Concerns raised over potential 'lower standard' of a new sixth form block set to be built at a school in Warwick

The new sixth form block will initially be used to accommodate 180 children from the neighbouring Oakley Grove School in Leamington

Myton School in Warwick. Photo by Mike Baker
Myton School in Warwick. Photo by Mike Baker

Warwickshire’s Green councillors have flagged up concerns that a new sixth form block at a Warwick school will be built to a lower standard than others in the county due to financial and time restraints.

And they were supported by a leading member of the Liberal Democrats who urged the council not to burden schools with higher energy bills in the future.

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Councillors at the annual meeting of Warwickshire County Council on Tuesday (May 17) backed a previous decision taken at cabinet that £8.6m be added to the capital programme to deliver building projects at The Queen Elizabeth Academy, in Atherstone, and Warwick's Myton School.

The money will come from Department for Education grants and third party contributions.

The Myton scheme will see a new sixth form block built and this will initially be used to accommodate 180 children from the neighbouring Oakley Grove School.

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Cllr Will Roberts (Green, Leamington Willes) said: “While I take into account high inflation and the shortage of supplies, we must not be put into a position where we build schools to a lower quality. These schools are going to be around for 50+ years and we need to be building them fit for the future."

And Cllr Jonathan Chilvers (Green, Leamington Brunswick) added: “We have been informed that although Queen Elizabeth and Oakley Grove will be built to the new slightly better 2021 regulations, Myton School will only be built to the lower 2013 regulations.”

Cllr Bill Gifford (Lib Dem, Leamington Milverton) said it was vital to treat the climate emergency not just as words but as something we were trying to avert.

He added: “It is important that we take account not just of providing buildings that work just at this moment but one that does not put extra costs on the school in years to come.”

The council’s portfolio holder for finance and property, Cllr Peter Butlin (Con, Admirals and Cawston), explained that his prime concern was that there were sufficient school places in Warwickshire.

He said: “Bearing in mind that Myton School is under a tight building schedule and a tight funding schedule as well, it is imperative that we deliver that sixth form facility so that we can accommodate the children from Oakley Grove. It would be disingenuous for me to make any promises about raising standards and increasing the costs of that build at this stage because it could jeopardise the delivery.

“We have already approved the capital budget for that school. I am sure there will be opportunities in the future when further technologies become available, that we will be able to retrofit and make those savings but at the moment we cannot jeopardise the delivery of that school.”

South Warwick Green campaigner Dominic Harrison said after the meeting that the council's actions were 'shameful'.

"This is a relatively simple change, needn’t delay the build and will save money for the school in the medium and long term," he added.

"The other schools Warwickshire are getting the improvements – why not Myton?”