Two Schools in North Devon to receive £1.38m to upgrade and refurbish school buildings

Local MP, Selaine Saxby has welcomed the announcement that schools in North Devon will benefit from £1.38 million to improve school facilities.

The Park Community School in Barnstaple and Witheridge Primary Academy in Witheridge have been allocated a share of the latest government investment, to expand classrooms, upgrade facilities and improve the education of children across the whole country. This funding will ensure schools have well-maintained facilities to provide students with safe environments that support a high-quality education.

Today’s funding comes from the £560 million announced by the Prime Minister last month as part of his New Deal for Britain, to help the nation bounce back from coronavirus by investing in infrastructure, skills and creating jobs.  It is in addition to the £1.4 billion of capital funding for 2020-21 already announced in April and is provided through the Condition Improvement Fund (CIF).

This funding will bring the total allocated to improve the condition of school buildings to £2 billion this year - paving the way for the new transformative ten-year school building programme starting later this year with over £1 billion funding for the first wave of 50 schools.

This major new investment will ensure our schools and colleges can focus on teaching, with brand new buildings and better facilities so that every child gets the world-class education they deserve.

Schools across the country have played their part in responding to coronavirus, ensuring their doors remained open for the children of essential workers – who have kept the NHS, public services and economy going throughout this crisis. In September, schools across England will safely reopen their doors to all pupils. 

Investing in schools and education was a key promise made by the Conservatives during last year’s General Election. The £2 billion allocated to improve our schools this year is on top of a £14 billion injection into the school system over the next three years - recognising the additional work schools will need to do to help students to catch up.

Commenting, Selaine said:

“I am absolutely delighted that North Devon has secured this funding for The Park Community School and Witheridge Primary Academy to upgrade their facilities.

I am particularly pleased for The Park School as head teacher Gareth Roscoe wrote to me in early July about the failure of their initial Community Improvement Fund bid.  I wrote to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, to express my concerns that North Devon is in need of investment in its schools, particularly those like The Park School with “shovel-ready” projects waiting to go.

This £1.38 million investment for North Devon from the Government is extremely welcome and shows the Department for Education is listening and is ready to support schools who have the plans and proposals in place to get building.

This funding will make a huge difference to the two schools and will improve the energy efficiency and the lifetime of these vital buildings ensuring they are fit for purpose for staff and students.”

Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson said:  

“Investing in our school and college buildings helps create modern environments that lend themselves to great teaching, making sure every child has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.

“We have worked at great speed to release this additional £560m of condition funding to schools for projects this year to kick-start the economy and get the country moving again following coronavirus.

“This funding brings the total allocated to improve the condition of our school buildings to £2 billion this year, and paves the way for our new transformative ten-year school building programme starting later this year with over £1 billion funding for the first wave of 50 schools.”


Picture: Education Secretary Gavin Williamson visited North Devon and met with Selaine during last year's general election.