Schools in Heaton, Undercliffe, Keighley and Cottingley to get cash for rebuilding (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Schools in Heaton, Undercliffe, Keighley and Cottingley to get cash for rebuilding
Four crumbling Bradford schools are set to be rebuilt.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said Belle Vue Boys’ School, in Heaton, Carlton Bolling College, in Undercliffe, Oakbank School, in Keighley, and The Samuel Lister Academy, in Cottingley, are among 261 schools included in a £2.4 billion scheme.
The schools will be rebuilt through the private finance initiative (PFI) but the Department for Education (DfE) – not the schools, or local councils – will be responsible for annual repayments.
The priority building programme was set up after ministers controversially scrapped Labour’s £55 billion Building Schools for the Future programme in 2010.
It was flooded with bids and 326 applications across the country did not make the grade. Bradford Council submitted bids for the four secondaries, along with a proposal for two new schools which were not included on the list – suggesting they have not been successful.
Councillor Ralph Berry, the Council’s executive member for children’s services, said: “The announcement is good news for the district. Improving education is a top priority for the Council, and it is important that we have the facilities that support our children.
“I want to congratulate the staff and governors who have worked with us to apply to the programme.”
Councils were asked to nominate the schools in most need of repair, and the Government sent surveyors to assess each bid. The amount to be given to each successful school is still to be decided.
But Mr Gove insisted they would be fully funded to meet their “condition needs”, whether that was refurbishment or rebuilding from scratch.
Mr Gove said: “I know that many schools will be disappointed not to be included in the programme. We have had to take difficult decisions in order to target spending on those schools that are in the worst condition.”
Bradford East MP David Ward said: “I have met Michael Gove and repeatedly set out how our schools needed cash. I put him under pressure when he announced his plans for Free Schools questioning where the money was coming from when it was claimed there was no money, and always used Carlton Bolling as an example of a school doing a fantastic job but in desperate need of repairs. The coalition has come up trumps for that community.”
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins, a former Oakbank pupil, said: “The release of funds will now enable Oakbank School to look forward to an even brighter future. I am, of course, acutely aware that there are a number of other schools in Keighley and Ilkley that are in need of similar support. I will continue to do everything I can to make the case for them as additional monies are made available.”