Conservative Schools Spokesperson, Cllr. Andrew Wealls, has expressed surprise at the contents of a letter from Government Minister, Lord Nash, to the Council’s Chief Executive which throws more light on the BHASVIC field / King’s School saga and highlights further confusion and lack of direction from the Council’s Green Administration.
The Government’s Education Funding Agency (EFA) originally proposed the BHASVIC field as a possible location for the new King’s School in a public statement in April. At the time, the Green Administration claimed that they knew nothing about the proposal and accused Education Secretary Michael Gove of instigating a ‘land grab’. However, Lord Nash’s letter reveals that whilst the Green and Labour parties were publicly opposing a new school on the site, the Administration had in fact agreed the EFA’s statement about the King’ School and, was actually discussing building a primary school on the field as well.
Lord Nash’s letter states: “Various meetings took place during March and April, during which the Council was given the opportunity to oppose the proposals before they became public. The Council did not take the opportunity to do so. Instead, a proposal was put forward by the Council for a primary school alongside the King’s Church of England Free School.”
Cllr. Wealls said: “I welcome this clarification from the Government about the situation with the BHASVIC field. We have always been open-minded about all sorts of possibilities for new school sites in Brighton & Hove as we recognise that something constructive needs to be done about the crisis in school places in the city. However, residents and parents will find it hard to understand why, at the same time as campaigning vigorously in public against the use of BHASVIC field, the Green Administration was conducting behind the scenes discussions, not only about using the field for the King’s School, but also for a new primary school. It is a shame that the public has been misled and that parents and pupils were not party to those private discussions. I urge the Administration to redouble its efforts to find a new permanent site for the King’s School and to meet the desperate need for new school places in the city – they have my full support in doing so. This is one issue that should be above party politics.”