Oct 07 2014

Harrow’s School Expansion Programme: All fur coat and no knickers

harrow_council_logoFrom the Vaughan School expansion consultation, which ended in February 2012:

  • “Suitable accommodation and facilities would be provided to accommodate the increased pupil numbers…”
  • “All schools, with council support as necessary, will work to ensure high education standards are promoted through the expansions…”
  • “The expansion will therefore help to ensure that the increased numbers of children can attend the school local to them…”

From the Harrow Times, June 21, 2013:

  • “Harrow Borough Council have welcomed permission for controversial plans to expand of a primary school. On Wednesday evening the council’s planning committee gave consent for expansion of Vaughan Primary School, in The Gardens, West Harrow.”

Minutes from the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny committee, October 2012 (public questions):

  • “On 20 June 2012 Cabinet took the decision to expand Vaughan Primary School and 8 other schools and the indicative cost provided in the report for Vaughan Primary School was £8.9 million. “

Minutes from the Council’s Cabinet, December 2012 (public questions):[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”right” width=”30%”]If they can’t deal with the first phase of the expansion of schools in Harrow what hope is there for these later ones?[/pullquote]

  • “The expansion of Vaughan Primary School is one of the key parts of this strategy.  It is a successful school and popular with parents. The current catchment area of 0.6m makes it a very local school.  Without this and other school expansions, the parents and families of Harrow will not be able to attend local schools and the concept of the school as part of the local community will be lost.”
  • “Harrow Council is committed to expanding this popular and successful school from September 2013…”

From a letter to parents of June 2013 from the school:

  • “On Wednesday 19th June 2013, the Harrow Council Planning Committee granted planning permission for the expansion of Vaughan Primary School. This expansion is an integral part of the Council’s vital primary school expansion programme and without it many children could be left without a school place in future years.”
  • Current update on the school’s website: “Work on the redevelopment of Vaughan Primary School under the Priority School Building Programme is progressing very well and we remain on course for delivery of the new school by the winter of 2015/2016. The Education Funding Agency (EFA), who are procuring this work on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE), are currently at the feasibility stage and this is anticipated to be complete before the spring of 2014. Further updates will be made via this website as the project progresses. “

Amount of building done to date: zero.

If they can’t deal with the first phase of the expansion of schools in Harrow what hope is there for these later ones?[pullquote align=”right” textalign=”right” width=”30%”]Amount of building done to date: zero.[/pullquote]

Residents would do well to remember the mess that the Council made of Whitmore’s  building work in 2010, where, in the words of the Harrow Times:

HARROW Council will have to make up £6.3 million after officers blew the lid off the budget for two major schools projects.

A handful of staff “systematically” stripped money away from a series of schemes to pay for overspending on the “iconic” rebuild of Whitmore High School and a separate project for new sixth form blocks at nine schools.

They did not tell managers costs had escalated and the authority must now find a way to plug the £6.3m gap in its capital budget, money reserved for one-off major projects.

Several employees face internal disciplinary investigations but independent auditors have reviewed their conduct and say no evidence of fraud or personal gain has been found.

Investigations have not placed any blame on the schools involved.

Many thanks to the anon contributor for this article.



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