Will new Government boost Knebworth school campaign?

WHAT does the new Government’s education policies mean to parents in Knebworth campaigning to build a school?

Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats had to make compromises in order to thrash out the deal that saw them finally form a coalition Government.

But there is one key Tory pledge that has survived, and will certainly be of interest to some villagers in Times Territory.

The “free schools” policy was proposed by new Education Secretary Michael Gove, and would provide funding to educational charities, independent companies and groups of parents or teachers to start and run their own independent schools.

So what would that mean for the campaign being run by parents in Knebworth to build a secondary school in the village for their children and others in the surrounding villages of Datchworth, Woolmer Green, Codicote and Welwyn?

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Juliet Pomerance, chairman of the We Need A School campaign, said: “I wouldn’t say it’s made a lot of change to what we’re trying to do.

“We are open to any help and if the new Government wants to help then of course we’ll accept it.

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“If it removes some of the red tape for us, that will make things easier, we’re always in support of something that makes it easier for us to do this.

She added: “I think there’s around 350 school campaigns going on in the country – that tells you something, there must be some kind of problem.”

But Hertfordshire county councillor Richard Thake, the executive member for education and skills, was sceptical over whether Hertfordshire would benefit from the policy.

“There are areas in this country where education is failing the population.

“It is not failing the population of Hertfordshire,” Mr Thake said.

“The county council’s position is straightforward – we have sufficient schools in that area to meet demand.

“I would never say never, but at the moment I can’t see that it would meet any sensible criteria.”

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