Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, today (13th May 2013) welcomed the news that Department for Education will within the next twelve months begin the process to ensure new schools for Laurence Jackson School and Handale Primary School.
The news comes following a meeting at the end of April between Tom, Tony Gavin (head teacher for Laurence Jackson School) and the Minister for Schools, David Laws. At the meeting they raised their concerns over the delays to the rebuild of Laurence Jackson School under the Government’s ‘Priority School Building Programme’ (PSBP).
Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough and Handale Primary School in Loftus will within the next twelve months be open to bids for the construction and maintenance of the new schools.
Laurence Jackson was previously scheduled to be rebuilt under the Labour government’s ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme but this was scrapped in 2010 by the Coalition leaving schools in desperate need of repair with an uncertain over future. Laurence Jackson was then placed on ‘Priority School Building Programme’ but like a number of North East schools they have yet to receive funding from the programme.
“This looks like good news and I’m sure it will come as a relief to both staff and pupils at the schools. There were reports that the rebuild of Laurence Jackson School wouldn’t be going ahead until 2016 – at the time this wasn’t refuted by Education Minister Michael Gove – and this was extremely disappointing for everyone involved. Under Labour’s BSF scheme the rebuild would be well underway by now. The staff, students and parents have waited long enough and the delay was, quite frankly, unacceptable.
“There are significant costs in keeping open the existing buildings, which currently have allocated resources to remain open until September 2015. That puts a huge burden on the schools finances and is completely intolerable.
“My primary concern has always been the education of the pupils at the schools. Both are excellent schools and I feared the delays could cause irreparable damage. Whilst there is still some way to go before the schools are complete at least there does now appear to be an end in sight. Things could not carry on the way they have been.”