[C]umbria County Council’s political leaders have welcomed the support from local MP Trudy Harrison for the council’s call for major government investment in a new building for Whitehaven Academy.
Earlier this month the council set out its position in a letter to the Regional Schools Commissioner, who is in charge of Academies in the region. In the letter Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, pushed the Commissioner to make delivering new build a priority and to update the council on their discussions with the Department for Education and Education Funding Agency about the matter.
Cllr Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, said: “Two weeks I wrote to the Regional Schools Commissioner urging them to progress with a full rebuild of Whitehaven Academy, given its shocking state of repair. So I welcome the support from Trudy Harrison, it is important that everyone is pushing in the same direction. It is simply not acceptable for Cumbria children to be educated in a building of this standard. Government has to provide the funding for a new school.”
The county council has made repeated attempts to secure funding from Government for a new building, but all have been rejected. As an Academy, any funding must come direct from Government.
The county council secured the school’s inclusion in the Building Schools for the Future programme in 2010, but the programme was then scrapped by the incoming Conservative Government.
The council made a bid to the successor funding scheme, the Priority Schools Building Programme, but this was again rejected by Government.
When the school became an Academy, sponsors Bright Tribe then submitted their own bid to the Priority Schools Building Programme, with the support of the County Council, and yet again the bid was rejected.
Cllr Stewart Young, Leader of Cumbria County Council, added: “Enough is enough. The children of Whitehaven deserve better, and now that Bright Tribe have been dismissed, the Government needs to give the new sponsors the capital required to make the school fit for the 21st Century.”