Schools may be handed over free

By Richard Wright

Friday, December 14, 2012

 

Schools may be handed over free

The Hunnyhill site in Newport could be taken over.

THE Isle of Wight Council could be forced to hand over redundant school buildings without payment to new 'free’ schools, which are being created under government education reforms.

This could worsen the council’s cash "hangover" following Island education reform, a meeting was told.

The new generation of schools, which were free of local authority control, were entitled to take over school buildings made redundant by the Island switch to two-tier education, the Isle of Wight Council scrutiny panel was told.

Chief executive Steve Beynon told the children and young people panel the new generation of schools being promoted by the government could take over redundant school buildings and was not bound to pay the Island anything for them.

He said most property sales were now too far advanced to be subject to interference from the secretary of state but the redundant Hunnyhill site, Newport, and Love Lane, Cowes, could be vulnerable.

He said there was also now no funding for security and boarding-up redundant property awaiting disposal. That further worsened the financial situation.

But he said he remained confident capital receipts would meet projections, despite a depressed property market.

Mr Beynon said funds had been promised for improvements to Oakfield CE Primary School, Carisbrooke College, Ryde Academy and Christ the King College but, in the case of the three secondary schools, there was, as yet, no indication when the work would take place.

The indication was it would happen between 2013 and 2017.

East Cowes councillor Margaret Webster asked why the major problems with the roof of Queensgate Foundation Primary School were not identified before the Beatrice Avenue school was occupied.

Mr Beynon said an inspection before the move did not highlight the roof problem but replacement had been highlighted as a priority in the capital programme.

Reporter: richardw@iwcpmail.co.uk

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