From Bristol Liberal Democrats
BRISTOL City Council’s Lib Dem leaders have expressed disappointment that some secondary pupils at Oasis School Westbury will not after all be given places at the new Bristol Free School.
Council leader Barbara Janke and fellow cabinet member Clare Campion-Smith (Children and Young People) issued the following
“Why have they left it until now? The Free School Trust previously told us they would accept these pupils.
“Their story last month was that they needed decisions about the St Ursula’s site made quickly so that they could look after these children. Now they are telling a completely different story.
“How can we deal with people who constantly change their story in this way? Where will it end?”
The Russell Education Trust, which with the action group Parents’
Voice forms the free school trust, is reported to have been talking to the Oasis parents to try to help their children by investigating the possibility of setting up a separate independent school.
A report on the BBC website even says that the trust is working with Bristol City Council on this – which is entirely untrue – and that the St Ursula’s site is being looked at for this purpose – which is news to the owners, Bristol City Council.
The councillors’ statement continues: “It has been made to look as though we are involved and this would somehow be an acceptable solution.
This is a travesty of our position.
“As the Free School Trust well knows and as has been well-documented before and after last month’s emergency cabinet meeting on this subject, we intend to open a primary school at the former St Ursula’s site this September.
“For any larger development than the current school buildings there, there will have to be planning permission.
“Until that planning permission is given, any arrangement the trust may choose to make for a separate private school for the Oasis children they cannot place in their own school will have to use the Defra site in Brentry – not the St Ursula’s site.
“Meanwhile, it is important to remember that council bought this site last year because of the growing demand across Bristol – but particularly in the north of the city – for primary school places.
“It is, therefore, possible that at some future date the council will require space for a larger primary than the two-form-entry school currently planned.”