Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Prudhoe High School - BACK THE BID!

This week I have written to the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, to approve a bid for PFI funding to replace Prudhoe Community High School.

Earlier this year I arranged the first ever meeting between the Secretary of State and West Northumberland's Four High School Headteachers. I knew if I could get Michael up to the North East to hear first hand from our dedicated headteachers the case for repairing their schools we would be able to advance our case. We have already cleared the first hurdle by being allowed to submit the bid and this is a significant step in improving our school buildings.

In the letter, I have tried to spell out the case to the Secretary of State for approving the bid:

"Whilst of course there is due process to be followed, as the local MP for Prudhoe High, which is one three schools in the bid, I must highlight how deserving this particular school is of a rebuild. In total it needs £3 million spending on it to bring it up to modern standards, almost 60% of the cost of a new school. The school is not double glazed, and has inadequate roof insulation, and is also in need of total rewiring. A new school in Prudhoe would be a shining example of this governments commitment to Northumberland which has long been among the most poorly funded counties for education in the country. There was much public support when you acknowledged there had been serious under-investment in our local schools at our meeting and I do hope we can build on this."

If successful the bid would also free up extra cash for the maintenance capital programme which could also see repairs to Haydon Bridge, QEHS and Ponteland High. The money could pay for new heating, replace windows, repair wiring and many crucial improvements.

When we first launched the Save Our Schools campaign I and the many pupils who supported it hoped we could set the wheels in motion to see some significant repairs to our school infrastructure. It looks like we are now getting there. I'm pleased that we are making progress after years of no investment.. I will always robustly make the case for funding in our area, be it to Ministers or the County Council.
Following my letter and meetings with the schools minister this week I hope the department for Education approves our bid to rebuild Prudhoe High and free up funding for our other local schools.

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