MP fights for new schools

An MP was today setting out the case for Bingley and Ilkley Grammar Schools to be rebuilt - after the announcement the schemes were not getting the cash.

Shipley MP Philip Davies has secured the first question at the Commons Education questions this afternoon.

He will tell Schools Secretary Michael Gove schools needing to be rebuilt are entirely different to wanting a new building for the sake of it.

Plans to rebuild or refurbish a further 19 schools in the £337 million third phase of Bradford's Building Schools for the Future programme were last week abandoned by the Government as part of its plan to reduce the country's debt.

Mr Davies said: "There is a world of difference between an old but adequate school and people wanting a new school, simply because it would be a nice thing to have a new shiny building. That unfortunately is a luxury we cannot afford.

Bingley and Ilkley grammar schools have got to the point where they are overcrowded because of excessive house-building. There is not the capacity to meet the demand and no spare room on the existing site for an extension.

They are not wanting new schools for the sake of it. They need new school buildings because it is about child numbers and the need for children to go to school.

"I believe in reducing the deficit, as does the coalition, but I also believe in children being able to go to a school of their parents' choosing. The alternative is to build new additional schools. I am just not sure what the alternative is for schools in this situation."

Mr Davies said he would use his chance to question the minister by asking what could be done in cases like Bingley and Ilkley when supply exceeded demand.

He said: "Michael Gove and I want people to have choice but if there is no space then that choice is removed. On a large number of schools I agree with him that they needed to be cancelled because of the financial situation, but some cases are different."