Todmorden High pupils’ message to PM over crumbling school is ‘come and see for yourself’, while MP turns up the heat too

Todmorden High School's student council have challenged Prime Minister David Cameron to come and see the decaying school buildings for himself
Todmorden High School's student council have challenged Prime Minister David Cameron to come and see the decaying school buildings for himself

Prime Minister David Cameron has been drawn into the row over failure to include crumbling Todmorden High School in the last round of school re-build funding.

Todmorden High School’s student council has taken matters into their own hands to lobby the decision not to include the school in the Priority School’s Building Programme 2, inviting Mr Cameron to come and see for himself the conditions in which students have to undertake their studies,

I was bitterly disappointed that neither Todmorden High nor Calder High were allocated funding under PSBP2 and I have continued to lobby the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Education and those civil servants involved with the process

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker

Meanwhile Calder Valley Conservative MP Craig Whittaker continues to petition his own PM and Government over the re-build funding issues faced by both Todmorden and Calder High schools.

Last month he staged a rooftop protest against the decision at Todmorden High.

Mr Whittaker said: “I was bitterly disappointed that neither Todmorden High nor Calder High were allocated funding under PSBP2 and I have continued to lobby the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Education and those civil servants involved with the process over the last few weeks.”

So far, Mr Whittaker has managed to secure a one off inquiry by the Education Select Committee into the PSBP2 which will be held on March 18 and an adjournment debate on March 9.

Previously, the opposition parties noted their anger on the “disappointing” funding allocation snub and had hoped for the decision to be reconsidered.

The student council is made up of representatives from each year group at the school and throughout this year they have been taking a very active role in communicating with both the Local Authority and more recently the Prime Minister with regards to funding for a new building.

The students were left disappointed when Mr Cameron declined the invite after telling the Prime Minister they “feel like they have been let down by various Governments through their decision not to give their school funding”.

The school, which spends around £250,000 a year temporarily fixing problems including mould, leaking ceilings and damp walls, recently missed out on the much-needed rebuild funding in the £2 billion Priority Schools Building Programme 2 (PSBP2).

Mr Cameron responded to say that unfortunately he will not be available to visit the school, thanked them for taking the time to write to him and explained that their letter has now been passed onto the Department for Education.

In their determination to speed up a solution for the school, the student council has also kept up the pressure on other officials.

Just before half term they wrote to Peter Lauener, chief executive of the Education Funding Agency, to explain to him the importance of a new building and what it would mean to the students of Todmorden High School, after senior students had also met him when he visited - just days before the funding news arrived.

They have also written to Stuart Smith, director for Children and Young People’s Services at Calderdale Council to ask him for an update on when they could expect work to start on the £5m building which will replace the English and Riverside buildings.

Todmorden High did not qualify for funding under the old Building Schools for the Future programme, as the need for a rebuild was based on criteria which included exam results and social deprivation.

Now, under the new system every school in England is surveyed and funding priority is given to schools in the worst state of dilapidation and the highest demand for school places.

However, despite calls from the community for the school to be refurbished, Todmorden High School missed out when funding for more than 270 schools was announced by the Government in early February.