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Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 20:19 GMT
Video reveals crumbling classrooms

Ross Saunders Ross Saunders films the poor condition of classrooms

A seven-year-old pupil has made a video of the crumbling concrete and damp walls of classrooms in his school and has sent the evidence to education ministers.

Ross Saunders, a pupil at Broadclyst school in Honiton, Devon, is hoping to draw attention to the poor condition of several of the school's classrooms.

The eight-minute video has been posted to the Education Secretary David Blunkett and to the Schools Standards Minister Estelle Morris, in an attempt to encourage the education department to provide more funds for repairs.

Crumbling school Cracks in walls are recorded on an eight-minute video
The video highlights the cracks in the walls and the patches of damp in "temporary" pre-fabricated classrooms, which were put up after the end of the Second World War.

Ross's father, John Saunders, who helped make the video, says that the depressing surroundings have a "demoralising" impact on children.

"The school has been trying to get funding for repairs for the past 12 years. And it is a shame that we have to go to such lengths to be heard," said Mr Saunders, who is also a governor at the school.

"It is incredibly cold in these classrooms, which makes it very difficult to learn. The coats in the cloakroom get damp and it's often warmer outside than inside."

Mr Saunders said that he blamed "underfunding over a long period of time" for the state of repair of the school.

The board of governors at the school has been campaigning to replace the pre-fabricated classrooms with a single, purpose-built building which would be in keeping with the rest of the school.

The government has been running a campaign to tackle the backlog of "crumbling schools", with 5.4bn promised over three years. This is mostly allocated through local education authorities, which set priorities for the funding of such capital projects.

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See also:
11 Nov 99 |  Education
Blunkett gives heads cash for repairs
17 Dec 98 |  Education
Share-out of funds for school buildings
25 Nov 98 |  Education
5.4bn for school buildings
05 Jan 00 |  Education
Clinton to tackle crumbling schools

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