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Government funding boost for Worcestershire schools
SCHOOLS across Worcestershire are to get an £8.6 million funding boost to repair crumbling old buildings.
The cash injection, from the Department for Education, will be distributed to state schools in the county in dire need of either repair work or new facilities.
Worcestershire County Council will target the funds particularly at primary schools in need of help.
And as well as the state school cash, the Government is also making £500 million available so academies can ‘bid’ for funds to improve their facilities.
The boost has been welcomed by head teachers, as well as Worcester MP Robin Walker.
Anna Streather, head teacher of Oldbury Park Primary in Oldbury Road, Worcester, said: “We have spent a lot of money on the building in recent years and the council has always been good to us.
“But any more funding we can get is very welcome.”
Sean Devlin, head teacher of Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, said: “We’ve had next to nothing over the last few years.
“The buildings are in very good condition here and we make sure maintenance is a priority, but we need a new science lab.”
The coalition Govern-ment has awarded £4 billion to education authorities across the country for school building maintenance, but Worcestershire is among the biggest winners.
It follows concerns many schools are struggling with their facilities due to reduced funding from town halls.
Christopher Whitehead Language College in Bromwich Road, Worcester, had a request for £6.5 million turned down by the Government last year despite staff saying they were putting up with leaking classrooms.
And the scrapping of the ‘Building Schools for the Future’ programme introduced by the previous government meant dozens of county schools missed out on cash in 2008.
Worcester MP Mr Walker said “too many buildings are in a bad state of repair” and that the cash would be vital.
“Despite difficult financial circumstances, it is great news the Govern-ment has found extra funds to improve school buildings here in Worces-tershire,” he said.
County Hall will now be drawing up a list of the schools that will benefit over the coming months.
Councillor Jane Potter, cabinet member for education, said: “We welcome the announcement of the funding for capital for the county's schools and are in the process of developing specific funding allocations.
“The council will continue to prioritise projects in line with the criteria set out in Department for Education guidance.”