School sums don't add up

CASHSTRAPPED council chiefs are to go back to Government education bosses and press for more money for the redevelopment of Nailsea Community

CASHSTRAPPED council chiefs are to go back to Government education bosses and press for more money for the redevelopment of Nailsea Community School.The plea for extra cash comes after it was revealed there was not enough money in the pot to attain the Department of Education and Skills (DFES) 'vision' for the school.The DFES has allocated £28.9 million to rebuild the school on its current site by September 2009.It also set out a series of targets which the authority had to meet to be successful in attaining the cash windfall.But North Somerset education leaders say there is not enough money to match the targets set by the Government and that at least another £5 million is needed.Now the authority's executive member for children and young people's services Councillor Peter Kehoe is setting up a meeting with the DFES head of finance to see if more funding is available.Cllr Kehoe said: "There is an inconsistency about what the DFES is asking us to do and what they are funding."To provide the school we both want is going to cost in the region of another £5 million."We all know we could build a school for £18 million, but it would not be a school for the future."We refuse to build a new version of an old school."A meeting is being arranged to discuss the funding with the DFES as we refuse to mortgage the people of North Somerset for this project."Cllr Kehoe said thought also needed to be given to building a school which is energy efficient and low maintenance.He added: "A lot of the time schools are built with no real thought to their life costs."We need to be inventive with our designs and costs."It is hoped, once funding is discussed, work can start on preparing the tender documentation for the design and build contract.Contractors will be invited to tender in June and a shortlist drawn up with one being chosen as the preferred bidder in November.


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