STAFF from 27 crumbling schools in the region were celebrating last night after they were finally promised cash to rebuild – after a two-year controversy.
The schools, including five in County Durham, four in Stockton borough, three in Hartlepool borough, two in Redcar and Cleveland and one in North Yorkshire, were all included in a £2.4bn Government priority scheme.
Five were judged to be in such poor condition they will be fast-tracked with direct grants – to open as early as 2014 – while the rest will be rebuilt through the private finance initiative.
At least 19 unnamed schools in the North were among 326 in England whose applications were rejected.
They now face a wait of at least three years for Government cash, and are unlikely to be rebuilt by councils after maintenance budgets were cut.
Among schools that missed out are two in Darlington (Longfield and Darlington School of Maths and Science) and two in Redcar and Cleveland (Nunthorpe Secondary School and Westgarth Primary School, in Marske).
Darlington School of Maths and Science headteacher Calvin Kipling said an ongoing £2m upgrade would continue and that alternative sources of funding would be examined for the development of sports facilities.
Susan Johnson, headteacher of Longfield Academy, which also missed out on funding, said the decision was not a surprise and would not affect the school’s current £2m building programme.
She said: “This will not be a barrier to any future success here at Longfield or impact on the high quality of education we provide.”
The announcement came nearly two years after Education Secretary Michael Gove halted the £55bn Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme, axing 79 projects in the region. It means the vast majority of schools earmarked for rebuilding before the election will still miss out, as the new scheme, unlike BSF, includes many primaries, as well as secondaries.
Mr Gove said many schools would be disappointed, but said: “We have had to take difficult decisions in order to target spending on those schools that are in the worst condition.”
The amount to be given to each successful school is still to be decided.
Schools receiving funding for rebuilding
Durham Trinity School and Sports College*
King James I Academy, Bishop Auckland
Seaham School of Technology
St Joseph’s RC VA Primary, Durham
West Cornforth Primary*
Charles Thorp Comprehensive
Front Street Community Primary
Hill Top School*
Lingey House Primary
Roman Road Primary
Barnard Grove Primary
Holy Trinity C of E Primary
Manor College of Technology
Harrogate High School
REDCAR & CLEVELAND
Laurence Jackson School
Ian Ramsey C of E Comp*
Mandale Mill Primary
St Michael’s RC School
Hylton Castle Primary
Shiney Row Primary
St Anthony’s Catholic Girls’ Academy
Usworth Grange Primary*
Carr Infant School
Lord Deramore’s Primary
* Direct grant from DFE, rather than inclusion in PFI scheme