The Lib Dem candidate for the Bridgwater parliamentary seat Claire Sully has welcomed the news that Haygrove secondary school in the town will be rebuilt at a new site, but said pupils, staff and parents have been badly let down by the government.
Haygrove School was forced to close part of its site in August this year after a window collapse prompted a structural survey of the site which revealed serious safety flaws in recently built sections of the school. Many pupils experienced major disruption, having been forced to work from home or at other sites in the town and temporary classrooms had to be brought onto the site. Experts told the Department for Education (DfE) that parts of the school might be prone to collapse should it see very high winds or an unusually heavy snowfall.
The problematic parts of the school had been built under a £38 million project by now defunct contractor Caledonian Modular as part of a scheme introduced by the current Conservative Government. The government said the contract would fast-track construction and offer value for money, but Haygrove joins a school in Essex in having to close because of doubts about its structural integrity, while two Cornish primary schools built under the contract have had to be demolished before they were even opened.
Claire Sully said: “While it’s great that a new school is being built to serve Bridgwater, this sorry affair could have been avoided by proper investment in school refurbishment by the Conservative government. They seem to lurch from crisis to crisis, and far from delivering value for money, seem to have wasted millions on unsafe and crumbling school buildings.
“Parents of Haygrove pupils may not be impressed by the outgoing Bridgwater MP Iain Liddell-Grainger telling the local media that the government helped solve the crisis when it was the same government that created the crisis.
“Education infrastructure in this country has been allowed to fall into disrepair as building and maintenance budgets have fallen in real terms under the Conservatives, and it’s sad that parents, pupils and school staff in Bridgwater are having to pay the price for Mr Liddle-Grainger’s party’s failings.”