The Continuing Saga of the New Saddleworth School

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Now the aftermath of the general election is over people have said it has all gone a little quiet on the New Saddleworth School Build.

It obviously hasn’t been quiet for everyone who wanted a new school.

If you cast your mind back to September last year Royton and Crompton School had this funding application approved By Oldham Council and the EFA.

This was reported by Jacob Metcalf from the Oldham Evening Chronicle online on the 20th September 2016

Extra £3.5m approved for school expansion

Reporter: Jacob Metcalf

Date online: 20 September 2016

COUNCIL chiefs have agreed to fund an extra £3.5million to not only rebuild but expand a dated school as part of a £17.5million overhaul.

At a cabinet meeting last night, councillors approved proposals to invest an additional £3.5 million of council money on top of the £14 million earmarked by the Education Funding Agency to rebuild Royton & Crompton secondary.

In 2014, Oldham Council applied for Priority Schools Building Programme funding for three schools, with only Royton and Crompton successful in 2015. 

The cash was intended to be used to build a new school on the current site with an eight-form entry of 240 pupils per year.

However, the council asked the EFA to consider increasing the construction to accommodate a 10-form entry of 300 pupils a year after anticipating a shortfall in the provision of secondary school places.

It would mean 1,500 pupils attending the school in total.

Rebuild

The EFA confirmed this would require additional funding from the council at an estimated cost of £3.5million, which the cabinet has now agreed to do.

The rebuild could include a new sports hall and see the current synthetic pitch replaced with a new one at a cost of £170,000 to the council.

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, cabinet member for education and early years, said: “On a personal level I think this is quite a significant move. 

“I get parents coming to me saying what a state that school is in. That school in 2016 is just not adequate.

“Education isn’t just about teaching students, we also have a duty that all our students are taught in a building that is fit for purpose.”

Councillor Abdul Jabbar agreed but admitted he felt it had taken a considerable amount of time to reach this point.

He said the progression of rebuilding was an issue that needed to be dealt with

 

Well things have taken a huge leap since then. This was reported on the same site by Lucy Kenderdine on the 23rd June 2017

School’s vision for the future

Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine

Date online: 23 June 2017

STUDENTS, parents and members of the public will be able to get a first glimpse at plans for a much-needed redevelopment of Royton and Crompton School next week.

Construction business Galliford Try is holding a public consultation event on Monday ahead of submitting a planning application for a new building at the Blackshaw Lane School.

The new block, designed by architects AHR of Manchester, will replace the existing 1960s main building with the original main building demolished following completion of building work elsewhere on the site.

Other buildings on the site, including the sports hall, and the existing all-weather pitch, will be retained.

Funding for the new building is part of the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s Priority School Building Programme. Last year, Oldham Council agreed to fund an extra £3.5 million to not only rebuild but expand the dated school as part of a £17.5 million overhaul.

A total of £14 million was earmarked by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to rebuild Royton & Crompton secondary after the school’s bid for the cash was successful in 2015.

Galliford Try, which has a regional base in Warrington, has been selected to deliver the project with proposals for the new building to be submitted for planning approval by Oldham Council in July.

Jim Parker, managing director of Galliford Try North-West, said: “We look forward to welcoming local people to see our plans and speak to us and our stakeholders about this exciting project.

“Galliford Try has an excellent track record of working with the ESFA to produce high-quality educational facilities and we believe this new building for Royton and Crompton School will be of great benefit to local children and the wider community.”

Local residents and other interested parties are invited to view the plans for the new building at a drop-in consultation event at the school on Monday, between 4 and 7.30pm.

Councillor Amanda Chadderton, Oldham Council’s Cabinet member for Education and Early Years, said: “This consultation is a chance for parents, residents and interested parties to help shape the future of Royton and Crompton School. “Your views and opinions are important to us and we want to hear them.”

Parents, pupils and local councillors have argued for years that the school facilities are not adequate and are in desperate need of refurbishment.

Councillor Howard Sykes described the school as “physically falling apart and in desperate need of replacement” and lobbied for funding for a new school to be prioritised.

As the article suggests that through effective lobbying the funding has been allocated and the build is going full steam ahead.

The issue I have had all along with the Save Diggle Campaign is that they have not given one thought for the families or pupils who use the school on a regular basis.

All the delays and arguing about the so called heritage of the site has meant that Saddleworth School is no longer the number one priority at Oldham Council.

They have since the first article secured funding to improve Royton and Crompton school which should be completed long before Saddleworth School would even get planning permission.

It is also worth pointing out that the school is in far better condition than the existing Saddleworth School but the council can deliver it before funding may be withdrawn.

By my calculations with the summer recess looming the earliest the new plans would reach committee would be in September at the earliest. Then the Christmas Break looms therefore it will be January 2018 before it even gets to planning.

Add another round of legal wrangling it could be delayed yet another twelve months. By then the new Royton and Crompton School will be built and in use.

If I was the EFA I know what I would do with the Saddleworth Funding, I would re allocate it to a school that would be built and in operation without any delays that have plagued this torturous saga.

It saddens me greatly but I think that the fear of more legal delays will be enough to prevent Saddleworth School being replaced even on the existing site and our children will be sent to any school in the borough that has a place for them.

It is not beyond the realms of possibility that we could lose the funding and it would be a disaster not only for the children of Saddleworth but for the village of Diggle who will almost certainly have to endure a large scale housing development on the site.

This will undoubtably bring with it a great deal more traffic than the school would ever have generated and without any funds available to make any necessary road improvements.

So to the people who have lobbied against the school coming to Diggle I applaud you on your hollow victory.

In the long term, not only have you disadvantaged the children of Saddleworth in receiving an education in a new purpose built school but it will also mean even more buses to transport them in and out of Oldham and more traffic when the housing development starts.

I feel for anyone who has children at the school or who are making decisions on which school there children are going to next year!

Please don’t think that the majority of people in Diggle supported this action from the Save Diggle Campaign as they claim. I for one have been vocal in my support for any scheme that puts the education and welfare of our young people first.

It seem ironic that Kieth Lucas the individual who is the spokesperson for the group was actually was awarded an MBE for services to children!

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