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Tuesday, 11 April, 2000, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Cash to bulldoze old classrooms
pupils in old library
Pupils in north London in their soon-to-be-demolished library
More than 6,000 schools in England are getting money to replace dilapidated buildings and boilers, roofs and wiring.

Fifteen hundred old "temporary" classrooms in the worst condition - many of which have been in use for half a century - will be bulldozed and replaced at 528 schools over the next two years.

Announcing the latest 600m round of funding under the New Deal for Schools programme, the Education Secretary, David Blunkett, said it would go some way towards addressing the "scandal of crumbling schools".

But local education authorities say more is still needed to update their school buildings for the 21st century.

There will be roof repairs at 907 schools, window repairs at 666, new boilers at 974, new wiring at 512 and new toilet facilities at 233. Some schools will be having work done of more than one sort.

Among the 1,950 projects are:

  • 675,000 will provide Beaver Road Primary School in Manchester with five new classrooms joined to the main school, to replace wooden classrooms in poor condition
  • 330,000 will replace a condemned temporary classroom block with new permanent accommodation at Greenleys Middle School in Milton Keynes
  • 440,000 will replace three temporary classrooms at Seagrave Primary and Nursery School with a new classroom block in Nottingham
  • 1.8m will pay for the replacement of South Molton Infant School in Devon, removing inadequate and poor condition accommodation, including temporary classrooms.
  • 1m will refurbish roofs and windows at Tong Upper School in Bradford
  • 670,000 will replace temporary classrooms with a new permanent block at Holymead Infant school in Bristol
  • nearly 3m will build a new infant school and nursery at Queenswell Infant School in Barnet
  • 358,000 will replace a dilapidated kitchen and dining room at St Paul's RC Primary School in Plymouth
  • 260,000 will replace five temporary classrooms used for teaching languages at Ripley St Thomas CE High School in Lancaster.

The South Molton project was the biggest single scheme proposed by Devon County Council, although not its most urgent - that was to replace a hall and classroom at Black Torrington primary school which had become so dangerous they had to be demolished.

Devon got 7.4m of the 23m it had bid for. It means the go-ahead for the 12 highest priority projects in the county's schools.

Good and bad news

This is good news for Broadclyst Primary in Honiton, which came to national prominence when a pupil, Ross Saunders, made a video of the crumbling concrete in temporary classrooms and sent it to David Blunkett's office.

But a council spokesman said more than 30 other projects have not won funding. In 13th place on the priority list, for instance, was West Croft Junior in Bideford, which has a temporary classroom and is one of 19 schools in Devon which still have outside lavatories - prone to freeze in winter.

Almost a third of the county's schoolchildren are taught in temporary classrooms.

"So it's a bit of a mixed bag," the spokesman said.

"We are pleased to have the money and it looks like the government are starting to realise that there's decades of underfunding - but we are greatly concerned about those schools on the priority list which haven't been supported by the government, and we continue to champion their cause."

Announcing all the grants at Brookfield Primary School in Camden, London, which has been granted almost 170,000 to replace a library currently in a temporary classroom, Mr Blunkett said: "I know that parents, teachers and pupils will welcome this investment which will bring schools into a modern and fit state to support higher standards of education.

"We are determined to improve the quality of the environment in which teachers teach and pupils learn, and address the scandal of crumbling schools.

"This investment will go a long way to providing the right conditions and at the same time play a part in regenerating local economies and boosting the surrounding communities."

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See also:

05 Apr 00 | Education
Woodhead backs crumbling school
19 Mar 00 | Education
Hi-tech crumbling school
13 Jan 00 | Education
Video reveals crumbling classrooms
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