New school for vulnerable children delayed due to government cuts

Cllr Roger Coales pictured in front of the old Courtney School

A new school for primary-aged children has been downsized after cuts imposed by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government.

South Gloucestershire Council’s plans to build a new school in Kingswood for 15 primary-aged children with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties (BESD) have been changed after the coalition government announced it was snatching back a grant of £660,000 already allocated for new school buildings. Council education chiefs have now decided that over £½million has to be cut from the total £2.5million cost of the new BESD school which is due to be built on the site of the old Courtney School.

A partner school for secondary-aged children is under construction on the old Falconride School site in New Cheltenham. However, the contract for building that school has already been awarded, so very little scope for savings remained there. Education chiefs were left with little choice but to change the design of the primary-school resulting in a smaller building.

Local councillor Roger Coales is Labour’s spokesperson on education and one of the councillors for the area where the primary school is to be built. He said:

“A new planning application will be required for the re-designed building, so I just hope that this and the need to re-design the building will not delay its opening (planned for December 2011). This is a very localised example of how the cuts being made by the coalition government are hitting vulnerable members of society.”

Redevelopment of the old Courtney school site has also been delayed due to large amounts of asbestos found in the old school buildings. A new Courtney School building opened in September this year next door to the old school. The funding for this new primary school was secured before the General Election.

Photo: Cllr Roger Coales with the old Courtney School building in the background.

Source: Woodstock Labour Councillors

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