In Parliament on Thursday Labour peer Baroness Massey voiced the concerns of parents in Swindon by raising the shortage of school places.
Swindon is projected to be over 27 full classes short of meeting requirements of new housing developments under current planning forecasts. The borough council has projected that the costs of meeting this demand through building new schools or expanding existing schools will be between £52 and £77 million. With local authorities under immense budgetary pressure as a result of cuts from central Government, there seems to be no apparent golden answer to a question that local parents are asking.
In a debate on education, Baroness Doreen Massey raised the issue. Baroness Massey said:
“Some academies have failed; some free schools have failed, with damage done to children before mistakes have been discovered. Government cuts to the Building Schools for the Future programme have led to shortages of school places; for example, in Swindon North.”
Mark Dempsey, Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for North Swindon responded:
"We need a new school for North Swindon. I hear every week from families across North Swindon who are struggling to get their children into their local primary and secondary school. I know the worry this causes and that without action now, this problem will become worse and worse.
"After the transformation of Schools under the last Labour government, the Tories cut the Building Schools for the Future Programme and are presiding over a school places crisis in Swindon. It’s clear that Swindon needs an answer to its current school places crisis. However I am worried that the Tory cuts mean that Swindon Council are struggling to fund a new secondary school.
"I campaigned for a new primary school for North Swindon and I am pleased that our campaign help secure a much needed new school and a much better school site. I am grateful to Baroness Massey for raising the issue of Swindon’s school places crisis in the House. I will campaign to ensure that a new School for North Swindon is delivered and the much needed school places are provided. This shows that Labour will provide real change to build a better future for Swindon and will provide a strong voice for North Swindon at Westminster.”