No work carried out yet at schools government said were “most in need of urgent repair”
- Credit: PA
Schools included in a flagship rebuilding programme almost 18 months ago have yet to see any work carried out, despite qualifying because they were 'most in need of urgent repair'.
In the run up to last year's election, the government announced that 13 schools in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire had bid successfully to enter the second round of the Priority School Building Programme.
As reported yesterday, 40pc of local schools that were academies at the time saw their applications approved, compared to 6pc of non-academies. The Department for Education (DfE) said schools were assessed on the condition of their buildings, not the type of school they were.
Privately, some schools have expressed frustration with the pace of progress with the scheme, which is overseen by the Education Funding Agency (EFA), while others have said they are satisfied.
Liz Dormor, head of Marshland High in West Walton, which is due to see extensive work carried out, said: 'It's a very, very long process. I think there's several years worth of work going on here. We are hoping something might happen next year. It is, at best, a very slow programme.'
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The school's business manager, Bettina Marshall, said it is awaiting the start of the feasibility study this autumn, and was hopeful work will start 'towards the end of 2017'.
Ian Cleland, chief executive of the Academy Transformation Trust, said it had 'heard nothing' about its successful bid for Nicholas Hamond Academy in Swaffham, but the EFA had completed a site visit to Norwich Road Academy in Thetford.
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The Transforming Education in Norfolk (Ten) Group said it has received outline approval for work on Attleborough Academy's art and drama buildings. A spokesman said: 'Final approval and timescales for this project will be available after a full feasibility study is conducted by the EFA later this year.'
A spokesman for the Inspiration Trust, which sponsors East Point Academy in Lowestoft, said: 'We will be working with the DfE on drawing up detailed plans and costings for the work over the summer. This is likely to be a multi-million pound investment, so it is right that we take the time to get the right outcome for students.'
A spokesman for the Elliot Foundation, which sponsors Ramnoth Junior School in Wisbech, said its PSBP2 project was part of a bigger expansion scheme, and was progressing well, and hoped work would start this winter.
A DfE spokesman said: 'Under PSBP2, we expect all schools to be open in their new or refurbished buildings by the end of 2021. All of the schools in PSBP2, including those in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge, have had initial assessments by surveyors. All schools received letters in December 2015 confirming when feasibility surveys would begin.'