Councillor confronts cabinet member over “significant pressures on the school system”

The chart shows the growth result from rising birth rates and how they are impacting upon primary schools.

At the latest meeting of the Creating Opportunities and Tackling Inequalities Scrutiny Committee local LIB DEM ward councillor Darren Fower, asked the Tory Cabinet Member for Education, what he would say to those who suggest his decision to close schools like Honeyhill and Bretton Woods, was a mistake given the city’s expected shortfall over the next few years?

Commenting, Cllr Fower said:

“Cllr Holdich is always keen to talk about the millions his council has been handed or borrowed to try and rectify the schools shortfall scenario, but ask him about his ill judged decision to close and in some cases replace schools with supermarkets and he’s not quite so bold in his response. Basically, his argument is that he would have need a magic ball, but surely growth in population is something that we all expect with each passing year?”

Details in the report presented to the committee it states:

* “..the last 4 years have seen a significant increase in pupil numbers within the city.”
* “Since the 20th July, over 1,300 applications for school places have been received.  80% are new arrivals to the city.  This growth from outside the city equates to 2 large primary schools or 1 secondary school. ” – So basically about the same as what you closed???
* Under the Tory controlled city council “…we are now below the 5% surplus threshold on all year groups in the city with significant pressures in Year 1 and Year 11.”
* The present growth in pupil numbers “…is placing significant pressures on the school system in Peterborough.”
* Despite already spending millions of taxpayers money on school extensions etc The Tory controlled council “anticipate” they’ll need around £117m in the next 9 years to keep pace with  demand creating in excess of 6,000 places!
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