serious question marks over how the Government was planning to fund school replacements - and that funding for Calder High and Todmorden High School was at risk. The warning came after 'deeply flawed' surveys were published - surveys which Cllr Megan Swift says have still been used to decide how money would be allocated for school maintenance.

Cllr Megan Swift, Labour's spokesperson on Children's issues, said:
"Last October, Calderdale Council received copies of the nationally-funded surveys of school properties. These have been used to decide which schools would be replaced or refurbished under the Coalition Government's scheme.

"We immediately warned that the surveys were deeply flawed, and contained major factual errors.

"The errors included

  • Failing to identify major problems with hearing and electrical systems;
  • Missing significant weaknesses in the roofs and walls at both Todmorden High and Calder High;
  • In the case of Todmorden, missing problems with damp and drainage, deteriorating roof conditions, and the potential failure of the heating system.
  • The private surveys even missed a seriously damaged floor because they didn't look under the vinyl covering!

"I warned at the time that, 'The Government will use these surveys not just to decide whether we get further money for the two high schools but also to set our allocation for general school maintenance up and down the Borough.' I am devastated to see that this has come true, with no money for either school and a 20% cut in the Council's general allocation.
"These issues were flagged up with the Department of Education and with the Calder Valley M.P. by officers at the time. It is deeply disappointing that they have been ignored, leading directly to the failure to fund the school.

"This is a huge let down for the people of Calderdale, and especially for the parents and children associated with both schools. Labour had a plan which would have seen every secondary school either rebuilt or refurbished - our children are now suffering from the unnecessary cuts and lack of ambition shown by the Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition."

See also

HebWeb News: Calder High losses out again (11 Feb 2015)