Thursday, July 17, 2008

Call to Government on fire damaged school

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman for Blaydon constituency, Councillor Peter Maughan, has written to the secretary of State for Schools, Ed Balls, to urge him to bring forward plans to rebuild Whickham School on the existing Burnthouse Lane site in Whickham, Gateshead.

The school’s sixth form and staff block was destroyed in a fire in March, and Councillor Maughan argues that this increases the need to start work on a new school as soon as possible.

Despite claims made last year by the local Labour party that building work on a new school was due to start within months, actual proposals for replacing the existing buildings have been penciled in for 2015 as the earliest start date.

“The fire that destroyed the sixth form block has focused attention on the state of the buildings overall,” said Peter, who is a governor of the school.

“Staff and pupils are coping well following the fire but the school was already at bursting point. Many buildings are worn out and inadequate.

“Whilst it would have been great to start building a new school last year, that was just a Labour spin story to get them through the election.

“But we need a start on the new school as soon as possible. Waiting until 2015 will see a generation of kids getting schooling in buildings that are badly in need of replacement.

“I have written to Ed Balls to draw his attention to the problems of the Whickham School buildings and to urge him to rebuild the school on the existing Burnthouse Lane site as soon as possible.”
Pictured: fire damaged Whickham School

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