Sunday, 11 March 2012

News about Chantry high School - Stoke Park Ward

From his newsletter, this is Ben Gummer MP's latest news for a new school at

Chantry High, Ipswich

You may remember that just over a year ago Ipswich Academy, formerly Holywells High School, received £15 million towards the cost of new buildings by Gainsborough Sports Centre. I fought hard for the money and was pleased - and, if I am honest, a little surprised - to get it, given how few other schools were getting funds.

Immediately afterwards I started a similar campaign for Chantry School, which desperately needs new buildings to replace the knackered old blocks that are fifty years old this year. Chantry's rebuilding project was one of the casualties of the cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme by the new government in July 2010 - cancelled because the whole scheme had become a scam for consultants, meaning that each school was costing taxpayers two to four times what it should have done.

Whatever the faults with BSF, the decision was bitterly disappointing for Chantry parents, teachers - and for me. I told the government that whilst I understood their reasons, I could not support the decision until a replacement programme, which provided both a new school for Chantry and better value for taxpayers, was in place.

So since then I have been fighting for precisely that: a new school for Chantry - one they have been promised on several occasions and at every turn so far have been let down.

I've camped on ministers' doorsteps, written letters and lobbied the chancellor. When the cabinet visited Ipswich before Christmas the secretary of state for education, Michael Gove, visited the school to see for himself what needs to be done. So the government is well aware of what I want - and I will make sure that I keep the pressure on until the right decision is made.

The not so good news is that the decision, which we expected about now, has just been delayed. The upside of this is that I now have more time to lobby for the right outcome.

I can tell you, I intend Chantry to be imprinted on ministers' memory.

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