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Another blow for The Hewett as government rejects funding bid for 'crumbling' buildings

PUBLISHED: 13:22 10 February 2015

Hewett School sign and entrance on Hall Road. Picture: Denise Bradley

Hewett School sign and entrance on Hall Road. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

A struggling Norwich high school has been dealt a fresh blow after the government rejected its bid for money to repair crumbling 50-year-old buildings.

The news comes as the Hewett School deals with a deficit running into hundreds of thousands of pounds, hundreds of unfilled pupil places, and a damning Ofsted report which plunged it into special measures.

The school had sought money from the government’s Priority School Building Programme for an improvement scheme for two of its main blocks, to remove the need for continued maintenance.

The work would have addressed the current metal windows, which cannot be painted or double glazed, and are energy inefficient.

Announcing successful bids worth £2 billion of funding yesterday, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: “Children can’t learn and teachers can’t teach in schools that are cold and have leaking roofs.”

Sue Whitaker, a Hewett governor and county councillor for Lakenham, said: “One of the main things about the whole site is metal windows that you can’t paint, and they let out heat like it’s going out of fashion.

“I think it’s crucial that schools like the Hewett get it, and I get brassed off that the city schools always seem to miss out in Norfolk.

“It does seem the emphasis focuses on the rural places.”

Five Norfolk schools saw their funding bid improved: Attleborough Academy, and four schools in the west of the county.

Old Buckenham High School, another community school which bid for funds, also saw its bid rejected.

The government also released details of another £4 billion which will be distributed between 2015 and 2018 for building upgrades.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Alongside announcing the schools to be included in Priority School Building Programme Two, we are also announcing school condition allocations for the next three years.

“These allocations reflect the condition of school buildings, meaning those schools in who missed out on PSBP2 can be confident their needs will be reflected in the funding we make available to their local authority, trust or voluntary aided partnership.”

Norwich South MP Simon Wright said: “It’s disappointing the Hewett is among those that were not successful, but within the £4 billion maintenance funding, I hope there might be opportunities for schools to look at when they have urgent priority, to get the funds they need to sort that out.”

The Hewett’s future is currently up in the air, after the government last week rejected new interim governors proposed by Norfolk County Council, and instead named its own interim executive board.

The council wants the site to become a ‘learning village’ rather than an academy, as favoured by the Department for Education.

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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