County councillor says 'it's a scandal' that schools including Rugby's new primary not built to higher standard

Rugby’s new £6 million primary school and nursery is due to open its doors in September 2023.

An artist's impression of inside Griffin School.
An artist's impression of inside Griffin School.

But a county councillor said this week it was a ‘scandal’ that schools including The Griffin were not being built to a higher standard.

Cllr Jonathan Chilvers (Green, Leamington Brunswick) spoke out at Tuesday’s full council meeting after it was explained that work being carried out at Rugby’s new school and Stratford High School would not be to the latest building regulations.

The council’s portfolio holder for finance and property, Cllr Peter Butlin (Con, Admirals and Cawston) explained that planned work at two other schools would cost more money than anticipated due in part to a change in the regulations.

With temperatures outside Shire Hall hitting 40C, Cllr Chilvers said: “It is good news that the Oakley Grove and Shipston schools are being built to the new higher 2022 regulations that will mean there are cooler classrooms in the summer, warmer in the winter and lower fuel bills forever for the school.

“But that still leaves Stratford and others such as The Griffin in Rugby. To be honest, it is a scandal that we have not been building our schools to a higher standard. This is not just some vague technocratic hoop that we have to jump through, it is a scandal that we are lumbering the next generation of children and teachers with sub-standard schools.

“You are going to say to me that these extra standards cost extra money and that we haven’t got that money but we can view these higher standards as an investment because they will mean lower fuel bills for the lifetime of the school. We have missed a trick here.”

Cllr Butlin told the meeting that with limited resources it was all about getting the balance right.

He said: “I am mindful of the fact that there is not an infinite pot of money and our first port of call is to provide places for the education of the children of Warwickshire. Oakley Grove is to the new regulations and that has added on £2.5m to the cost.

“We build these schools and then hand them over to academies. We have no means of getting cash back for the extra money we have spent. We have no recourse to get savings back if there are any savings.”