10:00AM, Friday 12 June 2015
Angry parents have launched a campaign calling for fairer funding for schools across the borough and greater transparency from the Royal Borough.
A group of six parents were sparked into action after the Royal Borough approved funding of £480,000 of Section 106 money to Holyport College at a full council meeting on Tuesday, April 28.
The expansion was for better changing facilities, a larger kitchen and an improved library, so 48 more pupils could enrol at the school in Ascot Road, which opened in September.
Each member of the group emailed their local councillors asking for justification as to how the council could give ‘such a large sum of money to a new school and why not others?’
These councillors included leader of the council, Cllr David Burbage (Con, Bray), Cllr Phillip Bicknell (Con, Park), Cllr Jack Rankin (Con, Castle Without), Cllr Eileen Quick (Con, Clewer East).
Having received no answers, the group decided to set up a Facebook page called Fair Funding for All Borough Schools, which created interest and support from other worried parents, including Kate Sheehan.
“I have no problem with Holyport College, but it is not full and other schools, such as Newlands Girls’ School and Charters School could do with the money,” said Mrs Sheehan, of Thurlby Way, whose son attends Cox Green School in Highfield Lane.
“They have the capacity to grow now.
“Is it the most effective use of half a million pounds? I would say no.”
She also questioned tweets from Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Maidenhead Riverside), from before the council meeting stating that 24 more places were becoming available at Holyport College. He is also the college co-founder.
“It seems like it was a done deal before the meeting,” said the 50-year-old.
Another member of the group, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “He (Cllr Dudley) does not differentiate between his role as deputy leader of the council and co-founder of the school.”
Jo Smith, of Belmont Crescent, who is also part of the group, said she was disappointed Cllr Dudley voted on the decision despite declaring an interest.
Cllr Dudley referred queries to the Royal Borough press office.
A borough spokeswoman said all decisions were taken in the public domain, are recorded and details available on its website.
She added: “The proposal to use the Section 106 contribution from the Stafferton Way development at Holyport College recognises the high number of preferences for places at this school for entry in September 2014 and 2015.”
An independent report into a Conservative councillor has found a breach of the Royal Borough’s code of conduct in a document seen by the Advertiser.