TWO Southampton schools are set to get dramatic overhauls after winning a share of a £2 billion Government cash hand-out.
It comes two years after the city’s education leaders were left devastated by the sudden axing of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme, which would have seen up to eight Southampton secondaries completely rebuilt.
Yesterday, Bitterne Park School and The Cedar School were told they had successfully bid for money from the Government’s Priority School Building Programme, which is aimed at those “in need of urgent repair”. No details of the amounts were revealed.
Critics have said the scheme does not go far enough and leaves many schools that desperately require improvement facing years of struggling to make piecemeal repairs.
Three city schools were put forward for cash through the programme, after councils were offered the chance to nominate the schools in most need of repair, and the Government sent surveyors to assess each bid.
Schools which did not receive cash in this round will not now be repaired until at least 2015.
The Cedar School, a school in Redbridge Lane for children with special needs, will be repaired immediately.
Delighted head teacher Jonathan Howells said last night he was now waiting to hear the details of what work will be done, and when.
He said: “This is really good news.
We’re in a very old building. It’s not very appropriate for children with disabilities.”
“It leaks when it rains, if it rains too much the drains overflow, the toilets are pretty poor, the windows need replacing and there’s asbestos – you name it, we’ve had problems with it.”
Susan Trigger, head teacher of Bitterne Park School, was unavailable for comment.
He said: “Many parents, teachers and children in Southampton were left disappointed by the Tory-led Government’s decision to scrap the BSF programme.
I’ve said this before and it’s still the case: our children deserve high-quality education in high-quality surroundings.”
Education Secretary Gove acknowledged many schools would be disappointed, but insisted: “We have had to take difficult decisions in order to target spending on those schools in the worst condition.”