Lib Dem criticises classroom condition as holidays finish

AS CHILDREN across Eastbourne prepare to return to school this week a politician has criticised the number of temporary classrooms children will be taught in.

Liberal Democrat councillor John Ungar, who represents Old Town on Eastbourne Borough Council, said East Sussex County Council had agreed to install at least 12 temporary classrooms and blamed the authority for a lack of forward planning.

Councillor Ungar said this year mobile and temporary classrooms had been granted planning permission at Stafford, St Andrew’s Infant, West Rise junior and infant, The Haven, Motcombe, Highfield and Bourne schools. At Cavendish School a double garage is to be converted into classrooms.

He said he has written to the county council asking when the temporary classsrooms will be replaced with proper buildings.

“Education is one of the most important services that can be provided to our young people to ensure that they have a successful and prosperous future that enriches our community and society as a whole,” said Cllr Ungar. “I believe that by not providing proper educational facilities, the county council is failing in its responsibility to properly educate our town’s children. It is time the county council got its act together in managing its budgets and invests in the future of our town, and most importantly the young people who live in it.”

The politician said he believed there were numerous reasons the county council had resorted to emergency measures including poor forward and financial planning for the needs of schoolchildren to ensure there are sufficient funds to build proper classrooms that are fit for the town’s young people.

But the county councillor in charge of children’s education said the importance of children’s education is something the council takes extremely seriously.

“Councillor Ungar appears to be playing political football with our children,” said Cllr Elkin. “We use every bit of information available to us whether it is live birth rates or new housing plans supplied by the borough council to plan long term school placements. However this is not and cannot be an exact science due to many things out of the council’s control.”

Cllr Elkin also said, “Mobile accommodation has significantly improved over the last few years providing a good quality solution which is fully accessible.

“All mobiles are fully insulated and heated as modern serviced classrooms. This year has seen a blip across the whole country in school admissions; we are currently working on value for solutions for the long term.”