£14m school places boost

MP Mike Wood.
MP Mike Wood.

Kirklees has been allocated £14m to meet the demand for school places over the next three years.

The authority was given the cash after the government invested an extra £2.35 billion to create more school places.

This is in addition to the £5 billion that is already being spent in Parliament.

In total, schools in Kirklees will receive £14,879,875 between 2014 and 2017.

The money will go towards funding existing plans to open new schools and expand existing ones in the region.

It is part of the government’s long-term plan to give every young person the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

But Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood said education secretary Michael Gove had been a disaster for education.

He said: “What he is giving with one hand his government has already taken with the other.

“This money doesn’t go anywhere near making up for what the Coalition has cut from the council’s education budget, and therefore from our local schools, since 2010.

“The crisis with school places is entirely of the Coalition’s own making.

“Cutting funding, such as Building Schools for the Future – which affected us so badly in Kirklees – and the chaotic, unplanned free for all that is their academy and free school policy means we have lost the ability to sensibly plan school provision to ensure the best for our children.”

Lib Dem councillor Cahal Burke has called for a change in council rules to prevent money allocated for new school places in one area being spent in another.

He said: “If an area has new homes built in it, that community should receive the full benefit of the money attached to that development.

“The process at the moment lacks transparency and I believe areas that have taken new homes are losing out on the money they were supposed to get to make .”

Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell was unavailable for comment.

Mr Gove said: “Labour were warned repeatedly that they hadn’t done enough to plan for a growing population – and once more it’s been left to the Coalition government to clean up the mess.

“We have more than doubled funding for new school places and we are also setting up great new free schools, which are giving parents a choice of high quality school places in areas Labour neglected.”