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Welcome cash boost for run-down schools

by mikebell on 8 November, 2011

NORTH Somerset’s most-dilapidated primary schools could be set for welcome repair work after a cash boost of more than £1.3million was announced by the Government.

Although the money has been handed to North Somerset Council to manage a shortfall in pupil places, some of the money is likely to be spent on repair work across the district.

That means the council has received £7.3million in education money from Westminster for the current school year – 22 per cent more than expected – after another grant of £1.8million of extra funding was announced last December.

It is part of a nationwide funding drive which will see an extra £500million ploughed into 100 authorities across the country.

With most of the district’s secondary schools now academies and funded directly from central Government, primary schools are now likely to be the main beneficiaries of the extra cash.

North Somerset’s executive member for education, Councillor Jeremy Blatchford, said: “This is good news, we have done very well out of this grant announcement.

“We have two priorities. The first is making sure we have enough places in our primary schools, especially with new housing developments on the horizon.

“The second is making sure our schools are up to standard, and some of them are in real need of repair and maintenance work. Top of my list there has to be those in the centre of Weston.”

Mike Bell, Liberal Democrat group leader at the council, said: “This money will be a welcome boost to our hard work to ensure everyone gets a place at a good school. It will also be welcome news for the jobs and businesses as building can now ahead.

“But there is more work to be done and this extra cash will not solve our problems overnight.”

Weston MP John Penrose said: “On top of three of our local schools becoming academies, this should allow us to continue raising our education standards and make a real difference for children living in and around Weston.”

 Reproduced from the Weston and Somerset Mercury

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