School saga report has been delayed
THE publication of a report from a review looking into the Croft School saga has been delayed.
The primary school, off Marlborough Lane, opened to pupils in September amid controversy over the budget, building conditions and demand for places.
Following calls from opposition groups an independent review was set up into procedures for opening and closing schools.
The panel members, none of whom are councillors, arranged public meetings in Swindon and Highworth and meetings with the main players in the saga.
The children’s overview and scrutiny committee was told in November the review group was hopeful it would conclude all inquiries by the end of 2012.
The aim was to discuss it s report at the committee in January and the cabinet and full council this month.
However, no report was presented in January and the committee was told to anticipate the report by the end of January. No report has yet been published.
Committee chairman Coun Dave Wood (Lib Dem, Eastcott), said he hoped the report would be available this month and the committee had agreed it would be published as soon as available, rather than waiting for the next committee meeting on March 6.
He said: “The panel was due to get together at Christmas to sign off on something but they couldn’t get together so things fell behind by about a fortnight.
“Our recommendation is if it’s available before the March meeting, for it to come into the public domain. “Ideally ,things would have been done sooner but it’s down to the panel.”
Croft School campaigner Kareen Boyd, of Hesketh Crescent, called for the report to be published as soon as possible.
“If that doesn’t happen, we cannot improve the process as we move forward,” she said.
“And Mouldon Hill school seems to be raising concerns as the council proposes to build in a country park and has no evidence to support statements that the park is underused.
“So it’s of concern that the report into opening and closing schools has been delayed while the council is proposing to move forward with a school in North Swindon. “I would have expected the council would have wanted to have that report to inform the process.”
Keith Carby , the former chairman of the council’s standards committee, who is on the independent panel, said he hoped the report would be published this month, “We havea group of people who, despite us giving notice of the public meeting, had missed it and they wanted us to consider their views, so we delayed for that.” he said.