MP Bill Esterson took the campaign for new school buildings direct to Westminster after promising pupils at Lydiate Primary school he would fight to get them “safe, warm and dry” classrooms.
During Questions to the Leader Of The House of Commons in Parliament last week (Thursday), the MP said: “Lydiate Primary School in my constituency is in desperate need of a new building. Governors are doing all they can to make do and mend. It is simply not economically viable to continue. Education spending in this country has fallen since 2010 not increased. So can we have a statement on the importance of new school buildings across the country and can he ask his colleague the Secretary of State for a meeting with me about the urgent need for new buildings at Lydiate Primary School.”
The MP for Sefton Central visited the school, which was closed due to health and safety concerns on November 22, as it welcomed pupils back for the start of the Spring term (Monday January 6), telling students and staff that he was shocked to hear they had been wearing coats in the classroom in order to stay warm.
The children spent the last few weeks of the Autumn term in a temporary home at Maghull High School after governors made the decision to close the school when contractors advised that the buildings were unsafe.
It is understood that £400,000 will be spent on repairs in the coming months but this will just be a “sticking plaster”, says the MP.
Mr Esterson said: “The school desperately needs funding for a newbuild and the children deserve it. They are wearing coats in the classroom to keep warm. This is completely unacceptable.
“I am told there are leaks in the roof and damp. When the children were moved out to Maghull High School temporarily they were amazed at not having to wear their outdoor coats. This is not the sort of environment that fully supports learning and reaching their full potential. Spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on a range of sticking plaster repairs will be money down the drain.
“It is simply not acceptable that the children and staff have to put up with leaks, with concrete falling off the walls and plaster falling off the ceiling. The wiring needs to be replaced. Energy bills are absurdly high because of the poor insulation. But all the repairs in the world are only delaying the inevitable. It needs a new build. Make do and mend is a false economy.
“The damp throughout the school is a danger to the health of pupils and staff. It is not a safe working environment.
“Continuing to make repairs is not the answer in the long run as it will not fix the issues permanently and will simply require more and more money to be ploughed in.
“I have written to the Education Secretary, and spoken in the House of Commons, asking that he meets with me to discuss the need for a rebuild of Lydiate Primary School to secure its future.”
The MP met with pupils and answered a range of questions about Parliament and his work in the consituency.
Headteacher Georgina Forshaw said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Mr Esterson in to our school. The children had the opportunity to ask an MP some great questions from Brexit to football. Mr Esterson has been saddened to hear we had to temporarily move out of our school due to concerns with our school building and is keen to raise the issue of school funding in parliament.”
Chair of Governors Claire Moore added: “It’s incredibly reassuring to know we have the support of our local MP in lobbying central government for the funding we need to ensure that the school building in which we teach our wonderful children is fit for educational purposes in the 21st century.”
PIC: MP Bill Esterson with staff and pupils from Lydiate Primary School