Major investment planned in Richmondshire primary schools

Michael Syddall Primary School. Photo: Google.

The Government has announced a multi-million pound investment programme for several Richmondshire schools.

Michael Syddall Church of England Primary School in Catterick Village, originally built in the 1960s, is to benefit from the Government’s ten-year School Rebuilding Programme, meaning it will be either completely rebuilt or comprehensively refurbished.

It is one of 50 schools around the country in the latest phase of the programme which will ultimately cover 500 rebuilding projects. 

Michael Syddall headteacher Alison McHarg said she was delighted by the news. 

She said: “We have yet to hear exactly how the works will be carried out but I am very glad that the condition of our existing building has been acknowledged and that action to provide a first-class learning environment for our children will be the result.” 

The investment was welcomed by Richmond MP Rishi Sunak.

He said: “Investment in our school buildings is vital as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and I’m very pleased that Michael Syddall Church of England Primary has been included in this phase of a massive national effort to improve our schools.” 

Three other primary schools – Leyburn, Trinity Academy at Richmond and East Cowton – are to receive grants for major projects from the Government’s Condition Improvement Fund which is designed to cover repairs or improvements which cannot be covered by schools’ revenue funding. 

Sarah Beveridge, headteacher at Leyburn, said the £240,000 grant would provide secure perimeter fencing and ensure the car park and pedestrian access were safe. 

She said: “This has been an ongoing concern for a number of years and this grant will make such a huge improvement to providing a safe environment for visitors and, more importantly, a safe environment for learning. 

A grant for Trinity Academy will meet the cost of replacing a flat roof and at East Cowton its grant will be spent on perimeter fencing. 

Individual school funding allocations for the 2022/23 academic year have also been published this week.

Overall the funding for schools in the Richmond (Yorks) constituency will increase by 3.7 per cent to £65.5m in that year. 

There is additional support for small and remote schools through the “sparsity factor” in the national funding formula which has changed to using road distances instead of straight-line distances when measuring remoteness. 

Officials say this will significantly increase the number of schools attracting this funding 

It is part of a national increase in funding for schools of £14.4bn over three years between 2020 and 2023.