School funding boost

URGENT work totalling more than £700,000 is set to be carried out on two Hartlepool schools.

Manor College of Technology, in Owton Mane Lane, will have £487,131 worth of work carried out to the building structure, electrical and mechanical systems at the site.

Meanwhile, Barnard Grove Primary School, in Barnard Grove, will benefit from £224,900 worth of work, again to the building structure and mechanical systems at the school.

The work is deemed necessary as part of Hartlepool Borough Council’s 2012/13 school’s capital works programme.

Independent councillor Cath Hill, portfolio holder for children’s and community services at the council approved the programme at a recent meeting, subject to the local authority agreeing contributions from schools towards individual schemes.

The work has been recommended for “early completion” so the school buildings remain in a “safe and operational” condition over the next four to five years.

Work at Manor College of Technology includes work to windows, doors, areas of roofing, rewiring, water storage and ventilation fans.

Meanwhile, Barnard Grove will benefit from work to windows and doors, drainage and ventilation.

In a report, Peter McIntosh, the council’s head of planning and development, said: “Thorough additional surveys of Manor College of Technology and Barnard Grove Primary School have now taken place.

“Meetings with the headteachers concerned, building, mechanical and electrical surveyors have taken place in order to determine the level of works absolutely essential in the short term at these schools.”

The report added: “All works proposed will ensure that the two schools will continue to operate in a safe and appropriate environment.

“Failure to undertake any of these works could provide a school setting that contains unacceptable risks.”

As previously reported, both Manor College of Technology and Barnard Grove Primary School, along with Holy Trinity CofE Primary School, are being taken forward into the national Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP).

In July, the council received word from the Education Funding Agency (EFA), formerly Partnerships for Schools, that the PSBP will be delivered by grouping schools together into “batches”.

That process will take into account a series of factors including condition, geography and commercial viability to ensure there will be a healthy competition for the work.

Officials say as far as possible, the needs of the schools in the worst condition will be addressed first.

In Hartlepool’s case, any construction work is not expected to begin before 2016.

Therefore, given the lengthy timescale officers said it was necessary to get approval to carry out a range of urgent works on the two schools.