Sadly the lead councillor said ‘no’ or rather he waffled very politely about what a wonderful thing the Whitley Excellence Cluster was and then refused to do anything. I had to ask a supplementary question to his answer to make sure that I was clear that this is what he was actually saying.
He could have offered transitional support, phasing the funding out more slowly, help with seeking other external government/lottery/charitable grants, professional help with approaching businesses, or seconding staff from behind desks at the civic centre
Instead he mentioned the pupil premium, even his own figures this will not make up for the lost funding for South Reading’s schools, so unfortunately although they are looking at ways of funding some work, they are under financial pressure as well.
The campaign could score political points here about how the pupil premium is therefore not really new money, and actually the schools in the poorest part of Reading are getting their funding cut but that won’t be a great deal of help to South Reading’s young people. Carla Allamby, the mum who presented the petition has set up a facebook group and we’re going to keep campaigning and looking for support.
On another note I know it is the fashion to run Whitley down amongst certain people – for example on the pages of getReading, but this petition shows that people in Whitley really care about their children’s education – and Carla, did a great job presenting it on Monday. I’m sure Jordan and Alysha are really proud of their mum!