MP calls for school in Warwick to be prioritised after more than half of its pupils remain out of school
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Matt Western, MP for Warwick and Leamington, has called on the Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, to prioritise support for Aylesford School after reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) and asbestos stopped over half of senior school pupils starting the school term as planned.
This comes after the Department for Education had accepted the scale of problems at Myton School as well, and the need for urgent action there too.
Aylesford pupils were due to return from the summer holidays on September 4 but following last-minute advice from the Department for Education, the school were forced to alert parents and pupils that the return would have to be delayed with the first year groups returning a week later than scheduled.
A large portion of pupils remain at home as the school continue to seek urgent help from the Government in providing temporary classrooms.
In a letter sent to the Secretary of State on September 4, MP Matt Western outlined the significant concerns both he and the senior leadership team at Aylesford School had about the large costs of the remedial work needed which were £42,000 with each additional sampling test costing £2,500.
Matt Western referenced the cuts to schools' budgets over the past 13 years and the pressures this had already placed on Aylesford’s budget. He called on the Secretary of State to confirm that these costs would be met by either the Department for Education or the Treasury, saying that the school should not have to “see further restrictions in their budgets to remedy the Government’s failure to invest in our school estate.”
He confirmed no response to the letter had yet been received and sent a follow-up letter on September 12 calling on the Department for Education to prioritise Aylesford School given the complexity of the case.
On his calls to the Government on the issues local schools are facing, Mr Western said: “I have been in frequent communication with both our local affected schools since they were forced to completely change their plans for the return to school for hundreds of pupils on incredible short notice advice from the Department for Education.
"It’s clear staff at both schools are working tirelessly in such a tough set of circumstances and urgently need support from the Government.
“I’ve written to the Secretary of State four times since their continued lack of action caused this huge disruption for local parents, children and staff at our schools.
"I will continue to be in touch with both Aylesford and Myton and do all I can to provide and press for the support they require.”
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the government is taking action and is "world-leading in terms of identifying where Raac is in our school estate".