Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) announced on 20 June that the new school site at Ruskin Drive will not be ready to open at the start of September 2018 as planned.
The developer has let down both CBC and Fairfield Park Lower School and has not been able to supply CBC with an acceptable delivery programme, despite six months of intense negotiation to try to get the construction back on track. This means that, while the Ruskin Drive site building itself is largely complete, the associated services and road are not, so it is not possible to occupy the school.
Headteacher Jenny Stone reported “The governors and I are very disappointed that we are in this difficult position as we have worked hard over the past year to plan, design, resource and recruit for this expansion. The leadership team including governors have challenged different stakeholders along the way. However, unfortunately, it is now out of the school’s hands and the responsibility lies with the developer for not providing the services to the school. The school has always acted in good faith on all matters and updated progress regularly in the school newsletter; we have been excited to share the excellent provision we have sourced on this second site.”
In the short term, the Ruskin Drive pupils (three classes from Reception to Year 2) will be on the existing Dickens Boulevard site and continue their educational journey there. Temporary modifications will be made to the drama studio to house the additional class, as well as the after school club ‘Dawn until Dusk’, in readiness for a move to the new site. This arrangement will ensure minimal disruption to the existing pupils on the Dickens Boulevard site. It is anticipated that the new site will open after the October 2018 half term.