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High School Provision (Stoke-on-Trent South)

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 8 April 2010

The Petition of residents of Stoke-on-Trent and others,

Declares that there is a desire among the people of the city of Stoke-on-Trent that there should be a High School serving the communities of Longton, Meir, Weston Coyney, Normacot, Dresden, and other areas in that vicinity.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call upon the Government to take steps to instruct Stoke-on-Trent City Council that it may, as part of the BSF programme, have a “two-school solution” to the issue of the location of the new 20:20 Academy, thereby building a new school on the fields adjacent to Longton High School and continuing to use the Mitchell High School.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mr. Robert Flello, Official Report, 30 March 2010; Vol. 508, c. 786.]

[P000801]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families:

It is the responsibility of the Local Authority (Stoke-on-Trent City Council) to determine the estates strategy that will be applied to the delivery of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) in Stoke-on-Trent. I understand that the Local Authority’s vision is now well developed and ready for detailed planning to start. The Local Authority could however, choose to re-examine its estates strategy, and submit a revised Outline Business Case in the light of its re-examination. There is no barrier to the Local Authority bringing forward a revised proposal should it wish to do so; incorporating an altered number of schools or altered locations. There is a risk however that this may delay the delivery of BSF in the city, as a new Outline Business Case would need to be assessed and approved. The existing proposals would need to be placed on hold while any changes to the existing estates strategy were considered. If the delay was prolonged, the allocation of funding for this project may run beyond the deadline by which the current allocation of funding is required to be spent.

It is for the Local Authority to identify a suitable site for the Discovery Academy. I understand that the Local Authority is conducting a feasibility study on a number of sites, and is currently undertaking consultation on this matter, so the ultimate site has yet to be confirmed.