By Rachael Grealish
Cumbrian MPs have reacted to the announcement the Prime Minister has set out plans for a £1 billion programme to transform schools in England.
Representing the first major rebuilding programme to be launched since 2014, schools will benefit from substantial additional investment.
Schools and colleges will also receive funding this year to refurbish buildings in order to continue raising standards across the country, following COVID-19.
The rebuilding programme will start in 2020-21 with the first 50 projects, supported by over £1 billion in funding, with the programme set to span ten years.
In the release by the government, it said there would be ‘substantial investment in the North’.
The Herdwick News reached out to the six Cumbrian MPs for their reaction to the announcement and to see what their plans are for seeing investment in their constituencies.
So far only Allerdale’s Mark Jenkinson and Barrow and Furness’ Simon Fell have responded, but here at The Herdwick News we hope all six will soon comment.
Mark Jenkinson, the Conservative MP for Allerdale, said: “The one billion pound announcement for investment into our schools is to be welcomed. It is just the start of a ten year programme and will fund 50 major school projects, in addition to another £560m for repairs next year and £200m for FE colleges.
“I am pleased that the Government has an intention to improve the fabric of our schools as well as continuing on our journey to improve the national standard of education provided within them.
“I will of course assist any school that requires building improvements in making representations to the Government, and I would encourage any school in the Workington constituency that operates within a building that presents difficulties or requires updating to contact me.
“There is also an opportunity here for schools to assess their assets and explore other school structures such as academisation or joining a multi academy trust, that may provide more flexibility for their school going forward.”
Simon Fell, the Conservative MP for Barrow and Furness, said: “I’m delighted by this news. We’ve seen a £1 billion fund made available to catch-up pupils who might have fallen behind as a result of COVID, and this additional £1billion will make a real difference to the facilities they have.
“Speaking to local schools, I know how many of them have had to use hard-won funds to keep up the fabric of their buildings rather than spend it on the front line where it would most help our children.
“This fund will allow them to make sure that our schools are future fit, and that money can be spent where it’s needed – on children’s education.”
John Stevenson, Conservative MP for Carlisle, said: “Investing in skills, education and the next generation are absolutely vital to the future success of our county and country.
“I therefore welcome and support the financial investment that the Government is committing to Education.
“I benefited form a quality state education and I want my constituents to have the same opportunities.”