‘We warned of survey flaws’

Calder High School, which along with Todmorden High School has missed out on rebuild cash
Calder High School, which along with Todmorden High School has missed out on rebuild cash

Calderdale Council’s Labour group warned last year that Government funding for two Calder Valley schools was in doubt, after “deeply flawed” surveys were published, it says.

The party is said to have raised question marks over how the Government was planning to fund school replacements.

The group also identified alleged errors in the survey that was taken out.

These included failing to identify major problems with hearing and electrical systems, missing significant weaknesses in the roofs and walls in both schools and missing problems with damp and drainage deteriorating roof conditions in Todmorden and the potential failure of the heating system.

Other issues included the surveys missing a “seriously damaged floor” because surveyors are said to have not looked under the vinyl covering.

Councillor Megan Swift, Labour’s spokesperson on children’s issues, said: “Last October, Calderdale Council received copies of the nationally-funded surveys of school properties. These have been used to decide which schools would be replaced or refurbished under the Coalition Government’s scheme.

“I warned at the time that ‘The Government will use these surveys not just to decide whether we get further money for the two high schools but also to set our allocation for general school maintenance up and down the Borough.’. I am devastated to see that this has come true, with no money for either school and a 20 per cent cut in the Council’s general allocation.

“These issues were flagged up with the Department of Education and with the Calder Valley MP by officers at the time. It is deeply disappointing that they have been ignored, leading directly to the failure to fund the school.”

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker led campaigners around Todmorden High School last week to show the deterioration of the facilities at the school, after it was announced that it had missed out on much-needed rebuild funding in the £2 billion Priority Schools Building Programme 2 (PSBP2).

Mr Whittaker said: “The roofs are rotting to bits and these are the conditions that our young people in the school have to put up with.

“The school have spent years and years painting over the problems to try keep the water out but as you can see from around the school there are lots of areas where they are just losing the battle to keep the water out. I am not going to rest until someone listens and comes back and resurveys the school. The surveys haven’t been robust enough.”