Cuts crisis as classrooms crumble

Graeme Dow, Headteacher, Anchorsholme Primary School

Graeme Dow, Headteacher, Anchorsholme Primary School

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HEADTEACHERS say children are facing an educational nightmare being taught in crumbling and dilapidated schools.

Bosses have had repair budgets slashed by 80 per cent meaning some resort secondary’s are left with just £15,000 for improvements next year – compared with up to £100,000 in 2009.

The budget for Blackpool has been decimated by £2m cutbacks and headteacher Graeme Dow, from Anchorsholme Primary School, says pupils are being let down.

Blackpool Council has been handed £1,712,000 Government cash to provide essential repairs to things like broken boilers and faulty roofs.

But with 38 schools across the borough to service cash will be scarce.

And David Lund director of children’s services at Blackpool Council, has asked for a meeting with Department for Education officials to express his concerns.

He told The Gazette: “The money we have been allocated is going to be nowhere near what we need to restore a number of our school buildings.”

In a further blow, confirmation is expected next month of the collapse of the Government’s Primary Capital grant scheme.

From that pot £1.1bn was due to be spent rebuilding primary schools nationally this year, but its anticipated collapse has dashed the last hopes of Blackpool headteachers holding out for regeneration.

Mr Dow said: “Our school has been promised a significant rebuild for the last 10 years.

“Although only 40 years old, it was poorly designed and we’ve had problems with severe flooding, plumbing and drainage.

“Our rebuild looks like it won’t happen now, it is utterly disheartening for staff and children.

“More worryingly, because plans were all prepared, we’ve been patching problems rather than repairing them because we didn’t want to waste money.

“We’re now stuck with a roof like a sieve, single pane aluminium windows, failed drainage and pipes which freeze in winter.

“Blackpool children deserve better than to be taught in these conditions.”

FOR MORE ON THIS STORY SEE TUESDAY’S GAZETTE.