Labour’s Chris Vince demands more answers from the Tories over school building debacle

News / Tue 5th Sep 2023 at 02:10pm

THE LABOUR candidate for the constituency of Harlow at the next general election has slammed the Conservative government handling of the school building debacle.

Chris Vince said: “News of further school closures in Harlow and across Essex mean further uncertainty for children and their parents and my heart truly goes out to all those affected by this ongoing shambles.

Sadly, the Education secretary’s ‘off-the-cuff’ remark ‘everyone else has sat on their a*** and done nothing’ does little to temper public opinion. It is not only a damning indictment of the Department for Education it’s also pretty damning for our local Education Minister. Despite his constant claims to be ‘working hard for Harlow’ our town’s MP has little to say about the fact that more local schools are facing closure. Water Lane school (and the Youth Centre next to it) are now closed until further notice with Harlowbury School recently added to the list.

The idea that we should be thankful he is ‘working hard’ to deal with the situation would be laughable if it wasn’t under such serious circumstances. If he wants to step down for me to take over the role of representing this town I’d be more than happy to do so. Until then it’s his job!

In the short term we need answers to the questions at the forefront of parents thoughts.
What is going to happen to pupils at the schools affected?
What will the structure of their school day look like?
What support will there be for SEN students?,

Huge credit must go to teaching staff and management of schools who are the ones genuinely working hard to ensure as little disruption for children as possible, many of whom have already met with parents and shared some of the first day arrangements.

Parents, children and staff also deserve to know why a 2018 report into RAAC was so recklessly ignored. As Shadow Education secretary Bridget Phillipson said yesterday in parliament ‘the safety of children in schools should be our highest priority’ and like the Labour Party nationally I urge the government to come clean about their failure.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

9 Comments for Labour’s Chris Vince demands more answers from the Tories over school building debacle:

2023-09-05 15:51:29

Here, here.... You are naughty CV, Dan said you were not meant to talk politics! However, you are working hard asking the questions we all want answers to. I'm sure there will be the usual responses, but not with answers to your questions though. Two of the schools fall in the Great Parndon Ward, so don't hold your breath for answers from that councillor, they haven't been seen for 8 months. Teachers, parents and students all deserve better and the truth. Only then can we start to get back to somewhere like normal, which they all deserve through no fault of their own. However much it hurts, I would have great respect if we heard what's happened, how is it going to be put right, and how quickly for the benefit of all.

2023-09-05 19:43:09

I don't want to upset Dan either, he seems the fragile sort. So this is absolutely not political in any way whatsoever, but inews have an interesting story: https://inews.co.uk/news/rishi-sunak-slashed-schools-covid-recovery-prioritised-raac-2594990 So, not only did Rish! reject DfE requests to rebuild and refurbish 200 schools a year back in 2021, but he also slashed a £10bn Covid education recovery fund to £1.4bn. At least all the Tories pals were getting PPE supply contracts at that time. Only £4bn was wasted on useless PPE and had to be put to the flames. Just to be clear, not political at all.

2023-09-05 22:28:10

He looks like Blakey from on the buses in that posed picture

2023-09-06 07:32:19

Seamus, I loved that programme but cant really see the similarity. However, there is a remarkable similarity with someone else and bagpuss! What do you think?

2023-09-06 08:11:15

The Conservatives in charge of the Department for Education were told that 400 schools a year needed refurbishing a year to keep schools safe. They thought this was never going to be agreed so they asked the Chancellor, Mr Sunak for money for 200. Mr Sunak agreed to fund 100, then cut that to 50 a year. But they actually delivered 4. Mr Halfon was in the Department for Education while this was going on and he was a big supporter of Mr Sunak. Our children were put in danger because the Conservatives chose not to act on the warnings.

2023-09-06 08:33:11

So funny so many council house working class people in Harlow consistently vote for the Tories and then complain about how worse off they are but then vote for the Tories again because of dog whistling on immigration hahaha. You absolute stupid people this is why the rich get richer and the poor stay poorer. Educate yourself on the policies that affect you. A few Polish people getting totally underpaid on a building site does not affect you. “They’re taking all our jobs”, well get up and work then stop being lazy. Reality is you’re going to have work in Tesco or be a cleaner. You didn’t do well in school or have spent the last 10 years doing absolutely nothing. I don’t understand how we give a free education from 4 to 18 and people decide to waste it then want to claim. We gave you 14 years to get the qualifications to not claim and now you want to claim. Absolutely joke that’s what’s wrong with this country people are too comfortable. What happened when people used to get up everyday and earn their money all day long in the coal mines.

David Forman
2023-09-06 09:32:28

A September 5 Schools Week news item explains that cancelling Labour's Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. meant 735 seconday school rebuilds were cancelled. Now we discover that 11 secondary schools are affected by RAAC concrete, with 6 of them in Essex. However, the rebuilding programme would not have cured Harlow's problems as they are, at present, mainly primary schools. Labour's BSF programme started in 2005, but in 2009, the National Audit Office (NAO) found original expectations of how quickly schools could be built were “overly optimistic” and that the programme cost had ballooned. The NAO explained: "In February 2004, the Department (for Education) said that it wanted to build 200 schools by December 2008, but Local Authorities only managed to build, remodel and refurbish 42 schools through BSF." See Schools Week item at https://schoolsweek.co.uk/revealed-the-raac-school-rebuilds-the-tories-scrapped/#:~:text=Former%20education%20secretary%20Michael%20Gove,rebuilds%20in%20England%20were%20halted.

David Forman
2023-09-06 09:36:39

The National Audit Office's report into Labour's Building Schools for the Future programme from 2009 that shows costs ballooning (see paragraph 8) and slow delivery can be found at https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ukgwa/20170207052721mp_/https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/0809135.pdf

Kim Oconnor
2023-09-07 08:35:16

This starts at the bottom all the way to the top.. bad materials, cheap labour, you carnt teach a bricky in few weeks of training, it's a life long trade,you never stop learning it.... then to the top,, to government, to Essex County Council, to Council s, to councilors... build cheap get cheap, higher cheap labour, your get cheap labour, build quick, thrown up... This is a disgrace, and could of been a lot worse..

Leave a Comment Below:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *