Angry councillors say Government cuts have led to the closure of a pioneering education facility in Hartlepool.
Members of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Children’s Services Committee say the decision of the Hartlepool Schools Forum to cease funding Space 2 Learn (S2L) after August 31 next year shows the extent to which cuts are now affecting education in the town.
S2L, which is in King Oswy Drive, opened in 2010 to enable schools across the town to test innovative new approaches to teaching and learning.
Councillor Alan Clark, chairman of the Children’s Services Committee, said: “Austerity policies have been affecting the education sector for quite a long time, but this shows how front-line services are now bearing the brunt of cuts. This shows how difficult it is becoming for headteachers in Hartlepool to set a balanced budget, a situation that is unsustainable in both the short and long term.”
Vice-chair, Councillor Brenda Harrison added: “It is frightening and disgraceful that cuts like this are being made. I know the Schools Forum will not have taken the decision to cease funding lightly and for it to be put in such a position is horrendous.”
All costs associated with managing and staffing the S2L building are funded by the Hartlepool Schools Forum, a body representing the interests of schools across the town.
Following a decrease in the number of schools using the facility, the S2L management committee has tried to come up with a sustainable business model in partnership with schools that would safeguard the future of the building. However, this has not proved possible and the facility will close on August 31, 2018.
Following closure, the Schools Forum has decided that some of the equipment within S2L should be transferred to a new Centre for Excellence in Creative Arts (CECA) which is currently being developed on the site of St Hild’s Church of England School.
This will mean that schools can still access some of the technology currently within S2L.