Labour opposition to new school investment in Kingswood has been branded ‘a betrayal of Kingswood pupils’ by the area’s local MP.
At this month’s South Gloucestershire Council budget meeting, Labour councillors voted against both capital and revenue budgets put forward by the authority’s Conservative administration.
Education capital projects put forward by Conservative councillors across Kingswood included:
- the submission of a free school bid to provide a new primary school to serve rising pupil numbers in the Kingswood/Warmley areas;
- the submission of a free school bid to add a secondary school at Lyde Green – creating an all-through school to serve the Lyde Green and Emersons Green areas;
- £500,000 for extra specialist places at Warmley Park Special School and a new scheme to add a pre-school phase for toddlers with special educational needs;
- £2.5m of school maintenance schemes, including a complete heating system replacement at Hanham Abbotts Junior.
Education revenue initiatives included doubling the school improvement budget, re-introducing a district-wide school awards event, and funding school trips to the Aerospace Bristol Museum.
But Labour councillors voted against all of these schemes, however the majority Conservative Group was able to push them through in spite of this opposition.
Following campaigning by Chris Skidmore, these projects sit alongside a £4.3m increase for education in South Gloucestershire under the government’s new National Fairer Funding Formula for schools and a recent award of £453,000 from the Department for Education’s Strategic School Improvement Fund to drive up standards.
Chris Skidmore said:
“I am shocked and appalled that Kingswood Labour councillors have betrayed Kingswood pupils, parents and teachers in this way.
Kingswood Labour councillors need to stop putting ideology and politics before pupils – the needs of our children must come first.
That’s why I have been campaigning for a fairer school funding deal, more support for school improvement and greater capital investment across Kingswood’s schools.
We’re now seeing one of the largest increases in school funding in the country and millions more being invested in education across Kingswood, yet Labour have opposed all of this.”