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King's school opened 'at expense of other children' - councillor claims
11:00am Friday 27th September 2013 in News
A LABOUR councillor has slammed the recently opened Kings Leadership Academy claiming that the school has been opened ‘at the expense of other children in the town’.
Clr Steve Parish (LAB - Bewsey and Whitecross) has accused the chief executive of Kings Leadership Academy, Sir Iain Hall, of being ‘economical with the truth’.
Sir Hall has previously stated that a budget of £250,000 was awarded by the Department for Education for its first year in operation.
Figures from the Department for Education show that the school actually received £255,000 in start-up costs before the school opened in September 2012.
In its first year of operation, with 40 pupils, the school was handed another £1.16m, which is the equivalent of funding for 170 pupils at other high schools in Warrington.
Since the school opened, pupils have also been provided with an iPad each.
Clr Parish said: “I’m not sure that was essential, but with that sort of taxpayers’ money involved, you can see why it attracted parents.
“With the plan to spend £10m on a new school building, this school is at the expense of other children in the town.”
But Sir Hall has fought back following the allegations and claims that Clr Parish has ‘misinterpreted’ the figures.
Sir Ian said: “The £255,000 referred to was the funding provided in our pre-opening stage to pay for the furniture and fixtures of Bruche Infant School which is our present temporary home.”
The funding was also used to pay for the legal expenses to finalise the funding agreement, the project management costs, advertisements for staff as well as salaries.
Any spending by the school has since been audited.
Sir Ian continued: “The DofE table also shows that the academy will receive £1,159,205 as a total post-opening grant payable in instalments over seven years until it has reached full capacity.
“This grant is allocated by formula and available to all new start-up academies to help with running costs until the academy is at full capacity.”
Defending his decision to provide iPads for all pupils, he said the school is simply keeping up with the twenty-first century.
Sir Ian said: “Any pupil starting a new school would usually need ten text books. We use free digital text books. The savings on these text books covers the costs of the iPads.”
Since the school opened last year, no councillors from Warrington have visited the academy.
Sir Ian was unsure why councillors had decided to not visit the school claiming ‘King’s has always operated an open door policy’.
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