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MP welcomes funding deal for Kirkbie Kendal School

July 19, 2013 10:03 AM

TF KendalSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has thanked local Liberal Democrat councillors who have secured a funding deal for Kirkbie Kendal school. It is hoped that this funding package will end a long running saga with Cumbria County Council.

The School collaborated with Cumbria County Council (CCC) and South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) in the construction of the Leisure Centre in 1979. The School sold the land on which the Centre is built and provided a financial contribution to the building costs. In return an agreement was struck that the School had the use of the Leisure Centre without further charge for 194 school days and 5 evenings per year. The School could have built its own sports hall with the land and funds that it had available.

At the time it was a 'win-win' situation as the town got a leisure centre and the school got a very good indoor sports hall. The teaching of Physical Education and sports provision is graded as 'Outstanding' by Ofsted. Kirkbie Kendal also host the University of Cumbria PE post-graduate trainee programme.

Earlier this year the County Council - under the previous Conservative-Labour coalition - had told the school that it was withdrawing the financial payment which SLDC has used to honour the understanding of the original 1979 agreement. The planned axing of the grant could have potentially seen Kirkbie Kendal pupils lose their sports facility and this would have been strongly refuted by the school leading to a costly legal dispute. However, as part of their manifesto for the May elections the Liberal Democrats said that they would help the school. Yesterday that commitment has been delivered as the Liberal Democrats in the new coalition ensured that the school was offered funding of £115,000 to resolve the situation.

Tim said: "I want to thank Jo Stephenson, Clare Feeney Johnson and the other councillors for putting the funding back. I also want to thank headteacher Phil Hyman, the governors and staff at Kirkbie Kendal for their campaigning. This funding deal will help the school, reassure parents and keep a promise we made during the recent elections. It's good news!"

Jo Stephenson, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Cumbria County Council and Deputy Leader added: "This has been achieved in the teeth of opposition from Cllr. James Airey and his Conservative colleagues, who have sought to block the deal by having the decision called in."