Norfolk gets �30m for school building schemes

A clutch of schools will see significant improvements after Norfolk County Council was handed �30m of government cash to provide classrooms for extra pupils and refurbish run-down buildings.

The sum is much lower than the average �40-45m of capital money that the county usually gets, with the reduction put down to Whitehall cutbacks.

But the council has vowed to make the most of the money, and has come up with a list of the schools and schemes that will benefit.

The biggest winners are at Cringleford, where �6.53m will go towards a new �8.9m Church of England school on the Roundhouse Park development.

The 420-pupil school will replace the existing 200-pupil Cringleford Primary, and is scheduled to be finished by March 2013.

At Wymondham High, �3m will go towards providing new buildings to enable the school to get rid of some of its 14 mobile classrooms.

And Rackheath Primary will get �1.4m to enable it to expand from 140 to 210 pupils and meet growing demand in the area for school places.

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Another �8.28m has been set aside to provide temporary and permanent classrooms for extra year groups created by changes to age ranges in the Mundesley, Grimston, South Wootton and Lingwood clusters.

The changes are the final pieces in a giant puzzle, designed to ensure that all Norfolk schools have a common age of transfer between schools - at age seven or 11.

An undisclosed sum has also been put by to purchase land for a new complex needs school at Attleborough.

The existing Chapel Road School is hide-bound by its buildings and site, and suffered a body blow last year when it was dropped at the last minute from a countywide Building Schools for Future scheme.

The remainder of the �29.894m from the government includes �5.2m for planned maintenance of buildings, �750,000 for emergency repairs as they come up and a host of other, smaller schemes.

Chris Hey, head of estates and schools capital at County Hall, said: 'This allocation is against a submission we make each year on the basic need in Norfolk.

'Over the last four to five years, the average has been between �40-45m. But in the environment we are in, we were pleased to get that sum of money.'

He said officers were pleased that the government had not put any time limit on when the 2011-12 allocation needed to be spent.

? See Steve Downes' blog at www.edp24.co.uk/steve-downes. Follow @stevedownes1973 on Twitter.

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