Amber Valley Info

More than 40 schools across the county are set to benefit from a Derbyshire County Council funding boost to help give children the best start in life.



Spotlight On Derbyshire County Council's School Development Programme

by Amber Valley Info on Saturday 26 January 2019

More than 40 schools across the county are set to benefit from a Derbyshire County Council funding boost to help give children the best start in life.

The council’s Cabinet is to consider proposals to provide 44 schools with match-funding for improvement and refurbishment work at a meeting next week (Thursday 31 January) – where it will also discuss proposals to build a new primary school in Breadsall.

And meanwhile, work started this week on a £1.8m extension project at St Oswald’s C of E Primary School in Ashbourne – part of a £4m reorganisation of primary education in the town which will improve life for hundreds of pupils and parents.

News of the school building boost comes as the council’s Cabinet agreed recommendations yesterday (Thursday 24 January) how it could spend its £519.5m budget for 2019-20 with a lower than predicted council tax rise, continual investment in road improvements and targeted spending on services for vulnerable older people and children.

The council has approved 372 projects since it launched its popular match-funding initiative for schools in 2012 – and the 44 new bids to be considered by Cabinet next week would, if approved, take a share of £481,388 (see full list of schools below).

The cash would fund projects including:

• Classroom improvements
• Toilet and kitchen refurbishment
• Replacement windows
• Electronic security systems
• New flooring
• Improved fencing
• New lighting and heating systems
• Improvements to playing fields, sports courts and playgrounds

The funding arrangement considers projects valued from £10,000 to £30,000 with the council match-funding 50 per cent of the total cost of successful bids.

Cabinet will also consider more potential good news for the county council’s school development programme at the same meeting next week as they discuss proposals to build a new primary school at Breadsall in changes to a former plan to refurbish an existing building. The proposals are to replace the building, which needs expensive repairs and ongoing maintenance, with a purpose-built school with improved classrooms and facilities for a similar cost.

If the proposals are approved the council would take steps to secure funding for the new building and the council’s property team would start design work. 

Meanwhile, work started this week on a £1.8m three-classroom extension project at St Oswald’s C of E Primary School in Ashbourne.

The work is part of a wider £4m project to reorganise primary education in the town and accommodate families moving into new housing developments.

The recent conversion of St Oswald’s Infant, Hilltop Infant and Nursery and Parkside Community Junior schools into primary schools in their own right has allowed them to co-ordinate teaching across the primary years and eliminate the transition from infant to junior which can affect some children’s educational progress.

It also allows parents who have children at different stages of education to make one school drop-off rather than two which helps to reduce traffic in the town.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Young People Councillor Alex Dale and the council’s Deputy Leader Councillor Simon Spencer attended a ground-breaking ceremony to launch the project at St Oswald’s this week. 

Councillor Dale said: “It’s a pleasure to be involved as work starts in an investment which will help to give children the best possible start at school as well as benefit staff, parents and the whole community. The reorganisation project is a great example of developing and improving what we already have and our proposal to build a new school in Breadsall is also very exciting.

“Meanwhile, our match-funding project is one of the other ways we’re supporting our school development programme. It’s very important that every child is given the best opportunity to achieve their full potential and this is significantly affected by their school environment. 

“We want all our children to have the opportunity to learn and thrive in the best possible classrooms with high quality facilities. Sharing the cost means schools can achieve more ambitious plans than they could on their own – and prevent the need for more costly repairs or improvements further down the line.

“Our match-funding scheme has continued to prove extremely popular and it’s an excellent example of where a financial helping hand can reap bigger rewards with lasting benefits for pupils, staff, visitors and the wider local community than would otherwise be possible.”

BUILDING FIRM FOUNDATIONS: Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Young People Councillor Alex Dale (right) and Deputy Leader Councillor Simon Spencer dig the first of the foundations for a £1.8m extension at St Oswald’s C of E Primary School in Ashbourne watched by headteacher Rebecca Wood, governors and pupils.

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