Ipswich: Minister’s boost for Westbourne School

IPSWICH: An education minister has today given his backing to calls for Westbourne Sports College to be given funds to help rebuild many of its classrooms.

Lord Hill, junior education minister, was told about the problems faced by the school by North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter.

And he pledged to do all he could to find money to carry out necessary work at the school.

Westbourne is one of the schools that was due to be substantially rebuilt under the “Building Schools for the Future” project before that was scrapped by the new government.

Before seeing Lord Hill, Dr Poulter had heard about the problems faced by the school from headteacher Chris Edwards.

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Mr Edwards had told him: “We are supposed to be a specialist Sports College, yet every time it rains our sports hall has to be evacuated due to water cascading down the walls.

“We have been told that it will cost �3 million just to keep the existing building standing. In addition, our students eat in unsuitable temporary buildings constructed in 1946.

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“We have not had a new building at the school since 1983. This is not a vanity project; something really has to be done so that the quality of education students receive will not be compromised.”

Dr Poulter said the school had been a victim of the over-bureaucratic BSF programme.

He said: : “Under the building Schools for the Future Programme Westbourne Sports College was to be given �31 million to improve the site.

“Unfortunately most of that money would have been wasted on bureaucracy rather than being directed into education and school infrastructure.

“Chris Edwards and his team estimate that only �10 to �12 million will be needed to improve the school site. It is completely unacceptable that Westbourne students are being educated in substandard buildings, and I shall continue to press for action on this issue.”

Lord Hill told the MP that Westbourne seemed to be a deserving case and he would do what he could to help it get more funds.

Dr Poulter said he would also be contacting Suffolk County Council in a bid to get the local education authority to accept that the school had a need for major rebuilding.

Should money be spent on rebuilding Westbourne? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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