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County Counicl agrees £18m budget for work on schools including Brown Edge and Horton Lodge

Biddulph schools are to benefit from maintenance work in the coming year.
In plans due to be discussed by Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet yesterday (Wednesday) primary and secondary schools will benefit from extra money to carry out refurbishments.

A total of £18m will be allocated to improve classrooms, outdoor spaces and expand the schools that need it over the next year.

The bulk of the money – nearly £13m – will go on new schools in Lichfield, Stafford and Uttoxeter.

Priority projects will cost just over £900,000, including two projects in the Moorlands, one at Moor First School, for internal refurbishment and remodelling.

Planned maintenance projects totalling £930,000 include the car park at Horton Lodge Community Special School; new windows at Squirrel Hayes First School, Biddulph, and new fire doors at St Anne’s Primary School, Brown Edge.

Money will also be spent on helping schools reduce their carbon footprint by installing LED lights and replacing old, expensive heating systems.

Funding will come from Government grants and contributions from schools, developers and others.

County Coun Jonathan Price, Cabinet member for education said: “It is essential that children and young people in the county have access to a good, local school.

“Every child in Staffordshire deserves the best possible education, and to leave school or college with the skills they need to succeed in the workplace or further education. Added to this, it is widely recognised that the quality of school buildings can help or hinder learning and teaching.

“Our capital programme for the next year is designed to ensure we make the most of the funding we have, and work with schools to improve school infrastructure. This way, we can ensure the county’s children are learning in the best environment possible.”

Condition surveys of schools are conducted on a three-year rolling programme to assess the condition of the buildings. This information is held in a database that identifies the most urgent categories of need.

The report to the Cabinet said that while the commodity price of electricity had remained relatively constant in recent years, the increasing cost was predominately mainly through increasing energy taxes, used to support renewable technologies.

These are passed through in the unit price of electricity, and these “pass through charges” have increased from 50% of the delivered cost in 2014/15 to more than 60% of the total electricity bill and forecast to increase year on year.

Said the report: “As the biggest revenue costs after staffing, we need to reduce costs to limit the burden on school resources. It is essential that capital funding is made available for programmes to replace inefficient electric heating systems with ‘wet’ systems; upgrade old pipework, install new energy controls that monitor usage, insulation and installing new LED lighting.”

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