Suffolk: Government backs bids to rebuild schools
06:00 25 May 2012
A WEST Suffolk school has been selected to undergo major rebuilding work in the Government’s £2billion Priority School Building Programme, it was announced yesterday.
Great Cornard Upper School & Technology College has been told a bid submitted on its behalf by Suffolk County Council has been approved. A bid on behalf of Chantry High School, Ipswich, was also successful.
The council applied to have the two sites completely rebuilt as brand new schools under the Department for Education programme.
Although Education Secretary Michael Gove confirmed that the schools have been prioritised as part of the programme, it is not known yet if they will undergo the full rebuild process or be partially rebuilt.
The full details will be confirmed to the schools in the next few weeks.
Wayne Lloyd, the new head at Great Cornard, said it was an exciting time for the school and welcomed the Government’s decision.
From September the site will be known as the Thomas Gainsborough School and the following September it will begin taking on extra year groups as part of the county council’s Schools Organisation Review, which already involves some new building work.
Mr Lloyd, who joined the school in January, said: “We are very pleased to hear that we are on the Priority School Building Programme and we look forward to hearing from the Government in the next few weeks for the detailed plans.
“Building work has already started for September 2013 and this news will in no way affect those plans and we are excited at the opportunity to develop the school long into the future.
“(It would be) a brand new school, that’s our understanding of it. They (the county council) have identified that there is a need for a new school in our area and that they would like to put it here.”
Graham Newman, the county council’s cabinet member for young people, said: “It is good news for staff and students – if you work in a school that needs a great deal of attention and is almost falling down you can feel as if you have been forgotten about.
“This will make people feel a lot better about their schools.
“I have been to Great Cornard and seen what a great job they are doing there in very tired buildings. This should completely transform the place and I hope work can start very soon.
He added: “We have known there are serious issues at Chantry and it has needed a lot of money spent on it for some time.”
Great Cornard county councillor Peter Beer hailed the “wonderful news” and added: “It is something the community has been campaigning for for a long time and I am delighted all the efforts have paid off.”
Mr Gove made the announcement in a written ministerial statement in the House of Commons yesterday.
He said: “Last year I invited bids to a new programme from schools in need of urgent repair. Five-hundred-and-eighty-seven schools applied for the programme on the basis of their condition need. Today I can confirm that 261 schools will be rebuilt, or have their condition needs met through the Priority School Building Programme.
“Officials have today written to all schools who applied for the programme to confirm whether their application has been successful. Work will begin immediately and the first schools will be open in 2014.”