freeschool-cartoon-001I’ve had a response to my freedom of information request to say that I’ve asked for too much information. Apparently there’s just too much correspondence between the various parties since April 30 last year. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) recommend narrowing my search criteria.

I’m thinking I might not bother.

A meeting was held on Friday at which representatives of most of the parties involved in the Free School (but not United Learning) were told that assessments on the Wye College buildings would be commercially sensitive  – as they will have a bearing on the rents payable.

I’ve also been told that the school will actually receive more money for a new build than for refurbishment of existing buildings – thereby making new-build next to the Kempe Centre more attractive than refurbishment of the Grade 2 college buildings.

This seems to be in contravention to a statement on the EFA’s own website:

Will there be capital funding available for refurbishments of old buildings to make them suitable for teaching or to build a brand-new school?

However, capital funding for Free Schools is about providing fit for purpose schools in a range of buildings, rather than distinctively designed and expensive new builds

(My highlighting not theirs..)

Whatever the case, there seems to be a widespread feeling in the community that this is a done deal – that whatever the result of the ‘consultation’, a free school will be established in Wye, most probably in the Kempe Centre with a new-build alongside.

So what do I feel about this? Yes I’m concerned about the traffic and think it’s outrageous that the scheme has got this far without a credible travel plan. Yes I think the procedure has been a complete nonsense – an embarrassment in a democratic society.

But I also recognise that the free school will have its good points – bringing a vibrancy to a corner of the village that has become increasingly derelict.

I’ll probably vote ‘no’ on the village’s free school questionnaire because I’m upset about the travel plan – but will embrace the free school when it comes along – wherever they choose to put it.

Anyone for fudge?

About jasperbouverie

I am Jasper Bouverie. I have two blogs: which is about promoting sustainability in the village of Wye in Kent (and beyond); and which I will fill with short films dedicated to promoting social and environmental awareness and change. Find me on Twitter: funderfilms and finelinej
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