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Cornish Invokes Leisure Centre Ban

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 8:00am 21st April 2013

Pupils at Wadebridge School have been banned from their local leisure centre.

More than 1000 are not allowed to use the sports' facilities next door during school hours.

It comes after the head teacher was told she would have to pay £41,000 a year to use it because they had become an academy.

In a statement Tina Yardley said: "The school finds itself in the sad and difficult position of having to suspend use of its own sports hall because it cannot afford to pay the £41,000 per year being demanded from Carrick Leisure and Cornwall Council.  

"This has not only impacted on the delivery of the national curriculum, extra-curricular activities, use of the centre by all our partner primaries for sports festivals and transition activities but the school also has grave concerns about the future viability of the centre for the wider community should this issue not be resolved.

"The school has been trying to resolve this situation since March 2012 when it was first informed that the Council would no longer be supporting the Leisure Service's budget and that the school would have to contribute what appears to be an arbitrary sum.  If Cornwall Council has paid for school use in the past from education funding then this would be reflected in the school's budget allocation from central government (LACSEG).  The Council have stated that this is not the case as it was met from the Revenue Support Grant (non-education funding) and there is no money in the school LACSEG to meet this cost.

"The school is willing to contribute towards the running costs of the sports hall to reflect our use of these facilities but the level of contribution has to be based on a realistic and fair figure that is affordable and at this present moment in time the Council has not been able to provide this.    

"The school remains willing to find a successful solution for the benefit of the community and is waiting to hear from the Council regarding this issue.  However, the school cannot commit itself to an unknown and on-going liability that would put significant pressure on the school budget that could lead to teacher redundancies and larger class sizes."

In a statement Cornwall Council said: "Naturally we are disappointed with the head teacher's statement given that we are still in negotiation with the school to find a solution. There has always been a charge associated with the school's use of the leisure centre - this was paid for by Cornwall Council. However, when the school transferred to academy status, it became responsible for its budgets, including the costs associated with using the leisure centre. All schools planning to transfer to academy status were made aware of the impact the transfer would have on their budget responsibilities."

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