Local News
South Norfolk
  MP calls for rethink as doubts
grow over schools PFI

  Schools across Norfolk face further delays and uncertainty as the County Council contemplates pulling the plug on the PFI deal
Richard Bacon MP has called on
the government to consider
alternatives to PFI

SOUTH Norfolk MP Richard Bacon has called upon the government to consider alternatives to private funding in Norfolk's schools, after Jarvis announced the sale of their PFI operations to French firm, Vinci.

Mr Bacon, who as a member of the Commons public accounts committee has been critical  of  a  number  of   PFI


projects, said: “After all the delays and uncertainty I don't think many people will be mourning the loss of Jarvis from the equation. The important issue now is to find a way of getting schools in Norfolk the new classrooms and equipment they need”.

The 92 million PFI project looks to be in jeopardy after it emerged that the County Council could not reassure schools over the effects of the sell-off and kept open the possibility of withdrawing from the deal.

Mr Bacon said: “While it may be the case that the new company, Vinci, can take on all Jarvis's obligations, there is now also an opportunity to think more widely about the options that may be available. There are plenty of Norfolk schools who have improved their facilities with great success without PFI but using standard procurement methods”.

Local school sets standard

Mr Bacon cited a school in his constituency as a case in point: “I had the pleasure last month of opening the redeveloped Rockland St Mary Primary School in South Norfolk, which is a very good example of what can be achieved without PFI”.

“Such redevelopments need leadership from an able headteacher such as Mr Ken Holbeck who can work with the county and lead a committed team of parents and governors who are prepared to work very hard to achieve the required result. With a strong team who know what they want, it is not always obvious why one needs an outside company”.

Rockland St Mary Primary School - a prime example of what can be achieved without PFI
Richard Bacon MP opens the revamped
Rockland St Mary Primary School as headteacher Ken Holbeck looks on

Mr Bacon added: “I have written to Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, asking him to ensure continuity of funding for Norfolk schools so that no time is lost in developing a range of possible alternatives that can be acted upon quickly”.

Click here for more details on Rockland St Mary Primary School.

See also:
LOCAL NEWS: MP opens new school extension

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