Rebuild cash for crumbling schools

The head at Hawes Side Primary School in South Shore Michael Shepherd
The head at Hawes Side Primary School in South Shore Michael Shepherd
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FOUR of Blackpool’s crumbling schools look set to be rebuilt after the Government announced a multi-million pound funding programme.

Collegiate High School, Hawes Side Primary School, Highfurlong School and Palatine Sports College have made it onto a list of 261 schools to receive money nationally.

The funding is from the Government’s new Priority School Building Programme, which replaces Labour’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, controversially cancelled by education secretary Michael Gove.

Although the amount of funding has yet to be revealed, head teachers today spoke of their joy.

Collegiate High School said the surveyor was shocked at the condition of parts of the building when he came to assess it.

Headteacher Cherry Ridgeway said: “We had to submit a condition report. The Department of Education then sent a surveyor – he was shocked.

“We have some very modern facilities but the other half of the building lets us down – the children deserve a 21st century learning space.”

Eddy Jackson, head teacher at Highfurlong Special School said he hopes to revive plans for a £12m new school.

He said: “Everyone is delighted by this announcement. The buildings we are in at the moment are in a terrible state.

“The heating does not work in winter, the toilets are unsuitable and the roof is leaking.

“We are hoping to rebuild the school on the same site and that it will be a fast priority build within a year.”

Michael Shepherd, head teacher at Hawes Side Primary said the school was devastated when original proposals were axed.

He added: “We were so disappointed because parts of this school are desperate for a rebuild, so we are so relieved to have been selected.

“We would want a rebuild, a lick of paint on a crumbling building is no solution.”

Blackpool Council welcomed the news.

Coun Sarah Riding, cabinet member for children’s services and education, said: “All of these schools have desperately needed the money to bring them back up to a good learning environment.

“A good quality standard of school can make a big difference in a child’s learning ability, which in turn can lead to them having greater aspirations and potential, benefiting their local communities as a whole.”

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden said: “It is good news that the Government is finally trying to make some amends for their pretty savage cutbacks.

“There were some schools in the original programme which I will be taking up with the Department for Education to get those looked at as soon as possible.”

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard, said: “I am delighted that the lobbying by myself and many others has paid off.

“Equally I am aware of the other schools that still need work doing and I will keep lobbying on their behalf.”