'Making every penny stretch as far as possible' for Calderdale school upgrades

New Road Primary School, Sowerby Bridge. Head of school Sharon Harwood with executive head Nan Oldfield and Coun Megan Swift
New Road Primary School, Sowerby Bridge. Head of school Sharon Harwood with executive head Nan Oldfield and Coun Megan Swift

A director at Calderdale Council has said that they are 'making every penny available stretch as far as possible.to improve and repair schools.

The pledge has come on the back of a report that Calderdale schools face serious challenges to improve their buildings and smaller sites could be forced to close due to the lack of funding available.

Calderdale Council has invested £250,000 into replacing the roof at New Road Primary School, which is old and was further damaged by Storm Eva in 2015.

This is in addition to the £100,000 which the Council spent on repairing the school’s retaining wall and replacing the drainage after the storm damage.

Despite the struggles, the Sowerby Bridge school, which is rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, is seeing a number of improvements to boost pupils’ learning experience.

For example, reception children are enjoying a new purpose-built unit, which the school funded due to an increased intake of pupils.

Councillor Megan Swift, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “New Road Primary School is a real success story.

"The new facilities are the latest positive step in the school’s improvement journey.

"In the past few years it has grown from about 45 pupils to around 165 and the school is thriving.

"We are confident that it will go from strength to strength, with great leadership, teachers and students.

"The investment in the school, from both the Council and the school itself, shows everyone’s commitment to its future.”

Stuart Smith, the Council’s Director for Adult and Children’s Services, added:“This efficient use of funding is making every penny available stretch as far as possible, resulting in some fantastic learning environments for our pupils.”

Sharon Harwood, Head of School at New Road Primary, said: the new reception class has enabled them to provide a rich and stimulating learning environment for the children.

"The improved classroom space both inside and out has increased the opportunities for the teacher to design tasks that provoke learning and allow the children to explore and discover for themselves," she said/

New Road is not the only Calderdale school receiving investment to secure a successful future.

Calderdale Council has committed £8.6 million to rebuild Copley Primary School and Moorside Community Primary School in Ovenden.

The Council is also investing around £1 million (in addition to a £1.3 million grant after its successful bid to the Education Funding Agency) to provide temporary classrooms for Calder Primary pupils (the classrooms are now complete and fully occupied, with an all-weather play area to follow in the half term); and to build a replacement classroom block which will then allow the temporary accommodation to be vacated and removed, and the current sixth form block at Calder High to be converted into a primary phase area.