It’s official. A recent Commons answer reveals that empty school places in Bristol have spiraled alarmingly upwards since Bristol’s much touted £270m ‘Building Schools for the Future’ (BSF) programme has started delivering new schools in the area.
In 2001 Bristol had surplus places in secondary schools running at around 8%. Now after the implementation of the BSF programme and a host of new secondary schools we have surplus places running at 13% and climbing.
Let’s just remind ourselves what the brains behind this expensive cock-up, our Deputy Council Leader Peter Hammond, assured us back in 2002:
“These plans have been put together very carefully to make sure pupils will enjoy high quality educational facilities, strategically located to meet the demand for places across the city.”
Well that turned out to be a load of bollocks didn’t it Peter? So why not give us all the best Christmas present ever and resign to spend more time with head up your gormless trade union friends’ backsides? Oh and feel free to take your hopeless boss Holland and your sidekick Bees with you. You’re all proven useless incompetents after all.
Looking at the report across the former Avon area BANES and North Somerset are coming in pretty much on target, while Bristol and South Glos produce a massive surplus each.
This means that the duplication is amplified even more in north Bristol than a figure on just Bristol would suggest, it is only going to get worse when the fee paying schools (in north Bristol) convert.
Given that almost all new building is PFI, what would be the cost of shutting a secondary school?
It will be interesting, given the closing date has gone, how many kids that would have not gone to The Cathedral will be there. Or is it just a free Independent School for those in the know? http://www.bristolcathedral.bristol.sch.uk/datesforentryprocedure2008.htm
PFI has a very distorting influence on decision making when very often the only way that a council or health authority can renew is through this route. It can have its uses if the choice were free but the dangers of it being force fed to the public sector are only just becoming apparent.It is a time bomb that will explode in the laps of future generations. Unless we can force a change of mind the CUBA councils are about to sign up for a massive incinerator and the decision is being heavily swayed by PFI .
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Reading Dominic Turner’s heartbreaking comment today in the what? section makes me wonder if this schools places fiasco isn’t partly to do with the choice policy, which seems to mean that parents choose which families they want their child to mix with by choosing the school with the social makeup they aspire to? Are the schools with the most empty places out in the less desirable and more socially decaying parts of the city? If so, that’s surely no accident.
The most sensible policy would be for children to simply go to the school nearest to where they live.