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County Hall in £11m fight on Deanes money
8:00am Saturday 1st March 2014 in Echo News
COUNTY Hall might be sitting on cash for the Deanes – but it has already handed out £4million to two schools nearby.
King John School in Shipwrights Drive, Thundersley, and the Appleton School in Croft Road, Benfleet, have been given £2million each.
The money was promised to the two academies last May so they could expand to take on extra pupils, if the Deanes School closed.
However, it would appear the money was handed over to them before Deanes had closed for good.
Sarah Raven, of the Save Deanes Action Group, said: “I have never been so furious. How can County Hall give taxpayers’ money to two academies and then not spend any money on the Deanes?
“We deserve the money and until the Deanes School obtains academy status the council is supposed to support our school.
“We have won the first battle and now we are ready for round two. It has left the school with so much repair work to do to fix up the building. It is absolutely disgusting the way it has operated.”
The decision by the schools adjudicator to keep Deanes open, means King John and Appleton will no longer be required to take an extra 30 pupils a year.
Essex County Council claims it gave the schools the money because if it had waited until the outcome of the Deanes School was decided, neither King John or Appleton would be ready in time to take on extra students.
Ray Gooding, county councillor responsible for education, said: “We have always acted professionally and in the best interests so that education in that area is properly provided. The adjudicator’s report clearly shows the processes we went through were correct.
“People will be saying we did not listen, but I would like to say we still have significant concerns about the future of the school and hope they will make a go of it.
“It is appropriate for us to now review the schools adjudicator’s decision and resume discussions with all schools involved regarding any building works.
“We must now consider the options to ensure the best educational outcomes for all children in the area.”
King John and Appleton schools were unavailable for comment.
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