£1.5m cash boost for education in Hartlepool

Chris Simmons
Chris Simmons

PRIMARY and secondary schools in Hartlepool in need of much-needed repair and maintenance are set to receive a boost.

Hartlepool Borough Council has confirmed that cash set aside for urgent improvements at Barnard Grove Primary School and Manor College of Technology will no longer be needed because those two schools are set to be re-built as part of a £19m investment in town schools.

Therefore officers say the cash for heating and structural improvements can be put back into the general pot for other primary and secondary schools to benefit.

It means there is now a total of £1.5m currently un-allocated for projects and schemes to repair schools.

In June it was announced that Manor College of Technology, Barnard Grove Primary School and Holy Trinity C of E Primary School will benefit from the Government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), which could see the first school re-built as early as 2015.

The funding boost to the general schools capital budget was discussed at a meeting of the council’s children’s services committee, chaired by Labour councillor Chris Simmons.

Further work is now being done to see how best to use the capital funding.

A council report said: “The announcement by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) relating to the earlier timeframe and advancement of the Priority Schools Building Programme has resulted in a number of the proposed works at Barnard Grove and Manor College of Technology being cancelled as they would no longer be required.

“Funding originally allocated for these schemes will be transferred back into the schools general - unallocated budget and schools devolved capital as appropriate.”

Gill Alexander, the council’s director of child and adult services, said: “This is good news and there is now some flexibility for the committee to consider investment in the learning environment.”

Coun Simmons added: “We will get a further report on how this capital money is proposed to be allocated and to see how it is going to be used.”

The PSBP funding announcement was a huge boost for Hartlepool after the Government shelved the Building Schools for the Future and Primary Capital Programme back in 2010 as part of its nationwide spending cuts.