How much did they spend saving a school?

The announcement that the principal of New College has been shortlisted for head teacher of the year seems to have been the last straw.

Amid all the anger at the proposed closure of Riverside College, there seems to be a growing resentment that it isn’t being given the same chance as New College was four years ago.

At that time the New Parks school was hitting the national headlines for being one of the worst in Britain. It was before my time as education correspondent of the Leicester Mercury but the stories are legendary. Behaviour had completely broken down, teachers were scared of being assaulted in the classroom and pupils weren’t learning anything. A succession of head teachers came, failed and disappeared.

At the moment we can only guess at the amount of money it has cost over the past few years to put it right but it’s clearly a lot – one senior education official has told me that – and Riverside supporters, incensed that their school is being prepared for closure, think it’s unfair.

Members of the public at the last two city council meetings on the subject have made remarks about the “millions spent on New College – why can’t you do the same for us?” They think the sum will be significant compared with the £400,000 per year paid for each of the last two years and double that for the next two to keep Riverside open. On top of that, they say, three and a half years on from David Kershaw and Jane Brown’s arrival at New College, as executive principal and principal, New College’s GCSE results are still lower than Riverside’s.

So it’s time to find out how much.

I’ve submitted a request under the freedom of information act and within a month we’ll know exactly how much it cost to save New College.

As I mentioned yesterday, Jane has been shortlisted for head teacher of the year. That was enough for some comments from readers on the website to criticise Riverside’s closure and the phone call I received from one of the writers made clear the anger.

Obviously the financial landscape is different now but it’ll be interesting to see what effect it will have on the debate.

About Ian

A journalist working in Brussels
This entry was posted in Education analysis and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How much did they spend saving a school?

  1. Ross Grant says:

    There is one big difference between the two schools, which will be of no comfort to the parents and pupils attending Riverside.

    There was at the time probably no option of closing New College. The number of pupils that would have needed to be accomodated elsewhere was far too large for the system to cope with.

    In the case of Riverside the exact opposite is true.

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