THREE Hartlepool schools are to be rebuilt or completely refurbished as part of a £19m investment in education.
Staff at Manor College of Technology, Barnard Grove Primary School and Holy Trinity C of E Primary School were all celebrating today after learning that they are set to benefit from the Government’s multi-million pound Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).
Headteachers and town leaders have expressed their delight at the news which could see the first school re-built as early as 2015.
The funding announcement is a huge boost for Hartlepool after the Government shelved the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) and Primary Capital Programme (PCP) back in 2010 as part of its nationwide spending cuts.
Several Hartlepool schools, including Manor, Barnard Grove and Holy Trinity, were set to benefit from that windfall until the funding was pulled.
Manor College of Technology and the two primary schools are expected to receive around £19m between them in Government grant.
Education chiefs say over the coming weeks and months the three schools will be working closely with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) – the body appointed by the Government to oversee the initiative – and Hartlepool Borough Council to progress their individual schemes.
Labour councillor Chris Simmons, who is chairman of the council’s children’s services committee, said: “I am delighted that three of the town’s schools are to receive funding for a re-building programme.
“I know how disappointed schools were when the Government scrapped the BSF and PCP programme in 2010 but at least we are starting to see some funding which we welcome.
“Children are our future and it’s so important that they are given the very best facilities in which to learn to ensure they reach their full potential.”
Earlier this year, it was feared that the levels of bureaucracy involved in the PSBP scheme meant building work would not be finished until 2018 and it was initially going to be funded through private finance initiative (PFI) arrangements - something which councillors had raised concerns about.
But council chiefs have confirmed it is going to be Government grant instead and the first school could be re-built as early as 2015.
In 2010, the Coalition government scrapped Labour’s (BSF) programme which would have seen £100m invested in town secondary schools.
The £12.4m remodel of Dyke House Sports and Technology College, in Mapleton Road, was the only one to escape the axe.
Meanwhile, the new £7m Jesmond Road Primary School and £1.4m remodel of Rossmere Primary School, in Rossmere Way, were the only primary schools to benefit from the PCP scheme before that too was axed.
But now three more schools are to be rebuilt or completely refurbished thanks to the £19m investment.
DELIGHTED headteachers say new and refurbished school buildings will help further boost the education that their children receive.
Anne Malcolm, headteacher at Manor College of Technology, in Owton Manor Lane, said: “Manor College is delighted to be part of the PSPB.
“A new building will mean a great deal to both our school and to our wider community.
“We are excited by the opportunities which this will bring for our pupils who deserve to go to school in a vibrant 21st century building.
“Over the next few months, we will work closely with Hartlepool Council and the EFA to make sure that this process fully meets the needs of all of our pupils.
“This is a unique opportunity and we know that it will make a positive difference to Manor College.”
Parts of Holy Trinity C of E Primary School are more than 150 years old and staff say the building is in a constant need of repair.
Amanda Baines, headteacher at Seaton Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, in Crawford Street, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been included in this building programme although we have not yet received confirmation as to whether our funding will support a rebuild or refurbishment.
“Our school community has fought long and hard over many years to be recognised as a priority for a rebuild, as parts of our school are over 150 years old and are in constant need of repair.
“We will be working closely with the EFA so that they understand our distinct Christian ethos and curriculum needs throughout the design phase of the project.
“This will ensure our school is fit for purpose and provides an environment which will further enhance the learning experiences of all our pupils.
“We are looking forward to entering a new, exciting, educational phase of Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, in a new or refurbished school building.”
Lee Walker, headteacher of Barnard Grove Primary School, in Barnard Grove, said: “Everyone at Barnard Grove is delighted that our school has been chosen to be part of the PSBP.
“We are looking forward to working alongside Hartlepool Council and the EFA, in the coming months, to provide our school community with a building that will support an ever-changing educational landscape.
“Our hope is to use this exciting opportunity to create a learning environment, which reflects the high aspirations we have for all of our children.”
Mr Walker added: “The staff at Barnard Grove work tirelessly, despite the conditions of our current buildings, to inspire our children to learn in a collaborative and creative way.
“This can only be enhanced with a newly re-built or refurbished school.”