Millions needed to fix 'rotting' classrooms

PUBLISHED: 08:50 22 April 2015 | UPDATED: 08:50 22 April 2015

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

© Corbis. All Rights Reserved.

SCHOOLS with rotting windows, leaking roofs and classrooms in various states of disrepair have left North Somerset Council facing a £16million repair bill - a record which places the district in the bottom third nationwide.

Buildings across at least 17 separate sites in North Somerset are in need of being torn apart and completely replaced, with upgrades needed to 80 buildings across the district.

About £12.4million worth of work needs addressing ‘within the next three years’ with work to target ‘poor’ and ‘bad’ learning environments alone costing £9.6million.

Failure to complete the work in Weston-super-Mare and its surrounding areas within that timeframe would risk some pupils being left without school places.

Government funding has helped the council to draw up an action plan which will see £12.1million pumped into the district’s schools, though £1million of that funding is yet to be found – and a further £4million will still need to be secured to meet the total backlog.

The state of the district’s schools was revealed in a survey carried out by the local authority, which also revealed that just 32.7 per cent of schools nationwide are in a worse condition than the average school in North Somerset.

It examined the condition of all the local authority schools, but repairs mostly relate to primary schools as most secondary schools are now run as academies and are therefore responsible for their own maintenance.

The report says: “We now need to look to replace old and inappropriate demountable buildings across at least 17 sites. Some of the 80 buildings require complete replacement.”

The report continued: “Failure to provide new or upgraded facilities could lead to a shortfall of places as accommodation may need to be removed or replaced due to poor condition and health and safety risks.”

The report recommends £2.45million of the £12.1million is spent on roof repairs and structural works across five schools.

Worle Community School would get £650,000 to replace roof coverings, fire alarm systems and complete repairs to its two-storey gym and administration block.

Court de Wyck Primary School in Claverham would get £200,000 from the pot to repair its roof and Walliscote Primary School would get £100,000 to replace rotten windows.

The council has also set aside £800,000 to replace buildings and temporary classrooms at Banwell, Hutton, Windwhistle and Wrington primary schools.

Money will also be used to increase the number of school places available, 
complete electrical work at various schools, invest in children’s centres and look at provisions for two and three-year-olds.

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