Just under £53 million pounds has already been invested in improving the quality of Plymouth’s schools and over the next 2 years another £3.3 million is set to be spent.
As the Council continues to drive forward growth in the city it’s essential the standard of school facilities is improved to keep up with the growing population, the investment in schools has not only been able to improve them, it has also created an additional 348 school places across the city.
Between 2012 and 2015 the Council will have spent £28 million on two new and 8 expanding primary schools, with an additional £8.99 million from the Targeted Basic Need Capital Fund in July 2013 that helped support the expansion programme. The two new schools that are being built are St Matthews CoE Primary and Nursery Academy in Derriford and Knowle Primary School in Honicknowle.
A total of 8 Plymouth schools have been expanded as a result of this investment. Pilgrim, St Peter’s CE, Stoke Damerel, Salisbury Road,, St Joseph’s RC, Lipson Vale, Holy Cross RC and Woodford Primary Schools.
Earlier this year the City Council Investment Board has agreed to a further £3.3 million for the expansion of Pennycross and Pomphlett Primary Schools.
£1.2 million will be spent on the expansion of Pomphlett Primary School to provide a new building for the reception classes, a combined year one and two class base with toilets, refurbished changing rooms and circulation area following an increase in numbers from the new housing development at Saltram Meadow.
£2.1 million will be spent at Pennycross Primary School to create much-needed space for growing pupil numbers at the school, following an increase in birth rates and new housing developments in the area. The work will provide a new two-storey extension with eight new classrooms (four to each floor), stores, toilets, group rooms and a new hard play area.
Both schools will be fully functional from September 2016.
Councillor Sue McDonald, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Public Health said: “Having excellent schools is such an important part of a city’s structure. We are very proud of our schools and investing in their future is essential if we are to maintain our high standards and encourage families to raise children in Plymouth.
“We are determined as a Council to ensure that the quality of schools throughout the city is such that no matter where a child lives, they will have access to an excellent school just around the corner. Our aim is to help develop a highly skilled and capable workforce of productive young adults who contribute to the region’s economic growth and prosperity and who enjoy and achieve in life.”
Both Plymouth City Council and schools were also asked to bid for funds from the Priority Schools Building Programme back in the summer 2014. This funding is aimed at schools where the condition survey rated them as a priority for either a rebuild or major refurbishment.
At the time the bids had to be submitted there only had two schools eligible for the programme. The new school at Knowle was already in progress and as these particular projects would be Private Finance initiative the other school that was eligible decided not to put forward a bid.