Schools hoping to win government cash for rebuilds

SPRUCE UP OUR SCHOOL! -- that's the cry from these four youngsters at Annie Holgate Infant School, (from left) Lexi Krater, Shannell Donaldson, Joshua Riley and James Richards -- DISPIC NHUD11-2655-2
SPRUCE UP OUR SCHOOL! -- that's the cry from these four youngsters at Annie Holgate Infant School, (from left) Lexi Krater, Shannell Donaldson, Joshua Riley and James Richards -- DISPIC NHUD11-2655-2

THREE Hucknall schools are celebrating after they were included in a countywide bid for cash from the government’s new £2 billion rebuild and repair programme.

Schools qualify for the funding if the cost of their outstanding repairs amounts to 30% of what it would cost to rebuild the buildings from scratch.

Holgate Comprehensive School, Annie Holgate Junior School and Annie Holgate Infant School will be considered, along with 52 other schools when the Notts County Council submission goes before the Department for Education.

Annie Holgate Junior is in the top three in the county when needing repairs. The cost of its outstanding repairs amounts to more than 67% of what it would cost to rebuild the school. Holgate Comprehensive’s figure is 34% and Annie Holgate Infant’s is 41%

Rose Jones, head teacher at Annie Holgate Junior, said she would be delighted if picked out for improvements.

She added: “As much as we love our building, it needs a lot of work.

“It makes financial sense to do a rebuild. But we did not think the money would be there, so we are thrilled to bits that it may be a possibility.”

Mrs Jones said the change to a more modern environment would improve the children’s education.

Wayne Barsby, head teacher at Holgate Comprehensive, said he hoped the school would receive some funding for repairs. “Like a few of the local schools we have parts of our buildings which are not in the best state of repair,” he said.

“We are now dependent on additional money to make good the windows, insulation and a range of things. But we know we cannot set our hearts on this money because lots of councils will be putting their bids in.

“Depending on the amount, we would rid the school of deadly substances like asbestos, install double-glazing and repair damage to the walls.”

Mr Barsby said the repairs would improve the environment for youngsters at the school and make their classroom-experience more comfortable.

Russell Tew, head teacher at Annie Holgate Infant School, said staff were excited and had their fingers crossed the decision would go in their favour.

He said: “It would mean an improved environment for the children with all the latest advances.

“But the school is not in a bad condition. Most of it is carpeted and two years ago, we spent £40,000 on the outside area.

“When the Ofsted inspectors came in 2010, they said the facilities went some way towards helping us get a good rating.

“The school is 60 years old, though, and if we have an opportunity to have a new one, that is fantastic.”

The county council should find out by the end of the year which schools have been successful.

The rebuilding of the first batch of schools is likely to start as early as the latter part of next year.

Council leader, Coun Kay Cutts (Con), said: “We see this as a tremendous opportunity to continue our investment in our children’s futures and our schools.

“While what goes on inside school buildings is the most important factor in education, we know many of our buildings are in need of significant investment.”

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