Our school has been crumbling for 20 years

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Schools across England are facing mounting concerns as they find themselves grappling with deteriorating infrastructure and outdated facilities, with hopes for rebuilding dashed as the final spots for funding were allocated to those dealing with hazardous concrete issues.

The School Rebuilding Programme (SRP), aimed at refurbishing or reconstructing 500 schools over a decade, prioritized schools with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac), which posed safety risks and led to closures this year. However, this approach has left many schools with pressing infrastructure needs feeling neglected.

Local authorities and school trusts had nominated schools for the SRP, but the recent allocation of the remaining spots primarily to those with Raac has left many disappointed and uncertain about the future of their facilities.

Joseph Leckie Academy in Walsall, for instance, faces numerous challenges, including crumbling concrete, leaky roofs, inadequate space for assemblies, and makeshift facilities. Despite ongoing issues, the school was overlooked for funding, leaving its administration frustrated and feeling stuck.

Similarly, Whiteknights Primary School near Reading and Scalby School in Scarborough are grappling with outdated temporary buildings and safety concerns. The rejection of their funding bids has left them facing uncertainty about their ability to address critical infrastructure needs.

The decision to prioritize schools with Raac has drawn criticism from the National Education Union, which argues that the government’s approach has sidelined schools with urgent infrastructure needs. The lack of clarity on future funding and renovation programs adds to the uncertainty faced by schools across England.

In response to these concerns, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan emphasized the importance of a comprehensive review of government spending to address infrastructure challenges in schools. However, Labour’s shadow education secretary, Bridget Phillipson, has called for more transparency and accountability in the allocation of funding to ensure that all schools in need of renovation receive support.

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