Cash injection for schools

PUBLISHED: 12:58 29 September 2006 | UPDATED: 22:15 28 May 2010

Cromwell Community College - one of the schools involved - Pic: courtesy of www.cromwellcc.org.uk

Cromwell Community College - one of the schools involved - Pic: courtesy of www.cromwellcc.org.uk

SCHOOLS in March, Chatteris and Whittlesey will be the cats that get the cream of a £95 million education injection agreed this week by the county council. A huge re-development programme will be available to schools from January following approval by th

SCHOOLS in March, Chatteris and Whittlesey will be the cats that get the cream of a £95 million education injection agreed this week by the county council.

A huge re-development programme will be available to schools from January following approval by the county council Cabinet on Tuesday.

This will mean that:

- Neale-Wade Community College, March, will get £29.89 million

- Sir Harry Smith School, Whittlesey, will get £18.05 million

- Cromwell Community College, Chatteris, will get £17.53 million.

Two other Fenland schools, the soon to be re-named Queen's School, Wisbech, will get £23.02 million, and the Meadowgate special school will be £6.26 million better off.

"Fenland is first in the queue for Cambridgeshire, quite simply their needs are higher," said Adrian Loades, director of planning and development for the Office of Children and Young People's Services.

He told the Cambs Times: "There is a need to invest in Fenland schools. There is a hell of a lot of work to be done - but the prospect of that £95 million is very exciting indeed."

His enthusiasm was conveyed to councillors in a six-page report which set out how the funding had come about, and outlining the use of Private Finance Initiative funding in the county's schools programme.

The money will come under the Building Schools for the Future programme, a national programme for the refurbishment or rebuilding of all secondary schools over the next 10-15 years.

"Whilst the programme features significant levels of capital investment in the school infrastructure, it is emphasised that the focus of this activity is improving outcomes for young people," he told councillors.

At the heart of the programme is a new approach to the delivery of capital investment in schools, through a county council and a private sector partnership.

Contracts for refurbishment and building will be on a design, build, finance, operate and maintain basis for a 25-30 year period, he said.

Mr Loades said he expected half the money will be spent on new buildings, while 35 per cent would be spent on refurbishment and re-modelling, and the remainder on minor refurbishment.

He urged caution at this stage, warning councillors that the figures only provided "an indication of the level of resources allocated to the Fenland schools." There was considerable work to be done at local level before cost and funding projections are finalised.

However if the county meets a tight timetable, there is nothing to stop some projects starting as early as next January.

The scale of investments represents "an exciting opportunity to invest in teaching and learning in Fenland" said Mr Loades. "The council has a strong track record of delivering major projects that leaves it well placed to deliver significant benefits through this investment."

And he pledged:" "The £94 million of investment available will transform the schools' estate and improvements in performance can be anticipated."

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