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School reorganisation

PUBLISHED: 14:03 25 March 2008 | UPDATED: 19:59 05 July 2010

FOLLOWING recent concerns regarding school organisation review costs, I felt it might help if I set out what the county council wants to achieve and how the various projects will be funded.

FOLLOWING recent concerns regarding school organisation review costs, I felt it might help if I set out what the county council wants to achieve and how the various projects will be funded.

Within the children and young people's service we are managing a major programme of transformation, focused on creating an education system that will ensure young people in Suffolk have the skills they need to compete in an increasingly global and competitive economy.

We are undertaking a review of school organisation across the county to ensure schools and post 16 provision are organised in a way which best meets the needs of the communities they serve.

We are also planning for what could be funding of around £600m through the government's Building School for the Future (BSF) programme. The whole programme of transformation being undertaken will be supported by significant capital funding from a number of different sources; the county council's school capital programme, BSF, schools devolved capital and any capital receipts.

In relation to where the funding for the new high school in the south of Lowestoft would come from, I can confirm, as we have always explained, this will be funded through the BSF programme.

Start up funding will come from the county council's existing capital funding to ensure the current buildings on the Pakefield Middle School site can accommodate the additional year groups from 2011 until the BSF money becomes available to fund the new school.

Figures quoted in early 2007 for the school organisation review were, as clearly stated, desk top estimates, given before options for Haverhill and Lowestoft were developed.

Costs are changing as options are developed for individual schools, but by no means are they out of control. We are managing all available resources to maximum effect to ensure our learning environments are the best they can possibly be within the available resources.

It is important to remember that the review is about improving educational standards, not about making savings.

PATRICIA O'BRIEN

Portfolio holder for children schools and young people's services

Suffolk County Council

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