MPs and council leader clash over schools improvement funding for Bury

MPs and Bury’s council leader have clashed over schools improvement funding

SEVERAL schools in Bury will be given an upgrade as part of a revamp fund – but Labour leaders say the borough has missed out on assistance for major projects.

New roof schemes will take place at Elton Primary, Tottington Primary and St Monica’s, while urgent fire safety work will be carried out at Holy Cross College and Sunnybank Primary.

But borough council bosses have questioned when key concerns, not addressed since the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme was axed for Bury a decade ago, will be tackled.

Extra finance under the government’s £1bn national condition improvement fund for educational establishments has been welcomed by Bury North and Bury South MPs James Daly and Christian Wakeford.

Mr Daly said: ““As we move through the phases of recovery from a nationwide lockdown, we must get our children and teenagers back into the classroom learning again.

“Significant government investment announced today will help create modern educational spaces, putting student experience at the forefront of planning to ensure the most positive outcomes for teaching and learning.”

And Mr Wakeford added: “As we exit lockdown we must focus on getting children back to school – and ensure that schools have the facilities and classrooms they need to support the high-quality education our children deserve.

“This funding will help ensure all children have the very best possible schools and education, enabling them to gain all the knowledge and skills they need for success.”

However Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, the Labour borough council leader, says that Bury “missed out on millions” when BSF was scrapped, leaving many schools in a poor state of repair.

Work on a new school in Radcliffe, and rebuilding Philips High, Derby High, Tottington High and The Heys School (formerly Prestwich Arts College), alongside other refurbishments, should have been a priority since then, Cllr O’Brien insists.

He added: “We have had ready to go plans for the repair and rebuilding of our schools since the coalition government scrapped the Building Schools for the Future programme 10 year ago and our schools are crumbling under the weight of 10 years of austerity since.

“We have yet to hear from the government how much, if any, money will be coming to schools in our borough and while this money falls far short of what is actually required overall we will be preparing and submitting our own comprehensive and ambitious capital bids to support our schools, and more importantly our children, right here in Bury.”

Other work identified for Bury will see rewiring at East Ward Primary, and new boilers for St Thomas CE and Wesley Methodist primary schools, as well as new fencing at St John’s CE Primary in Radcliffe.