December 5 2013 Latest news:
By Dean Kilpatrick, Reporter
Sunday, June 3, 2012
Education secretary Michael Gove invited to see problems at Margate’s Hartsdown Technology College
Less than a third of the rundown schools in Kent which applied to the Government for rebuilding funds have won any cash.
Some 14 schools were given government funding through the Priority Schools Building Programme, but 44 others missed out on vital money to rebuild or redevelop old school buildings.
One of the worst cases in Kent, Hartsdown Technology College in Margate, missed out on funding despite fears that part of the school is unsafe for pupils.
It currently has a leaking flat roof and windows falling in, and principal Andy Somers said the school had to juggle its budget to keep classrooms open.
Mr Somers said: “We have saved some money back just in case, so we will be putting a building plan together for when the school is closed and the pupils are on holiday.
“We have had no building work here for 10 years because no-one expected the current building to be here. Some of the buildings have a life expectancy of 10 years, yet they are still there. We were surprised that we didn’t get a single penny.”
The principal was disappointed that Hartsdown had been rejected again, but insisted the college remained resilient and would apply for future building programmes.
He added: “We are going to keep trying and will never give up and will keep striving for these kids who are succeeding with good results. We are Kent’s most improving school, and it’s about time we have a building which reflects that.
“I would really like to see Mr Gove come and visit us to see what we are up against.”
A Kent County Council spokeswoman said: “We are obviously disappointed the department has not approved the other 44 applications.
“For example, Hartsdown Technology College was in the original Building Schools for the Future programme, yet no funding has been granted. We will be contacting the department to pursue the best outcome for the school.”
It wasn’t all bad news though, as 14 schools in Kent, including St Philip Howard Catholic Primary School in Herne Bay, got approval from central government.
Chair of governors Dr Mark Nash said: “We are absolutely delighted with this fantastic news which reflects the real needs of the school community and goes one step towards furthering the vision we have for St Philip Howard.
“This will enable our school to go from strength to strength and will provide our pupils and staff access to the state of the art facilities that they deserve.”
Education secretary Michael Gove said in his written statement to the House of Commons: “In tackling the challenges we face on school building, I have been determined to use the capital funding at my disposal to best effect, seeking value for money and efficiency from every pound spent.
“I recognise that many of the schools that applied and have been unsuccessful will also have significant condition needs.”
The other Kent schools approved for under the programme were Aylesham Primary School, Canterbury; Castle Community College, Deal; Chantry Primary School, Gravesend; Culverstone Green Primary School, Gravesend; Halfway Houses Primary School, Sheerness; Laleham Gap School, Margate; Meopham School; Priory Fields School, Dover; Sevenoaks Primary School; Smarden Primary School, Ashford; The Canterbury Primary School; Westlands Primary School, Sittingbourne; and York Road Junior Academy, Dartford.