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£37million schools investment proposals set for Cabinet

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

PROPOSALS to invest £37million in school and nursery buildings across Stockton-on-Tees will be considered by councillors tomorrow (September 14).

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is proposing a series of expansions, improvements and rebuilds after securing ‘basic need’ funding from Government.

They include the allocation of £16.2million for expansions at All Saints Church of England Academy, Ian Ramsey CE Academy, Northfield School and Sports College, Our Lady and St Bede Catholic Academy, and Outwood Academy Bishopsgarth.

An £8million scheme to demolish and rebuild blocks at Egglescliffe School and Sixth Form College is also among the proposals, which will be considered by the Council’s Cabinet.

Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ann McCoy, said: “We are a thriving, growing Borough and though councils no longer have powers to build new schools, it is important that we find ways to ensure we can provide enough school places for children and young people now and in the future.

“We have worked very hard to secure this funding, which gives us the opportunity to ensure we have enough capacity to keep pace with the Borough’s growth, while also allowing us to support schools where there are concerns about the condition or accessibility of buildings.

“Given the recent investment in primary schools, these proposals focus on secondary schools, pre-school, and SEND provision. A number of academies and Diocesan schools stand to benefit too, which demonstrates our commitment to supporting all schools, irrespective of their governance arrangements.

“Our discussions with schools have been very positive – they are supportive of these proposals and share our determination to do everything in our power to give our children and young people the best possible start in life.”

One of those supporting the proposals is Our Lady and St Bede Catholic Academy Headteacher, Chris Hammill.

In a letter of support, he said: “We are delighted with the proposed investment into our school. We are very grateful for the proactive and inclusive approach of the Council in this regard. A great deal of recognition should be given to the Council for having secured this funding in the first instance, without which we would not be in this advantageous position.

“Leading up to this point the Council have actively worked with ourselves and Carmel Education Trust to better understand our needs and aspirations for our young people. Over this last year there has developed a great sense of togetherness, commitment and support to make things happen for our area.

“We are excited about working with the Council on this project which we believe will add greatly to the excellent education we already provide for the young people of Stockton-on-Tees.”

Where will the money be spent?

The Council secured ‘basic need’ funding of £31million for 2018/19 and a further £6million for 2019/20. The spending proposals are as follows:

All Saints Church of England Academy

A £3million expansion to create an additional 40 Year 7 places (200 places overall).

Ian Ramsey CE Academy/Outwood Academy Bishopsgarth

A total £2.5million spend on expanding the two schools, which will be timed to keep pace with anticipated housing growth in the area and supported by financial contributions from developers. This would create an additional:

-       63 Year 7 places at Ian Ramsey CE Academy (313 overall).

-       90 Year 7 places at Outwood Academy Bishopsgarth (450 overall).

Northfield School and Sports College

A £5.7million expansion to create an additional 60 Year 7 places (300 overall).

Our Lady and St Bede Catholic Academy

A £5million investment consisting of a £3.2million expansion to create an additional 60 Year 7 places (300 overall) and £1.8million to improve the condition of the school.

Egglescliffe School

An £8million scheme to demolish and rebuild the school’s small blocks, which are in very poor condition.

Conyers School

The school is in good condition but does not have a hall – it is proposed to spend £1million on a new hall, which is expected to be recouped through financial contributions from developers at a later date.

Pre-school places

A £2million investment in early years is proposed, consisting of:

-       £600,000 towards a £2.4million expansion of nurseries at High Flyers Children’s Centre, Crooksbarn Primary, Prior’s Mill Primary, and St Mark’s Elm Tree Primary – the remaining £1.8million funding has already been secured.

-       £400,000 for the part conversion of Fairfield Library to enable child care provision.

-       £400,000 for the expansion of the nurseries at Barley Fields and Redhill Children’s Centres.

-       £600,000 earmarked for further expansions where the need arises.

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision

A £2million allocation towards £2.6million worth of improvements to SEND provision at schools across the Borough, where need is identified. The remaining £600,000 funding has already been secured.

Skills Academy

A £1.2million allocation for the expansion of the Borough’s Skills Academy, which sees the Council and Stockton Riverside College work together to offer vocational courses to pupils in mainstream secondary schools.

Primary schools and the Pupil Referral Unit (PRU)

A proposal to earmark £6.6million for the expansion and improvement of primary schools and the Borough’s Pupil Referral Unit, subject to a further report to Cabinet.