Parents launch petition to fund new school hall shortfall at Evenlode Primary School

Penarth Times: OVER CAPACITY: Evenlode Primary School was purpose built for 240 pupils but there are currently more than 400 on roll (3440805) OVER CAPACITY: Evenlode Primary School was purpose built for 240 pupils but there are currently more than 400 on roll (3440805)

A PETITION has been launched calling on the Vale Council to meet a funding shortfall for the construction of a new school hall for Evenlode Primary School.

The petition, which has been signed by more than 500 people in under a week, has called on the Vale Council to use central education funds to fund the expected £60,000 shortfall needed to build a new much needed hall.

In December last year the Vale Council granted the school governors permission to sell off surplus land to raise funds for the building of a new school hall. The school Governing Body has already gained outline planning permission for the construction of a single house on the surplus land with a ground floor area of 320metres squared.

Parent Voice, a group set up to by parents to represent each year group of the school that launched the petition, has warned that of the expected money raised from the selling of the land it would still be £60,000 short of the approximate £300,000 cost of the new build.

Councillor Chris Elmore, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The school’s Board of Governors has previously confirmed that it has sufficient funds to make up any shortfall between the land receipt and the cost of the hall.”

He added that the process of selling the land was at an early stage and that “it is not possible to determine how much the land will be sold for or the cost of the hall until bids have been received”.

Councillor Elmore is due to meet with the school’s Chair of Governors, Ceri Griffiths, and the school’s head teacher, Steve Rees, today, January 16, to discuss the matter.

A spokeswoman from Parent Voice said that they wanted to work with the council to find an “amicable solution” to the impasse so that the school wouldn’t have to take out a loan to finance the new school hall, as that would make a dent in the running costs of the school.

“We just want what is right for the children,” she said.

“We are trying to show that everyone has one voice. It’s not just a small group of parents that is concerned about this, it is everyone.”

The petition states that Evenlode Primary School was purpose built in 1969 for 240 children but that there were currently 450 children on roll, an increase of 88 per cent, “without any significant investment in building capacity and infrastructure from the Council to support this growth”.

The petition adds that two recent Estyn reports have highlighted that the failure to invest in a new hall for increased capacity is currently impacting on both the health and safety of the children and the standards of education and facilities offered at the school.

The petition adds that because of the small size of the hall and the over capacity of the school children are forced to eat their lunch outdoors or in their classrooms, the school is unable to deliver a full school assembly for all year groups at the same time, it is unable to offer school breakfast policies in line with Welsh Assembly Government policies, and struggles to run after school clubs in areas such as sports and music.

The petition can be signed at: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/evenlode-primary-school-hall-funding-shortfall?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1389623048&state=sign

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