Since the new school was built, four years ago, we have run two successful building projects – the MUGA and the playground/pirate ship. To do these, we saved up our cash, and made sure that we got best value when we came to place the orders. And we’ve had a third project ticking over for a while – the refit if the old Nursery building, and have been putting cash aside to pay for this. We asked Capita, who handle building works for the City Council, to look at it for us last year, but they were expensive and didn’t have much to offer, so the project was put aside while we thought further.

In June this year, the City Council wrote to us to say that they could see we had a lot of spare cash, and that if we had no good plans for it, they’d like some of it back please (the Council does this thing routinely if school’s have surpluses.). We replied, making it quite clear that we had very definite plans for our hard-won surplus. That should have been that, but they wrote again in October to say that they intended to take £150,000 out of our budget – every penny we’ve saved for the Nursery refit! By this time we had discovered Portsmouth City Council’s architect’s department and asked them to have a look at the refit. They came up with more interesting proposals and at more realistic costs than Capita, and we intend to make final design decisions on that early next year with a view to having the work done before September 2018.

In the meantime, we are fighting off the City Council. Here’s the letter that we wrote:

Banister Primary surplus budget response

And here are the plans and costings that we have had so far.