Schools fear cuts will hit spending
Major renovation works on at least four schools in the borough have been thrown into doubt after the government announced a multi billion pound spending review, which could cut vital school funding, writes Kate Ferguson. The new Conservative Lib Dem co
Major renovation works on at least four schools in the borough have been thrown into doubt after the government announced a multi billion pound spending review, which could cut vital school funding, writes Kate Ferguson.
The new Conservative Lib Dem coalition government has announced plans to re-examine every major spending decision made by the Labour government in its past 12 months in office in a bid to cut �6bn of public spending this year.
This casts serious doubts over vital renovation works at four Brent schools, which had collectively won an �80 million grant from the previous government's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme to rebuild their classrooms.
A second stage of funding earmarked for the borough's remaining secondary schools, which would see around �220 million of investment in their buildings, also hangs in the balance.
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Alperton Community School, in Stenley Avenue, Wembley, Cardinal Hinsley School in Harlesden Road, Harlesden and Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue, Wembley were all in line for large scale rebuilds.
A fourth, Queen's Park Community School, in Aylestone Avenue, Kilburn, is earmarked for a multi-million pound extension.
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Aubrey Muchamore, a part-time teacher at Queen's Park, said: "These cuts could be potentially devastating for the school.
"A new block was going to be built with this money, which would include a sports hall, and transform the school into far more of a community location.
"It would be shattering if the money is pulled."
Brent Council's bid was accepted in December 2009 meaning that it is among the most recent additions to the BSF programme, leaving it vulnerable to having funding withdrawn.
Stuart Davies, an associate head at Copland School, who heads up its BSF strategy, said the possible implications of the spending review are potentially 'worrying'.
He said: "Naturally we are concerned that the pot of money is under review.
"The money would be used for a pretty radical rebuild here. We can do far more in a brand new building, which would allow us to extend our offering to the wider community."
When Brent Council first bid for the scheme in 2008, Mustafa Salih, assistant director of Brent's children and families' department, said that without BSF funding it would 'be very difficult for us to accommodate the growing numbers of pupils,' sparking fears that there could be a major shortfall in school places if funding is pulled.
Mary Arnold, Brent Council's lead member for children and families, said: "It is incredibly important for us to get this money, and a major factor is the need for secondary school places.