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On 6 October the former principal of Sawtry Community College, James Stewart, will be sentenced in the Crown Court having pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud by abuse of position and an additional charge of misconduct in public office. The former vice principal, Alan Stevens, has also pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position. All these crimes relate to their time at the College.

The long-term sustainability of the school remains at risk because of what we can now publicly say were the crimes of the past. Not only has the school lost significant sums of money as a result of those crimes, but the behaviours and absence of leadership during that prolonged period means that we are still trying to catch up on years of under investment in health and safety and building conditions.
For far too long, our students, staff and community have to suffer shoddy buildings that are not fit for use.

In February 2016 an independent report suggested that over £2.5 million was needed just to bring the buildings back up to a basic operational standard.  In the summer of 2016, CMAT committed its trust-wide “Schools Condition Allowance” fund to address the issues at Sawtry and the imminent threat of closure made by the fire authority after they had been invited to assess the buildings. 

This is not a trivial matter.  A poor quality physical environment has an impact on student attainment, attendance, morale and on staff recruitment and retention.  In February this year we had to close the school due to storm damage.  We have to find a way forward.

The planning permission for the £3.5 million teaching block proposed in the 2014/15 Condition Improvement Fund bid is still in place.  The trust has pledged to contribute over £1 million of this funding; but we need another £2 million from our partners to make this much needed improvement to the buildings a reality.

As a parent/member of the Sawtry community, I feel that we need to put right the crimes and mistakes of past and invest in new school buildings at Sawtry Village Academy. I hope the Academy's funding partners will see this as a clear priority for our community. 

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