DfE confirms detailed feasibility study for the rebuild for Helston College will take place early in 2016.

In a spot of good news for Helston College is that the DfE has today confirmed that they will begin the detailed feasibility study for Helston Community College for the Priority School Building Programme which the college was accepted for. This study will take place between Jan-16 and Mar-16. The reason the study is needed is to assess and help determine the most appropriate investment solution for the school. Helston

Once this has been completed, we will hopefully have a clear idea on what will be built. This could be either a whole school rebuild (that would be ace), or replacement buildings for C, D and E Blocks.

The good news after months of silence we now have something to aim for.

Merry Christmas DfE….

Previous blog on the subject can be found HERE

Helston College Rebuild and the correcting inacuracies

It is a very rare occurrence that I have to write to the editor of a paper to express my concern on a story. However, in the case I – and the Head of Helston College – felt it necessary to write a letter to the editor with my concerns on a story.

The reason why is due to an article the West Briton published on its front page saying the rebuild at Helston College could be delayed for up to six years. This headline was based on inaccurate comment said by the Mayor of Helston at a recent town council meeting.

WB

As readers know, the issue surrounding the rebuild has been a rollercoaster ride and with at least two times came close to a rebuild. However, the Council working with the College managed to secure £22m worth of funding that will go further than the original plan of rebuilding C-block.

The letter is as follows and has been signed by both myself as the Lead Member for Children and Young People, and the Head of Helston College:

“Dear Sir

Following the misleading article suggesting delays to the rebuild of Helston Community College which was published on the front page of the Helston edition of the West Briton, I am writing to put the record straight.

Unfortunately your reporter failed to check the accuracy of the article with either the school, the Council or the Department for Education who are leading on the scheme.

The facts are that there is no suggestion of a time delay for this project. We were told at the beginning of the process, when the Government initially confirmed the funding for the scheme, that the overall timescale for all the building projects being delivered under this tranche of Government funding to be completed would be over a six-year period. In your article reporting Mr Clegg’s visit to the College, you quote him directly stating: ‘It is a national programme which runs from 2015 to 2021.’

We are waiting for details from the Government about exactly what work will be carried out and when the project will occur in the six-year programme and expect to have this confirmed in the Autumn.

The school is in contact with the Department for Education and, in fact, was visited by Department for Education officials last week to carry out a site survey. There was no suggestion of any delay.

I am very disappointed that the paper chose to run this story without checking its accuracy.  This has caused unnecessary alarm among parents and the local community. 

We are working with the school to ensure that the scheme is carried out as quickly as possible and the publication of inaccurate stories such as this is very unhelpful.”

I must further clarify the story about the waste of £300k on the plan for C-Block. Foresight is a wonderful thing, but no-one has this power. The original plan was to for C-Block to be rebuilt, and for this to happen, the DfE/EFA needed what is called ‘shovel ready’ projects. This is where a project can go ahead once the funding has been agreed. Without the plan, you had no chance of getting the funding.

However, the Government announced more funding under the Priority School Build Programme which meant Cornwall Council could apply for more funding to address the other building issues at the College. The Council also made bids for six other schools, Which sadly only three schools secured funding

As you will know, the Council go more than a C-Block rebuild, The College now has the potential to have a whole school rebuild, or at least C, D and E block rebuilds. Though the default position was always C-Block, which we would have needed the current plans.

I hope the letter and this blog clarifies people’s concerns. Both the College and Cornwall Council are working damn hard in delivering the much-needed facilities at Helston College.

Cornwall gets three schools funded from the Priority School Build Programme.

Helston College was not the only school that needed funding for its buildings as a further five schools had bids worked up by Cornwall Council and submitted to the DfE. These six other schools include: Budehaven, Humphry Davy, Hayle Community College, Biscovey Infants and Newquay Treviglas. The blog on these submissions is HERE. A further school Newquay Tretharras, submitted its own bid to the DFE.

So how did these other schools fare? Well it is  cake with double icing and cherries on top as Humphry Davy and Newquay Tretharras have also received funding. This is fantastic news for these two schools.

However, the fantastic news of getting three schools funded has had the shine taken off for the four schools who did not receive funding. I do share the disappointment of these four schools who missed out. Cornwall Council will continue look at how these schools get their much-needed school rebuilds post today’s announcement.

As to how much each school will receive including Helston College has yet to be released by the DFE.

Helston College gets its much needed rebuild

Late Friday, I was informed by an embargoed press statement from the DfE that Helston College would receive funding under the priority school build programme. Cornwall Council submitted three bids for Helston College. The biggest was a full school rebuild. The other two bids were for C and E block rebuilds and a rebuild for C-Block.Helston

I am over-the-moon that Helston College will receive this much-needed funding. It has been a long and difficult journey with the school being previously promised a rebuild for C-Block by the previous administration even though there was no clear idea how this would be funded or even having the money to fund this rebuild.  However, from this disappointment, I promised to do everything within my powers to get this much-needed funding for Helston College. Blog on no funding for college HERE.

As for the funding bid, a huge tribute should go to the Access and Infrastructure team in Children’s Service who have worked tirelessly in submitting a strong bid that has now been awarded funding. The real joy is Helston College will not only receive funding for C-Block, but E-Block too! This really is the icing on the cake.

I will join in the celebration of this fantastic news at Helston College on Monday morning when the Deputy Prime Minister along with the local MP, Andrew George visit Helston College to make the announcement.

 

 

Cornwall Council submits bids to the Priority Schools Building Programme for six schools.

The Council has today submitted a bid / expression of interest for six schools to the Government’s Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP). The PSBP is a large stream of money that totals £2 billion. The aim of the PSBP programme is to fund major rebuilding and refurbishment projects to address the needs of schools in the very worst condition. This is a national programme which runs from 2015 to 2021.

As you would expect, the Government has set very strict criteria for applying for the PSBP programme, with funding only available for schools which need to be either completely rebuilt or where a building needs major refurbishment works.

The Council commissioned surveys to identify whether or not the schools met the criteria. Following consideration of these reports and previous information on schools’ condition held by the Council, six schools were identified as meeting the criteria for submissions for funding. Schemes at a further seven schools were initially considered but did not meet the Government’s criteria for funding. It might seem unfair, but these are the rules that have been set.

The six schools which have been submitted are:

Helston – three schemes have been proposed.

  • Replacing C Block
  • replacing C block and E Block
  • and a whole school replacement

Humphrey Davey School –

  • replacement of Block 2, general teaching

Hayle Community College –

  • Block 1, main block / general teaching
  • Block 6 – general teaching and Sports Hall

Budehaven –

  • Science, DT and Art Block

Treviglas

  • replacement of 6 x double Elliot buildings to permanent accommodation.

Biscovey Infants –

  • main block roof replacement

As the Portfolio Holder I am really pleased these schools have been submitted. The total amount of funding the Council is seeking £40m  for these six schools. However, any final value of schemes will be decided by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).

For Helston, I am not only pleased as the Portfolio Holder, but also as one of the local Councillors to see three schemes being put forward to the PSBP programme. I like many others, was extremely disappointed that previous plans to replace Helston College C-Block could not be taken forward because there was no funding. I did say I would do everything with my powers for Helston College. Though, in my role as Portfolio Holder, it cannot just be about Helston, but other schools who are in a similar to that of Helston.

I am as well as the Council is hopeful that the Education Funding Agency and the Government will consider all the schemes put forward by Cornwall Council. The decision on the submission is expected sometime in December. Let’s hope all six schools get this much-needed funding.