We have received fantastic news in Medway today from the Coalition Government. All three of our Academies in Medway, including the Strood Academy which has already been up and running for a year albeit in old or temporary buildings on two sites, have got the go ahead to build brand new school buildings.
I am enormously grateful to Michael Gove, whom I am proud to count as a personal friend as well as someone I believe will prove to be an outstanding Secretary of State for Education, for keeping faith with us in Medway over these schools.
In these very tight economic times the Coalition Government has prioritised crucial schools funding for us in Medway and, because of the tough but necessary decisions being taken on the public finances generally, we now have funding which is not just an unfunded aspiration, but is secure and sustainable.
I did not feel able to say too much publicly before we had an official announcement. However, as constituents might imagine, following the initial announcement that funding for our three Academies was “under discussion”, all three Medway MPs embarked on intensive lobbying.
I was fortunate to be able to arrange a meeting with Michael the evening after the initial announcement. I followed up with this letter once I had spoken with Les Wicks and met with Rose Collinson to agree a strategy where I focussed my efforts on the Strood Academy in my constituency. This complemented the work of Medway officers and Tracey Crouch and Rehman Chisthi in respect of the two schools in their constituencies.
Throughout the process I have believed that we had an outstandingly strong case in respect of the Strood Academy. I am delighted that this has now been formally recognised, but also that the Coalition Government has been able to give the support it has to the Bishop of Rochester and Brompton Academies, which were a year behind us in Strood.
I am really pleased for all the children who will benefit as well as for their parents and teachers. I would also like to say thank you to the council officers who have worked so hard on this. Great news!