I was absolutely delighted to attend the opening of the brand new George Carey School on a beautiful sunny afternoon last month. It’s the first brand new primary school to be built in the borough in years.
The School will be at the centre of the new Barking Riverside community where after years of false dawns work has finally started on building new homes – including the many larger family homes we need in the borough.
The new school couldn’t come soon enough. I wish Chris Harrison the Headteacher at George Carey and his team the very best in the work they are doing for the new intake who started last September and for the future.
Demand for school places has shot up in recent years. There are more families and more houses being built for them. We are facing a real challenge in the coming years unless we take action now.
Last November we received the news that the Government was awarding Barking & Dagenham an extra £29.7m on top of the education budget it already receives. It was the third highest award in the country.
It was fantastic news and showed that the campaign I waged to help get the money was worthwhile. It followed meetings I organised with the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove and his team in the Department for Education.
I’ve been working with the Council to get this extra money for a long time. It goes to show that if you run a good campaign and get your case across, you can make the Government sit up and listen. The money will help make sure local children are given a good education in decent classrooms.
We’ve kept up the pressure over the previous year. But there’s more to do. We desperately need a new Secondary School by 2014-15.
I’m backing the campaign supported by parents, teachers and the Post calling on the Government to find the extra £25m needed to fund the new free school. The children of the borough deserve the best possible education. It’s their future we are fighting for.