'Neediest' East Lancashire schools to share £3.7m pot

FIVE schools in East Lancashire and Chorley are set to share £3.67million for work on facilities including science labs and music rooms.

More than 20 bids were made from headteachers countywide for the county council’s capital strategy for schools.

And 10 have been successful, it has been announced, based on the most pressing basic need and conditions surveys.

The largest allocation will be for Southlands High School, Chorley, where four food technology classrooms and a learning resource area will be created after a £498,000 allocation.

And £486,000 has been set aside to regenerate the inside and outside of the ROSLA block at Colne Park High School.

Another £270,000 will see the toilets overhauled at Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School, Oswaldtwistle.

At Whitworth High School in Rossendale the music block will be demolished, with a £431,000 grant, and the department moved into the main school building.

Five science labs will also be refurbished at Fearns Community Sports College in Stacksteads, using a £250,000 award.

Helen Denton, schools executive director, said in a report: “The absence of funding to address suitability issues at secondary school level means that many schools cannot afford to carry out projects aimed at replacing and updating facilities which are important for their day-to-day activities and curriculum delivery.”

Two of the schools – Park and Rhyddings – are among those which missed out when the third wave of the Building Schools for the Future programme was scrapped in summer 2010.

The bids, ranging between £100,000 and £500,000, from a £3.7million pot, were first invited in March 2012.

Bids were only sought from community and voluntary controlled schools as voluntary aided schools and academies as they can apply for diocesan or Department for Education funding.

County councillor Susie Charles is expected to rubberstamp the funding allocations on March 4.

Nigel Dawson, Fearns headteacher, said: “The refurbishment of the laboratories is going to have a big impact on inspiring pupils. The working environment is such an important aspect for the teaching of any subject.”

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