Report from John Ferrett, Labour councillor – Standing up for Paulsgrove
For the past 18 months I have been arguing that the new secondary school for Paulsgrove should be not only fit for purpose, but should also provide sufficient places for all the children living in the ward. It seems ridiculous that the authorities would agree to build a school that doesn’t have enough places for the children who need them. Sadly that is precisely what is happening now!
The original plan was to build a new £20 million school on the King Richard’s site complete with state-of-the-art facilities. That proposal was scrapped by the Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition in 2010 when they cancelled Labour’s ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme.
There followed a sustained campaign for a new school in Paulsgrove and shortly before the 2015 General Election the government agreed to provide funding for just 900 places, although Portsmouth City Council’s Education Department had indicated that 1,200 secondary school places were needed in Paulsgrove, and expressed serious concerns that a new school was to be built without enough places for all the children needing them.
The response from Central Government has been that the school or the council will have to fund the extra places. This has resulted in a compromise deal that will see the school selling land to fund an extra 100 places. Unfortunately, this still leaves a shortfall of 200 places, will reduce the amenities available and put even more pressure on school places and local services if houses are built on the land that is sold.
As your local councillor, I believe Central Government must provide the necessary funding to build a school that has enough places for all the children in Paulsgrove in coming years. It is absolutely absurd to spend millions of pounds building a school that is not fit for purpose. I have lobbied the City Council and Conservative government ministers, but so far to no avail.
Therefore, I am calling for your help with the campaign and asking you to sign a petition to demand sufficient school places at King Richards. I will be collecting signatures on the doorstep in coming weeks but you can also sign here:
Thank you for your support. Our children’s education is far too important not to be given the facilities they need. Let us work together to persuade Central Government to give our children the school they deserve!