Thursday, 24 May 2012

Prudhoe Community High School gets its rebuild - Back The Bid is successful! A good birthday present for Dr Iain Shaw!

Good news for PCHS [pictured]
It is with great pleasure that I can welcome the announcement today that the Government have decided to “Back the Bid” and allocate funding for the school in Prudhoe. Regular readers will know that this is something that I am very passionate about, not least because the school desperately needs work. I have been able to get Michael Gove to meet the School's headteacher and it is fair to say that our campaign has been amongst the most vigorous ever mounted for school funding. My commiserations to those schools who have missed out in these difficult times but I am so proud of everyone who has backed the bid.

I took the opportunity in November to ask the Prime Minister at PMQs if he would support our campaign:
Guy Opperman (Hexham) (Con): Schools in rural Northumberland were largely ignored by the previous Government. With the schools budget rising from £35 billion to £39 billion in 2015, will the Prime Minister welcome the finance bid put forward by Prudhoe community high school in my constituency?

The Prime Minister: I will certainly welcome that bid. It is important to note that, because we are protecting the per-pupil funding, even at a difficult time for the economy and public spending, the education budget will be rising and not falling.... As well as the extra investment in the schools budget, there is also the opportunity for free schools, which I think are going to be a major reform in our country, to bring in more good school places.

I cannot say much more than express how delighted I am for everyone, but most of all the headteacher Dr. Iain Shaw, all the teachers, governors, councillors and students of Prudhoe, who should be very proud; everyone has been very patient, so I want to thank you all for this. I think we can all agree, however, that the result has been well worth the wait!
There was also success for schools in Bedlington and Alnwick.
The full ministerial statement is set out here:

The last word should go to the school's inspirational headteacher, Dr Iain Shaw who emailed me this afternoon after telling the schools staff:
"Dear Guy,
Many thanks for all you support with this bid. Just been with all my colleagues at an ‘extraordinary’ staff meeting to tell them the news, they left slightly dazed! I know that this is the beginning of a new set of challenges but feel so relieved that millions of pounds of repairs needed here will be addressed. Do you think Michael Gove knew it was my birthday today?"