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Lib Dems and Conservatives take aim on Richmond school places
The leader of Richmond Council has hit back at claims it is not doing enough to supply secondary school places to children in the borough.
The comments come after the schools minister decided to defer the opening of Turing House School until 2015 over uncertainty of a permanent site.
Free schools are set up by independent groups and are not the responsibility of the council.
Critics said the council needs to urgently to address the current crisis facing school site planning within the borough and should set up a task force chaired by the chief executive.
Councillor Gareth Roberts, Liberal Democrat spokesman for education, said: “It was established some years ago that there would be a need for a new, community secondary school by 2015 at the latest.
“The fact that this administration was aware of the need for two new school sites with few obvious candidates for their locations suggests that perhaps too much reliance was placed on something turning up.
“I’m afraid that lack of planning has led to a situation which is so desperate that at the Turing House parents’ meeting the Tory administration was forced to admit that it is actively negotiating secondary bulge classes for 2015 as a contingency plan.”
The Lib Dems said they would set up a task group identify sites which would be suitable for school use is they are elected in May.
A new free secondary school is planned on the Richmond College site in Twickenham and should open in 2017.
Lord True, leader of the council, said it identified possible permanent and temporary sites the school could use.
Lord True said: “What this needs is serious people sorting this out now, not a task group in the distant future.
“We have already met with ministers, we have already met with the Turing House people, we have already identified a list of potential sites and given that to the school’s sponsors and the Government.
“The Lib Dems are frankly just playing politics when all people want are practical solutions.”
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