Decision due on Calderdale school improvements

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A RUN-DOWN temporary classroom block which has been in place at Rastrick High School for years is finally to be replaced at a cost of £2.2 million.

Three other schools should find out by the end of March whether they will be totally rebuilt.

The maths rooms at Rastrick have no sound proofing, no disabled access, poor ventilation and can only be reached by pupils walking through neighbouring classrooms.

Headteacher Helen Lennie said: “The existing building falls short of the expected standards in many ways and replacing it and the associated facilities for students in wheelchairs to take a full part in school life and learning is our number one priority.”

The new teaching block includes eight maths classrooms, reception and hygiene/recuperation facilities for physically impaired students and extra toilets for the whole school.

Meanwhile, Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker said he expected a Government announcement within days on a council bid for £24 million under the “Priority School Building Programme” to replace Todmorden High School, Calder High School and Moorside Primary School, in Halifax.

“I was told by the Education Secretary Michael Gove to expect a decision before the end of March. They are doing further checks to make sure they get the schools most in need,” he said.

Staff at Moorside are increasingly concerned about the school’s main boilers, which are more than 40 years old.

They could cost up to £180,000 to replace, which is money that would be wasted if the school was to be rebuilt, as planned.

Megan Swift, Calderdale Council’s education spokesperson, said continuing delays to Government decisions about money to refurbish dilapidated schools were threatening the prospects for children’s education.

She said a decision on the £24 million bid was originally expected in December but then delayed.

“Before the General Election, Conservative shadow ministers were scathing about the condition of some of the buildings and gave the impression that they would move quickly to provide funding.

“Nearly two years have gone by and we are still no nearer knowing whether we are going to get the capital investment that is so desperately needed,” said Coun Swift (Lab, Town).