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Prince Henry’s Grammar School to refurbish lower school
9:16am Thursday 28th June 2012 in News
Otley’s secondary school is to receive a £1 million-plus revamp thanks to funding secured under its new status as an academy.
Prince Henry’s Grammar School has been awarded just under £1 million from the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund to carry out a full refurbishment of its Lower School, which dates back to the 1920s.
The money – £980,550 – will, thanks to the funding tax arrangements, actually cover £1.175 million of improvements, many of which the school has been waiting for decades to make.
The work will include: * Roofing maintenance and adding £300,000 of insulation * Stonework and render repairs, and replacing guttering * Replacing all the remaining wooden windows * Refurbishing the clock tower.
Internal works will include fully modernising the electrics, £75,000 of improvements to the flooring and an upgrade of the boys’ and girls’ toilets.
Headteacher Janet Sheriff said: “This is excellent news, which will help secure a much-improved learning environment for current and future students and staff.
“The money will allow us to invest in our historic Lower School building and carry out essential maintenance that has been overdue, due to a lack of funding, for decades.
“It will also mean less of our annual budget will be needed to ‘patch repair’ in Lower School, allowing us to fund improve-ments in other areas.
“Only open academies were eligible to apply. This initiative gave us an opportunity to apply direct to the Department for Education to state our case, rather than having our building maintenance needs prioritised against other schools across the local authority and losing out, as has happened in the past.
“The success of our bid is a major achievement. Out of 2,465 bids from 1,071 academies, ours was one of only 773 to be funded.”
Prince Henry’s conversion to an academy – essentially an independent, state-funded school – proved extremely divisive in Otley before it went ahead last December, and was opposed by the whole town council.
Town council leader Councillor John Eveleigh (Lab, Ashfield) said: “I very much welcome the prospect of capital investment at Prince Henry’s, particularly in addressing the school’s fabric.
“I am sure the school will claim it only received this funding because of its academy status – and in a sense that just demonstrates how divisive the Government’s education policy has become.
“So, while it would be churlish not to welcome this, I think we have to acknowledge it comes at a huge price for other local schools.”
The area’s three ward councillors voiced similar sentiments, hailing the award while voicing reservations about any suggestion it vindicated the school’s switch to an academy.
Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) also pointed out that Prince Henry’s received a multi-million pound new science block, part-funded by Leeds City Council, in 2008.