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Conservatives criticise botched school expansion plans


Plans by the Green Administration on Brighton & Hove City Council to expand Stanford Infants’ School have been delayed until land adjacent to the school can be acquired to provide more space for the children.

At the Children & Young People Committee on Monday, a Conservative initiated amendment was passed, with support from the Labour & Co-operative Group, calling on the Green Administration to put any expansion on hold until the concerns of the school governors and parents, particularly over the lack of space, are addressed. Councillors and parents also expressed serious misgivings about the lack of consultation with Stanford Junior School, which would also have to expand in order to accommodate the increased number of pupils coming through the Infant school.

Conservative Group schools spokesman – Andrew Wealls – said: “Whilst I agonised long and hard about this, I’m happy that the decision we made was in the best interests of both existing and future pupils. It cannot be right that this excellent school, which is already short on space, is asked to increase its pupil numbers by a quarter without any expansion of its grounds. We agree that popular schools should be expanded but not at all costs.”

Andrew added: “The Green administration has left this all far too late. Instead of putting this last-minute botched expansion plan before the school governors, and now the Children & Young People Committee, they should have been engaging proactively with the Government and potential providers to access new free schools for the city which would have taken some of the pressure off schools like this one. This is seat-of-the-pants management of the crisis in school places for our children and the Green Party’s dogmatic rejection of free schools is making matters far worse.”