Hitchin school under threat as £1 million worth of repairs needed
PUBLISHED: 16:47 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:47 07 August 2019
A district councillor has written to the new education secretary calling for urgent action to keep a Hitchin school open – amid refurbishment estimates of £1 million.
Councillor Sam North, who represents Hitchin's Cadwell ward on North Herts District Council, sent the letter to MP Gavin Williamson after the chair of governors at Ickleford Primary School revealed there were "significant issues with the school".
In the letter, Cllr North states overall estimates for the necessary repairs and replacements - which includes urgent repair of the school building and kitchen - exceeds £1 million.
He goes further to explain that if these critical items were not repaired, the school would be forced to close - spelling potential chaos for pupils and parents.
In a response sent to Cllr North last month, Ickleford's governors said: "A thorough survery of the school has identified many significant issues which need to be addressed to ensure the school remains fully operational.
"The cost of rectifying these far exceeds our capital budget, so we have submitted bids to Herts County Council for funding. To date these requests have been declined."
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A meeting will be arranged at the school in September, where governors, other members of the school's leadership team and parents can discuss the school's future in more detail.
Speaking on the situation, Cllr North said: "Everyone will be aware of the massive funding gap in education.
"It is important that our children have the best opportunities in life, so it is important that we do all we can to ensure the relevant people are involved in the decision-making process.
"The board of governors have done an excellent job so far mitigating the issues caused by lack of funding and have now deliberately 'gone public' to elicit the support of others in the community."
Fellow NHDC councillor Sam Collins, of Hitchin Highbury ward, added: "It is appalling that it has been allowed to get this bad, but this is another example of how the government are cutting school funding to the bone, failing our children.
"Hertfordshire County Council really must get this sorted in time for the new school year."
The county council has been contacted for comment, but is yet to respond.
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