Children at the Grove School in Newark returned for the new term to find their school in a much better state of repair than when they broke up for the holidays.
Over the summer break, Nottinghamshire County Council spent £500,000 carrying out the most urgent repairs to school buildings as part of a £2 million scheme of works which will tackle its most important health and safety building issues over the course of 2012/13.
The cash is coming from the Council’s three-year £100 million Schools Capital Refurbishment Programme designed to address the most pressing repairs affecting the condition of school buildings across Nottinghamshire.
In addition to the Grove, the Council is spending a further £4 million upgrading other schools in the Newark and Sherwood area before the end of this financial year.
The Grove is one of the county’s 15 schools selected by the Government in May to be rebuilt under its Priority School Buildings Programme. However, it’s currently listed for one of the later proposed start dates in third quarter of 2014/15.
The County Council’s committee chairman for children and young people’s services councillor Philip Owen, who will be paying a visit to the Grove next week (Tuesday, 2 October), said: “We are spending a substantial amount of money to ensure the Grove’s existing buildings are repaired for the short-term to benefit the existing pupils.
“And whilst we know that this work won’t address the long-term structure of the building, it should have a significant impact on the feel of the buildings. Lincoln College, the school’s academy sponsor, is also fully behind what we’re doing to refurbish the school prior to its rebuild. And I’ve also written to the Education Funding Agency to see if it will consider bringing rebuilding work forward.”
Roof repairs carried out have weatherproofed the school buildings; all communal areas have been refurbished including redecoration, new carpeting and other general repairs; and the theatre and drama studio have been fully refurbished including the installation of new seating. Structural repairs have also been carried out to the two storey timber framed block.
Liz Hart, headteacher at The Grove School, which is due to convert to an academy this November, said: “The refurbishment work to date has had an instant positive impact and lifted the morale of both students and staff. The school looks and feels different and parents who visited on the recent open evening commented on how much of a positive difference this had made.
“The improvements to the learning environment, significantly improved exam results and the move to academy status means that The Grove is a really exciting place to be - everything is moving from strength to strength.”
The remainder of the repairs include improved lighting (including new ceilings) and electrical maintenance throughout the school; essential grounds maintenance and refurbished toilet blocks throughout.
The main entrance to the school will also be refurbished to create a more welcoming feel for visitors and a comfortable and secure environment for staff and pupils of the school.
These works will be completed as quickly as possible with the Council working with senior staff at the school to minimise disruption to daily school life.
Refurbishment work worth around £2 million is also being carried out by the Council at Magnus School in Newark.
And in addition, a further eight schemes in Newark and Sherwood, totalling around £1.9 million, are also benefiting from Council investment from its refurbishment programme.
The schemes, ranging in value from £41,000 to £475,000 have either been completed or are planned for completion during the 2012/13 financial year.