Tories wasting taxpayers’ money for school in wrong place and wrong setting

Davey demands Education Funding Agency re-think “silly” plan on new primary for Surbiton based in Kingston - and proposes alternative plan

Commenting on the news that Michael Gove’s Education Funding Agency has bought an expensive office block on Kingston High Street supposedly for a new Surbiton primary school, Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat candidate for Kingston and Surbiton, said:

“We desperately need 4 new primary schools across Kingston, but Michael Gove’s Education Funding Agency keeps spending taxpayers’ money on properties that are unsuitable and sometimes even in the wrong place. Given how urgent this is, it’s not just incompetent and wasteful, it’s frankly a betrayal of local families and their children.

“This latest nonsense – to buy an office block on a busy road in Kingston for a Surbiton primary – simply beggars belief. This is Gove’s free schools policy gone crazy: it’s high time local Conservatives joined local Liberal Democrats in condemning these silly ideas. How can you seriously propose the new Surbiton Primary Academy opens on Kingston High Street? It’s not even a suitable site for a new Kingston primary.

“I’ve have now personally spoken to the Chief Executive of the Education Funding Agency to make my opposition to this proposal clear – and offered him a more sensible site.

“I am proposing the Education Funding Agency purchases South Place in Surbiton off the local NHS mental health trust, as it’s up for sale, and combines this with the adjacent council-owned properties on Browns Road and Alpha Road. This would make a perfect site for a 2-form entry primary and a modernisation of the children’s centre.

“My primary school proposal has the benefit of this site actually being in Surbiton, near where the greatest demand for school places is, and is only a short safe walk from Fishponds Park for the children. It’s also almost certainly likely to be far better value for the taxpayer.

“I’ve now contacted the NHS Trust, GEMS – the free school sponsor for Surbiton – and the council about this proposal, as well as the Education Funding Agency. It’s high time the EFA and Council stop messing about, wasting money and just got on with the job of delivering the new primary schools local families need.”