Parklands High School Speke, Merseyside, has been labelled the most expensive school in history with Liverpool Council and taxpayers shelling out £4m for the closed building
This is the eerie school that is still costing taxpayers an eye-watering £12,000 every single day – even though it closed in 2014.
Parklands High School in Speke, Merseyside, sets the cash-strapped city council back £4m a year, the Liverpool Echo report.
Doors were slammed shut eight years ago but a legally binding contract means officials are tied into paying nearly £100m for the abandoned building.
Home to everything from science labs to an impressive sports centre, Parklands was mothballed just 10 years after it opened because of low pupil numbers.
These ghostly pictures show lifeless classrooms with chairs stacked on tables, a far cry from the chaos of a school day with hundreds of children chatting to their friends.
A long corridor that runs the length of the building devoid of any sign of life, plus a huge dining hall where no-one has eaten for years.
A Liverpool City Council spokesperson told the Mirror on Friday: “We are in advanced discussions aimed at securing the use of the building for educational purposes again.”
Years after its 2014 closure, Labour Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson slammed the Lib Dems who signed the PFI deal when they were in power.
He said: “It must be the most expensive PFI school in history.
“The PFI deal is a millstone round my neck. I have to set aside £4.3m a year that could be spent on providing services.”
The school closed due to low pupil numbers – it had just 172 pupils out of a possible 900 in 2014 and only 32% of children achieved five GCSEs.
Cllr Richard Kemp, leader of Liverpool’s Lib Dem group, said: “The decision to fund Parklands through PFI was supported by every member of the council and it was Labour’s funding mechanism that got us into this mess.”
Liverpool is “now seeing the financial cost” of an increase in pupils with educational health care plans.
John Byrne, strategic finance manager for education and schools at Liverpool Council, said estimates of a potential overspend in school budgets as a result of pupil numbers of those with an EHCP posed a “very grey cloud” over the local authority.
Estimates made by the city’s school forum have indicated that almost 150 additional places could be needed as Liverpool faces an increase in pupils with educational health care plans (EHCP) over the coming years.
It is thought that the cost of specialist placements could lead to an overspend of £9.4m by 2023-24.
Mr Byrne told a meeting of the Liverpool Schools Forum that the council receives around “100 applications a month for EHCPs” and the additional 150 expected would “cost a significant amount” moving forward.
The finance officer said should this follow trajectory, schools would be “overspending by a significant amount by the end of 2023/24” which raised ”considerable concerns.”
Mr Byrne said it would leave schools in a “very difficult position”.
A report to the council’s cabinet earlier this year revealed more than 4,000 children in Liverpool are on an EHCP, representing an increase of 46% since 2019.
Jonathan Jones, director of education, told assembled headteachers this that by comparison nationally, Liverpool has a lower percentage of children with EHCPs.
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