Revamp of education in three boroughs

EDUCATION bosses are drawing up plans for a revamp of education in Hyndburn, Rossendale and Pendle.

The proposals under the Building Schools for the Future scheme will be submitted by the end of the year.

BSF is already well underway in Burnley and part of Pendle, with a number of new schools being built and set to open from this September.

And plans for the shake-up in Blackburn with Darwen were rubber stamped by councillors last week.

Now the Burnley and Pendle scheme is on track, Lancashire County Council is turning its attention to Hyndburn, Rossendale and the parts of Pendle not covered by the original scheme.

But bosses stress that the proposals will not be as radical as those seen in other areas.

It is unlikely they will propose to re-build any schools, instead focusing on refurbishments of existing sites.

There will be consultations in autumn with the headteachers from the relevant schools, district councils and regeneration body Elevate before plans are submitted by the end of the year.

If successful work will begin by 2010 or 2011.

Coun Alan Whittaker, who has spearheaded the BSF scheme remains proud and confident of the programme despite a number of problems, such as Hameldon Community College going into special measures and wrangles over the sites for new schools.

He said he was looking forward to planning the next wave for East Lancashire.

Coun Whittaker said: "We will be using our experiences from the first wave to efficiently deliver the next stage.

"Conferences will take place in autumn with all the different stakeholders, including headteachers, district councils, and Elevate, working from the bottom up'.

"We need to start planning now, to be able to submit at bid by the end of the year, to start work on the schools by 2010/11."

He added that despite criticisms from the community, "the way we planned the first wave was admired by the Government."

Schools in Hyndburn, Rossendale and Pendle are unlikely to be rebuilt as there have already been a number of recent developments, such as a new sixth form centre at Haslingden High, in recent years.

Coun Peter Britcliffe, leader of Hyndburn Council, said: "We welcome the next phase.

"We look forward to the investment into the schools in our borough.

"But I feel we need to bring back sixth forms back into Hyndburn.

"We welcome the investment the schools are our future."

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