Following on from yesterday's Salford Star story about the complete shambles surrounding Salford Council's projection of primary school age pupils and the lack of places for September (see here), the Council is now set to stop the bulldozing of all Council buildings which could be used to house primary pupils.
First up is the Hope High School building, currently about to close as the Oasis Academy MediaCityUK moves to its new building on Salford Quays in September. Yesterday, Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, stepped in to halt its imminent demolition…
"If we continue with the planned demolition of the former Hope High building, then the city council would lose an existing school facility within an area of the city which is experiencing significantly increasing number of primary pupils, with little or no capacity to expand the existing primary schools within the area to meet the demand", the Mayor's report stated.
What it didn't state is that Salford Council has been busy demolishing and closing primary schools, almost around the corner from the Hope High building – Tootal Drive, Langworthy Road and Seedley - and putting up new schools that were always going to be too small.
With a complete lack of irony the report adds… "It is also worth noting that the former Hope High building is within an area of the city where existing primary schools are near full to capacity and there is either little or no scope to extend these schools further…"
Now, Salford Council has realised "the reputational aspect and adverse press that is currently being levied at councils where a school building demolition programme has taken place, only then to be in a position where additional school buildings are required…" Except it's all a bit late.
Meanwhile, yesterday the Mayor authorised officers "to consider all options available to the city council in terms of potential re-use of existing city council-owned buildings and sites for future primary school provision".
No cost was put on the exercise as yet but the report noted that "The risk of the city council not being able to meet its statutory duty of securing sufficient number of pupil places in the long term (i.e. year 2020) is currently high."
If you've got a kid coming up to primary school age, be very worried. Be very worried indeed…