Liberal Liberal Democrats will halt the sale of the Bishop’s College

Jeremy Hilton & Linda Castle discuss future education needs at former Bishop’s College site

The Liberal Democrats have vowed to halt the sale of the a former school in Gloucester should they take control of Gloucestershire County Council at the elections in May.

The Conservative-run county council want to build 90 houses on the former Bishop’s College off Estcourt Close in Longlevens.

But the Lib Dems say the sale should be halted until a full review has been carried out into secondary school provision in the north of Gloucester.

The Lib Dems, who are the second largest party on the county council, are bidding to take control and oust the Conservatives after 12 years of rule at Shire Hall.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, Lib Dem county councillor for Kingsholm & Wotton, said: “There is no comprehensive school in the north of the city.

“Every day 2,000 children leave Gloucester to attend comprehensive schools outside of the city boundary. This is a ridiculous situation.

“With more than 14,000 new homes planned in the Gloucester area and most of these in the north as suggested in the Joint Core Strategy, we must agree a site for a new comprehensive secondary school to serve all these extra families.

“The sale of the Bishops College site must be halted.”

In September last year Gloucester City Council’s planning committee granted outline planning permission for 90 houses on the land, subject to conditions.

The city council website suggests that a decision notice has yet to be issued.

Local resident Linda Castle, who is the Lib Dem county council candidate for Longlevens, said: “There is a dire need for a brand new comprehensive secondary school to serve Longlevens and the north of Gloucester.

“Children attending secondary school in the future should have the same opportunity as I had and be able to go to a local school that’s within walking distance.

“I was saddened when my former secondary school in Paygrove Lane was closed down. I’m angry with the Tories who now want to build on the Bishop College site.

“It would make an ideal location for a new comprehensive school. We must have proper review of secondary school provision.”

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Liberals choose Linda Castle for the Longlevens By-election

Jeremy Hilton & Linda Castle discuss future education needs at former Bishop's College site

Jeremy Hilton & Linda Castle discuss future education needs at former Bishop’s College site

Local resident Linda Castle has been selected by the Liberal Democrats to be its candidate in the Longlevens by-election.

Linda has lived in Longlevens almost her whole life.

The married mother of two, who works as an IT trainer for the NHS, grew up in Longlevens, went to Longlevens infant, junior and secondary schools and raised her family in Longlevens.

The Longlevens by-election will be held on Thursday November 3 following the death of Conservative city councillor Jim Porter in August.

Linda said: “I am so proud to be standing for election to represent Longlevens – the area where I grew up.

“I know the area well and I am determined to speak up for Longlevens residents at the city council.

“I am campaigning for improvements to our roads and pavements in Longlevens, which are in a mess due to inaction by the Conservatives at Shire Hall.

“I am determined to make sure the proposals by the Boundary Commission to put Longlevens back into Gloucester are adopted.

“I am also fighting to ensure that residents in Longlevens do not suffer from the effects of thousands of new homes being built on the outskirts of Gloucester, such as pressure on the local road network, doctors’ surgeries and schools.”

After leaving school Linda worked for the CEGB in finance before joining the NHS.

In recent years Linda has been involved in the community campaign over the expansion of the Oxstalls campus and also wants to see the former Bishop’s College site retained for educational use.

Linda was also treasurer of the Gloucester Dyslexia Association for four years. She is married to Ian, whose father was a Liberal councillor in Tewkesbury.

She was a member of a residents’ campaign group that opposed the expansion of the Oxstalls campus by the University of Gloucestershire. Linda also wants to see the Bishops’ College site retained for educational use.

Councillor Jeremy Hilton, leader of Gloucester Liberal Democrats, said: “Linda will make an excellent councillor for Longlevens on the city council.

“She is a first class candidate and knows Longlevens very well having lived there for many years. She is full of enthusiasm and energy and is the breath of fresh air that Longlevens needs.

“We’ve been speaking to residents and they are pleased that Linda is interested in hearing what they have to say.

“Only Linda can beat the Conservatives in Longlevens and by supporting the Liberal Democrats on November 3, local residents can send a really strong message to the Conservatives in Gloucester that they have had enough of the way they run the city and county councils.

“The Conservatives have run out of steam in Longlevens and Gloucester. Regeneration has stalled and our city is stagnating.”

Disadvantaged Gloucestershire primary school pupils to receive £18.27 million boost

Disadvantaged primary school pupils in Gloucestershire are set to receive £18.27 million to boost attainment, the Liberal Democrats have announced. The pupil premium funding for 2015/16 will help teachers support those children at most risk of falling behind their colleagues. It means primary schools will receive £1,320 for every pupil who has registered for free school meals at any time in the last six years. Evidence shows raising the attainment of pupils by the end of primary schools has a direct impact on future exam results.
Liberal Democrat county group leader, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said:
“Every child should be able to reach their full potential, whatever their background. The pupil premium will get extra money to schools in Gloucestershire, targeted at the children who need it most. The whole class benefits when fewer children are struggling. Teachers in Gloucestershire do a great job, and I can’t wait to see how they use this additional funding to help all our children and young people succeed.”
Liberal Democrat Schools Minister David Laws said:
“In government, Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and a fairer society, with opportunity for everyone. We have already protected school budgets, introduced the pupil premium and expanded early years education for the very youngest children. This additional funding is another boost for schools in Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats are determined that teachers will continue to have the resources they need to give all pupils the best possible start in life, regardless of their background.”
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Introduction of Free School Meals is Good News

Liberal Democrats at Shire Hall are delighted that the Deputy Prime Minister’s free school meals initiative had the support of the council and is on track to be delivered from this September.

The free school meals policy, announced by the Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference last September will give all year 1 and 2 pupils free school meals.

The £450m funding in 2014/15 and £635m in 2015/2016 will be made available to the Department for Education to fund this commitment.

The equivalent of £2.30 for every meal served in Gloucestershire. A government grant of £1.2m is also being used to upgrade kitchen to deal with the 19,000 free school meals that will be served every day.

Commenting, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr. Jeremy Hilton said that:

“The introduction of free school meals for every single infant school pupil is a positive step in the right direction.

“It is great initiative that will bring positive benefits encouraging positive eating habits and helping to improve concentration and performance in the classroom. It will also save families £420 per pupil per year.

“I am disappointed that the Tories abstained in welcoming the free school meals initiative especially considering that nationally cross-party support has now been given for this policy”.

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