THE FIRST school in the country to be rebuilt as part of the government’s £2.4billion plan to replace those in the worst condition has opened.
Whitmore Park Primary in Holbrooks is one of six in Coventry and 261 across England being bulldozed and rebuilt using money from the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP).
Schools Minister, David Laws, labelled Thursday’s re-opening as a ‘major milestone’.
The £5million revamp took just 11 months to complete and comprises of a new build primary school for 630 pupils with a 39-place nursery.
“I’m sure the new school environment will make a real difference to the staff and children here.” said Caroline Kiely, executive head teacher at Whitmore Park.
“Our previous building was past its best so the new school will mean that less money will have to be spent on repairs and can be spent on better equipment or more staff instead.”
In total, 28 schools are now either under construction or open as part of the PSBP, while design work has begun at 234 others including St Thomas More, Wyken Croft and Richard Lee, Ernesford Grange and Alice Stevens in Coventry.
All will be finished by the end of 2017 – two years earlier than originally planned with a second phase of the scheme set to be announced.
Mr Laws told us: “The opening of Whitmore Park marks a major milestone in the Priority School Building Programme, which is making great strides in ensuring that vital building work takes place at some of the schools in the worst state across the country.
“It is providing much better value for money than previous school building schemes, and forms part of the government’s drive to deliver the best schools for young people in order to help deliver both a stronger economy and a fairer society.”
The coalition government scrapped plans to rebuild or modernise all of the city’s secondary school as part of huge spending cuts following the 2010 general election before announcing this scaled down scheme two years later.