RIGHT SORT OF MOOD MUSIC,EVEN IF THE AUTHORITY HASN'T AGREED TO DANCE!
Councillor Chris Irvine
Councillor Phil Bateman today said " The idea that an Auditorium should be built on the Coppice HighSchool site to allow the school to expand and develop its performing art base has been greeted with some degree of enthusiasm by the community here in Wednesfield North."
I noted that there was a letter of support for the proposed idea in the Express and Star the regions biggest newspaper.
Also the school gave the proposal warm support when it was first unveiled. But I am pleased to publish correspondence that I have received from Councillor Christine Irvine the Lead Member for Children and Young People on the City Council.
She writes "Further to our discussion yesterday I can confirm that Building Schools for the Future (BSF) is now the major source of capital funding for secondary school capital projects.
All Wolverhampton schools with secondary aged funding will be involved in one of 2 phases. We have been placed in wave 5 for phase 1 of this work and allocated £150 million for this through a variety of financing mechanisms - this will still leave a funding gap which we will seek to plug using capital receipts etc.
We are currently engaging schools in their visions so that a phase 1 can be agreed this year and work on procurement begin. Because of their condition and prior commitments we are pledged to rebuild Highfields and Heath Park within phase 1 and are still looking at a possible Academy in Bilston.
Other than this no decisions have been made and we would expect a number of other major projects to be included in the first phase. We are asking all schools to engage in putting forward their ideas and vision so that a decision can be made which has broad support. Schools - especially secondary schools - will be involved in agreeing this vision and SIP will of course be fully consulted.
A new Auditorium for Coppice seems well within the bigger BSF vision e.g. extended community use and developing specialisms. I would very much hope that Coppice will play a full role in agreeing our BSF programme and will put forward ideas such as the Auditorium as part of its vision.
I must end by again stressing that neither I nor anyone at this stage can commit to including Coppice in phase 1 but in any event we are seeking to obtain funding for phase 2 as soon as possible following phase 1 and we would very much welcome Coppice's vision and plans as well as their involvement in the development of secondary education in the City through BSF."
Councillor Bateman added " Whilst this is not a commitment it is certainly a very positive response from the politician in charge.It will if it is to move forward have to have the full support of the school. But as Councillor Irvine states in her correspondence, ' We would very much welcome Coppices Vision and plans for the future'. I am keen that the school and their Governing Body outlines their proposals. I have spoken with the school about other issues and have pledged my support in that direction also. It seems right that my community should plan big for the best facilities that can be attained."
Councillor Dave Jones added " This is certainly the right sort of mood music even if the Authority hasn't yet agreed to dance!
I know that the school and the Governors will be keen to read the contents of the correspondence and take on board the detail. An Auditorium would not only be good for the pupils, in their pursuit of the performing arts. But with community use a real possibility, such a development would enrich greatly this North Eastern part of the City.
I know Councillor Bateman is keen on holding more detailed talks with the Head Teacher and these are earmarked to take place in a few weeks time. So we do have time to consider how best we support and dovetail the schools aspirations for my community also. I think that we should go with full speed to develop plans that will enhance and improve education here in Wednesfield! "
Councillor Dave Jones is also a member of the Schools Governing Body.
Author: Phil Bateman
Article Date: 18th April 2007