Schools hit £100m improvement jackpot

CELEBRATION TIME -- children at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Primary in Hucknall
CELEBRATION TIME -- children at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Primary in Hucknall

SCHOOLS in Hucknall are celebrating after landing a multi-million pound jackpot towards improvements.

Head teachers, governers, parents and children say they are delighted with a Notts County Council decision to allocate £100 million to spend on run-down buildings and to create extra space for an expected increase in pupils.

Three schools in Hucknall, plus Hawthorne Primary and Nursery School in Bestwood Village, have been included in the first cash-injection of £15 million for 2022/12. This is because they are regarded as being in the most urgent need of repairs.

The Hucknall schools pinpointed are Annie Holgate Junior, Holy Cross Primary and Nursery and Annie Holgate Infant and Nursery and Children’s Centre.

Three other Dispatch district schools — Holgate Comprehensive and National Primary in Hucknall and Annesley Primary and Nursery — are earmarked for possible refurbishment in the second wave of cash in 2012/13.

And four more — Beardall Street Primary and Nursery and Leen Mills Primary in Hucknall and Newstead Primary and Nursery and Linby-cum-Papplewick Primary — will be considered for a share of the money in 2013/14.

Rose Jones, head teacher at Annie Holgate Junior School, said she was “very, very pleased” because the money would help with much-needed renovation.

She added: “We opened in 1957 and have quite a few improvements which need to be made. Last winter, we had problems with our heating and boiler. These issues should not force us to close the school and hopefully, this money will create a much more comfortable and positive learning environment for our children after the work is completed.”

Pat Snowdon, head teacher at Holy Cross Primary, said the school was lucky to be included in the first round.

“I am very happy that we are in line for some money to improve the school,” she said. “We are in need of the building money because our offices are cramped and there is only a limited amount of money in any school. It will mean the kids have an even better, more exciting and stimulating environment to learn in.”

Mrs Snowdon said the school needed electrical work, internal redecoration and a revamp of its tiny offices.

Hucknall’s Conservative MP Mark Spencer said it was a substantial amount of money and credit should be given to the Tory-controlled council for making it available.

He added: “I hope it will bring the schools up to a standard that is fit for modern education and will empower the pupils to invest in their own futures and get on in good careers and jobs.

“I think Holgate (Hucknall’s largest school) could do with some money spending but we can work with what we have got there and improve and make it better. One of the main problems with the former Building Schools For The Future programme was that you had to knock schools down and build them again. But these schools just need a helping hand and some improvements.”

Notts County Council decided to put schools most in need of improvements first in the queue by taking into account the condition of roofs, external walls and windows, electrics and boilers.

More in-depth surveys of the first-round schools will take place in June before work on a small number of schools begins later in the summer. The county council will be funding about £30 million of the £100 million programme, with the remaining cash coming from government grants for school maintenance.

Coun Reg Adair (Con), the county council’s Cabinet member for finance and property, said: “I am delighted that these schools will reap the benefits of this funding. They are in need of urgent attention due to their poor condition and many may not have enough classroom space for the extra number of anticipated pupils in the near future.”

Coun Philip Owen (Con), the county council’s Cabinet member for children and young people, said: “This is the first phase of an ambitious programme which is the largest-ever investment the council has made to improve the condition of local schools.

“We are committed to making sure Nottinghamshire children have a good start in life with the educational opportunities they deserve.”