School repairs hit by budget cuts

Kinsley Primary school.
Kinsley Primary school.
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REPAIR plans have been outlined for two schools in the Express area despite the budget being reduced to just a third of what it was three years ago.

Council and union bosses have said that a £20m investment into Wakefield district schools is not enough to make them safe.

The figure is just a third of the amount invested between 2008 and 2011, due to cuts in government funding.

But nearly £6m has been allocated for problems that would threaten the closure of a school, such as roofing, boilers and electrical repairs.

Work on roof repairs is set to start in the next academic year at Kinsley J&I School, but window replacements have been put on hold for the year 2013-14.

Paul Birdsall, headteacher at Kinsley J&I, said: “We anticipated it would take some time with the windows.

“The main priority is fixing the roof, as we do have a great deal of difficulties with our flat roof, as it does leak a lot.

“We are just grateful that the council is acting quickly to provide us with a new one.

“The cuts are going to have an impact but the council has been very supportive and are working to do the best for the children with what they have.”

Hemsworth Arts and Community College is also due to have roof repairs and window replacements this year, but the work is listed to go on into 2013-14.

The schools asset management plan, approved this week at Wakefield Council’s cabinet meeting on Tuesday, puts rebuilds of schools on hold in order to prioritise the necessary maintenance.

Coun Olivia Rowley, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “A lot of schools were on the waiting list for work and this is a limited amount of money.

“We are trying to maintain schools to the best of our ability but what is needed in a lot of schools is total rebuilding, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen in the near future.”