COUNCIL FAILS TO SECURE ACADEMY FUNDING

October 22, 2008 4:26 PM

At today's cabinet meeting the shortfall in funding for the new Academy proposed for Cheltenham was left unresolved.

The cabinet member admitted the council has failed to reach agreement with the Catholic Diocese over the need for £5million of funding for the Academy.

The proposed Academy in the North-West of Cheltenham was originally planned for at a cost of £30million. The county council has currently only secured £19.6million to build the academy.

Councillor Suzanne Williams, Liberal Democrat, Springbank said: "People in the area were repeatedly promised a brand new £30million school and if they don't get the funding for this to be a new school, parents are going to feel short-changed. This leaves a big question mark over the future of education in this area of Cheltenham. If the Academy is just a re-hash of the old school then people are unlikely to accept it as a new exciting opportunity for local children. The cabinet member needs to push hard for the full £30million to give local parents the great new school that we have been promised."

The cabinet meeting admitted a second shortfall in funding for the cost of developing the academy project. The council will now be taking £500,000 out of the capital funding that is needed to build the new Academy in order to fund the council's administration costs.

Cllr Charmian Sheppard. Liberal Democrat shadow cabinet member for education said: "The council's confused position over the funding of the academy is very worrying. The position of the council having to accept a short term loan from the Department for Children schools and Families to cover £5million of future funding adds to the confusion. No agreements have been finalised at today's cabinet meeting and critical questions remain unanswered about the £5million shortfall. We do not yet have a firm commitment from the council to reassure parents the academy on the Kingsmead site will be the new building that we are all hoping for.