Stourport High School
Jill Hawes writes...
"Stourport High School, (SHS), plays a critical role in the secondary education of the vast majority of young people living in the town. You may have been a pupil there yourself, or have family members who attend there. Most people in Stourport have some connection with SHS and are concerned about its standards and achievements.
It has long been recognised that the environment in which learning takes place has a significant impact on the quality of learning. For at least the last 16 years, it has been recognised by Worcestershire County Council that most of the school’s buildings are in poor condition and need to be replaced. By 2010, SHS had been nominated by the county council to be completely re-built under the Labour Government's programme, "Building Schools for the Future". In the meantime, temporary classrooms had been provided in portable cabins. They are still in use.
In 2010, the Conservative-led Coalition Government scrapped Labour's school re-building programme in its entirety. Ever since, SHS has been trying to gain funds from the Education Funding Agency to address the urgent building needs of the school. It has not been successful, despite its obvious and well-documented need.
Since 2011, SHS has been an independent academy. As such, it is not able to call on the knowledge, professional expertise or support of county council officers to inform their bid. There is no inclusive policy direction or strategic overview, just one school making its own case to a huge government department. However, it does own the school site and playing fields and this has led it to its latest proposal to access funds for building works.
Thus, SHS enters into the unlikely world, for a school, of property development, land sales and town planning. This all seems a long way from ensuring educational standards and actually teaching young people.
SHS, like schools across the country, is the victim of Conservative policies which have seen a complete disregard for a consistent, fair and reasonable approach to the basic fabric of our educational services.
Under a Labour Government, SHS would have been totally re-built by now.
There would have been no need for the school to enter into areas totally alien to it, such as the debate about the Green Belt. Education, not commercial enterprises should be the focus for SHS."
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