Saturday, 14 February 2015

The Weekend Read: Details on the QEHS upgrade

Queen Elizabeth High School is to be handed millions to upgrade it's schools buildings after our long campaign. 

The Department for Education has announced the school has been successful in a  funding bid as part of the government's Priority Schools Building Programme.

It is a huge relief our campaigning and lobbying to ministers has paid off. This is the most significant cash investment in Hexham's schools for decades. It is fantastic that the Government has listened to our case, recognised the buildings at QEHS need upgrading and has now provided that investment.

When I first became an MP in 2010, one of the key messages I was hearing from local people was that not enough was being invested in our schools. It has been one of my key priorities ever since. It is a huge step forward that we have been able to secure this capital investment in QEHS buildings on top of the extra £12m we have secured for Northumberland's schools this year.

Northumberland County Council also deserves some of the credit for taking the bid forward on behalf of the school, having previous had success with a bid for the total rebuild of Prudhoe High School, which starts in March.

The Schools Minister David Laws saw first hand the issues facing QEHS after visiting the school at my request in July 2013. He accepted an invitation and saw for himself the condition of the school buildings as part of the our lobbying efforts.

Having David here did help make a big impact. He was able to see for himself that this great school deserves great buildings to match its academic success. The report of his visit 18 months ago is here:

With this new investment that is exactly what will happen.

The success of Prudhoe and QEHS's bid follow decades of complaints within Tynedale that rural areas had been neglected by Westminster when it came to funding for repairs.

Last month I raised the funding bid in the House of Commons urging schools minister David Laws to include Queen Elizabeth High School in the government's Priority School Building Programme (PSBP), which addresses the needs of sites most in need of urgent repair.
It is true that for many decades Tynedale has suffered from a lack of investment in both its schools, and from poor level of education funding. I am immensely proud that, after 30 years or so of getting a bad deal, this Government will be delivering investment in our high schools at Prudhoe and QEHS and a fairer
funding deal.
County councillor for Hexham East, Cath Homer, who pledged to make investment in QEHS one of her top priorities when elected in 2013, said: “This is one of the most significant announcements in Hexham for
the last ten years. This will be hugely welcomed by parents and will bring an end to the sticking plaster repairs we have seen for too long. QEHS is a great school, and with this extra funding it can only
get even better. After all of our efforts this really is wonderful for the future education of kids in our town.

The welcome news for QEHS came as part of £140m Government investment to rebuild 16 more schools in the North East.

More of our campaign here