Monday, February 9, 2015

News: Kier involved in second Rotherham school rebuild

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Kier Construction is working on a second school redevelopment project in Rotherham as consultation begins on the rebuilding of Wath Victoria Primary School.

It comes as further schools in the borough are confirmed as making it onto the Government's school rebuilding programme.

As a leading construction, services and property group, Kier has already won £153m worth of contracts through the first phase of the £2.4 billion government programme that is rebuilding 260 of the schools in England in the worst condition. It was named as a contractor on multimillion pound plans for the rebuilding of Oakwood High School in Rotherham where applicants hope to start on site this winter with the new school building planned to be complete by July 2016 (pictured).

Now, a public consultation has been organised by Wath Victoria and Kier Construction for this Thursday showcasing the new school building that is designed to accommodate 280 pupils aged 3-11, with an additional 26 nursery places. Plans for the new school, set to be located within the grounds of the existing school, are set to be submitted this month and set for completion in April 2016.

Like Oakwood, Wath looks set to be a capital funded project, funded directly by the Education Funding Agency (EFA), though the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).

£98m worth of Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects at Abbey SEN, Aston, Hilltop SEN, Milton, Oakwood, St Pius and Swinton in Rotherham were stopped by the coalition government in 2010.

The ambitious plan by the Labour government to rebuild every secondary school in England was controversially axed by Michael Gove, the then Secretary of State for Education, who told the Commons at the time that the scheme had been hit by "massive overspends, tragic delays, botched construction projects and needless bureaucracy."

More than 700 school building projects in the country were cancelled when BSF was scrapped and it meant that only one school on Rotherham, the converted Maltby Academy, progressed a major revamp.

The government said today that thanks to the Priority School Building Programme, school buildings are being rebuilt faster and cheaper than those built under the Building Schools for the Future initiative. Under the BSF it took three years for construction work to begin. This was slashed to one year for the Priority School Building Programme, with projects costing around a third less.

This week the government announced details of how over £4 billion will be allocated between 2015 and 2018 to schools, local authorities, academy trusts, and voluntary-aided partnerships to help them improve the condition of schools across the country.

Rotherham schools: Brinsworth Comprehensive (which has already submitted plans for work to its sports hall); Saint Pius X Catholic High School; St Bernard's Catholic High School; Newman School and Harthill Primary School have been successful in their applications to the second phase of the PSBP, and will "now have the condition needs in one or more of their buildings addressed as part of the programme."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "It is crucial that we invest properly in education, so that every child has a fair start in life. ​Thousands of pupils will benefit from better, brighter, warmer classrooms thanks to this ​funding.

"Children can't learn and teachers can't teach in schools that are cold and have leaking roofs.

"To create a stronger economy we have to invest in a fairer society so that our young people can be successful in the future."

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan added: "As part of our long term economic plan, we have continued to invest in school buildings which will ensure we can deliver even more great new schools, transform the learning environment for tens of thousands of pupils and their teachers whilst delivering value for money for the taxpayer."

After missing out in the first round, Swinton Community School and St. Pius X Catholic High School were put forward by Rotherham Council for much needed repairs. The council's cabinet also agreed to put forward Badsley Moor Lane Junior School, Harthill Primary School, Wales Primary School, Laughton Junior and Infant School and Newman School.

Images: Kier / Oakwodd High School

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