At 1st December meeting of the Executive, Kingston’s Lead Member for Schools announced that the borough would be receiving better-than-expected levels of Government funding for the expansion and new build of local schools.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Patricia Bamford, the Council officer team and local MPs were acknowledged by the Executive panel and audience members for their hard work in getting Government recognition for the exceptional and unprecedented demand for education services in Kingston upon Thames.
Cllr Bamford, who is the Council’s Executive Member for Children and Young People’s Services said: “I welcome the response from Government to the exceptional circumstances we have found ourselves in and the recognition from them that still more support will be needed in the future.”
Kingston is to be awarded with £8.2million in ‘stop gap’ funding for permanent new primary school classrooms, £5million more than expected. The local authority was also accepted into the Building Schools for the Future programme in partnership with Croydon, and will be given an initial tranche of £100million towards the cost of building a new secondary school in the north of the borough.
Cllr Bamford explained to the chamber how the persistent campaigning from local Liberal Democrats and the tenacity of Kingston council officers had been instrumental in receiving this critical funding.
She said: “Kingston has been at the forefront of identifying the specific issues around the growth of school population both regionally and nationally.
“As a member of London Council's Children and Young People's Forum, I pressured to get this on their agenda resulting in reports which called for the Government to reassess its funding for local authority education budgets.
Lib Dem MP, Ed Davey Intervenes
“Additionally, local Liberal Democrat MP Edward Davey secured an Adjournment debate in Parliament on the subject. Ed, alongside Susan Kramer MP and myself met with Government officials from the Department of Children, Schools and Families and RBK officers to put forward the specific case for improved funding arrangements for our borough primary schools.
“There has been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to get the Council to this point today. Whilst we are delighted about the news on funding for Kingston schools, we know there is a lot more work to do. Our Liberal Democrat Council has demonstrated its full commitment to provide excellent opportunities for learning. We will continue to work to expand and improve our existing outstanding services for all local children and young people.”