Education Minister Nick Gibb has agreed the need for a brand-new secondary school in Lyde Green during a House of Commons debate secured by local MPs Chris Skidmore and Luke Hall.
Plans for a new school in the community are being led by South Gloucestershire Council’s Conservative Administration, with land already secured for its development, but with vital funding still needed through Wave 14 of the Government’s Free Schools Programme, and successful bids due to be announced this autumn, the two MPs have ramped up their campaigning to get it over the finish line.
The debate with Education Minister Nick Gibb MP in the House of Commons on Monday, September 21 is the latest lobbying effort by the pair, having met with the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson earlier this month to further raise the matter within the Department for Education and promote South Gloucestershire Council’s bid.
While the MP for Thornbury and Yate was unable to take part in the debate, due to his role as a Government minister, the Kingswood MP was able to publicly lobby Education Minister Nick Gibb on the need for a new school as well as highlighting the fantastic work South Gloucestershire Council has done to secure funding and sites for two new secondary schools and 15 new primary schools, five of which have now been built.
Speaking during the debate, Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said: “This bid for a new secondary school at Lyde Green is absolutely essential. It is essential for the Lyde Green community, but it is also essential for the wider South Gloucestershire area,” adding “In advance of any potential Wave 14 successful bid, I wanted to reassure the Minister that as a result of previous agreement with developers, so many of the important milestones have already been reached and are in place.”
Recognising that while existing secondary schools such as Mangotsfield and Downend have until now been able to meet the demand of Lyde Green, Education Minister Nick Gibb MP responded by saying that “there is now an increasing need for places for secondary school-age pupils in this part of South Gloucestershire”, adding “The Government recognise that in future years there will be an increasing need for more secondary school places in the Lyde Green area. The regional schools commissioners team will continue to work closely with the local authority on plans for meeting that need and the Department will announce the free schools decisions later this term.”
Following the debate, Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall said: “I am delighted that Chris was able to secure this debate to raise our campaign in the House of Commons itself and was pleased by the positive response from the Minister, who recognised the importance of delivering a new secondary school for the growing community of Lyde Green. We will continue to work together in pushing for the success this campaign within Government and the Department for Education, having now raised the matter with both the Secretary of State and the Minister, and will not rest until we have secured a positive outcome.”
The Hansard record of the Adjournment Debate can be found here https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-09-23/debates/EC682A15-06E8-4A9C-A836-46DA01147953/SecondarySchoolProvisionLydeGreen