The newly appointed cabinet member for education at Northamptonshire County Council, has described Labour’s position on the proposed Barrack Road School in Northampton as “confused and unhelpful”.
The proposals to build a secondary school at the former Royal Mail sorting offices could accommodate up to 1,800 pupils.
It would also feature a sixth form and would have further scope to develop a primary school at the site.
But speaking at last week’s county cabinet meeting Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Abington and Phippsville) feared the authority would be making a mistake by designating the secondary school element of the plan as a ‘free school’ as she said they are not as ‘accountable’ as their state-run counterparts.
New cabinet member for education, Councillor Matthew Golby (Duston West and St Crispin) has questioned Councillor Stone’s claim this week however.
He said: “All new school builds under the law have academy status including free schools, like university technical colleges, and as such are covered by the same reporting structures and subject to the same rigorous educational standards and performance measures”.
Councillor Golby continued: “Labour councillor Winston Strachen for Castle division is on record welcoming the proposals, Councillor Danielle Stone opposes them and Labour Shadow Education Minister Tristham Hunt announced the concept of ‘parent led’ free schools in March as part of Labour education policy.”
“We need to be working together to bring a first class Secondary School to Semilong and the Mounts.
“It’s sorely needed and would be a massive boost to the area.”