Owen visited Selattyn on Thursday last week and Moreton Say, Adderley, Whitchurch Infants, Welshampton and Weston Lullingfields on Friday. He was there to speak to the head teachers, governors, staff and parents concerned by the recent controversy over school closures. Owen was delighted to reassure them that, following his meeting with the Minister of State for Schools, Jim Knight MP, the school closure programme is dead. All the schools on the Council’s list have been listed in a letter from the Minister to every English Authority as having a presumption against closure. Owen explained to the schools that the Minister had agreed that Shropshire MPs and County Council could contribute to the recently announced reassessment of the funding formula which currently leaves Shropshire’s children short changed. He also confirmed that in the short term the Minister had outlined four streams of funding that schools could apply for to alleviate the immediate problem. These funds are:
?£1.3billion is available for extended school hours
?There is already a pilot in Shropshire run by the Training Development Agency, which could provide funds
?There is another pot of £1.6 billion for personalisation (one on one teaching)
?Funds for Early Years.
Owen said “I was delighted to reassure the schools that they are safe from closure. I am confident that the Minister genuinely wants to help and would encourage the schools to look carefully at the funding available and contact my office so that I can coordinate with the Minister’s team. The Minister, MPs and Councillors are united in their view that schools must not close.
The response by local people to this crisis was spectacular. I would encourage all the action groups that have been set up to carry on working with the local communities so that our primary schools can continue to grow and improve for future generations.”