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'Melting point': £2bn Priority Schools programme faces further delays

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The already long-overdue Priority Schools programme has been hit with more delays, it emerged this week

Back in October last year (2011), a raft of the most rundown schools were invited to bid for Government funding, with the promise of receiving the results in December 2011. Seven months on and the school bidders have still not heard anything. 

However the director for Education Funding Agency, Mike Green, announced yesterday (9 May) that schools which have bid for funding will now require an official Government condition survey before they can take a slice of the £2 billion funding.

Architects fear that another delay to the Priority Schools programme could hit practices who are waiting for the funding to be released. Meanwhile one head teacher from Middlesbrough said the situation was reaching ‘a melting point’ (see comments below)

Schools minister Nick Gibb explained that ‘more have applied than there is available capital’.

The Priority Schools programme follows the dismissed Labour £55 billion Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme in July 2010, where 715 BSF schemes were scrapped.The delays to the delivery of the programme may result in the full list of schools not being revealed before September.

Comments from head teachers on Victoria Derbyshire, Radio 5 Live [09.05.2012: 10am]

Debbie Clinton, head teacher at Nunthorpe Secondary School in Middlesbrough: ‘The situation is exacerbated further as schools [which] already receive funding direct from the Local Authorities [have had] that sum of money was reduced. This has been replicated across the country, from £150,000 to £28,000 overnight. The situation is reaching a very difficult melting point.’

Angela Green of Richard Lee Primary School, Coventry: ‘The conditions at Richard Lee are appalling. [Children use their umbrellas indoors] depending on the weather and the conditions. There are areas in classrooms where the roofs are so bad that it all needs replacing but with limited funding we can’t do it.’

John Hemmingway of Willowfield Humanities College, Walthamstow: ‘We have got a mixture of building stock, some of which is in a very poor state. My office is in a 60s block and in the recent wet weather I’ve had all the buckets out. We had a ceiling collapse in the boys toilet, and what compounds the difficulties then is due to the age of the building, there’s a lot of asbestos content in it, so it makes repairs and maintenance doubly difficult.’





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