• A glimmer of hope for Tipton St John Primary School funding?

    5th March 2021 | News | Claire
  • I received the email below from a representative of Education minister, Baroness Berridge. I have emboldened the last paragraph which contains a glimmer of hope for future funding. It’s the first time since 2015 that there is a possibility that Tipton St John School may receive government funding. 

    Now is the time to increase our campaigning and I am talking to Tipton St John parents on how we might take forward a more high profile publicity push … more soon on this.

    We have just reached over 500 signatures on our petition, which is great news, but there is a long way to go!  Please do continue sharing with your friends and family. Thank you……………………………………………..

    Dear Councillor Wright,

    I am writing on behalf of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System to thank you for your email of 27 January about Tipton St John Primary School.

    I can appreciate that the diocese, school and local community would have been disappointed to have been unsuccessful in 2015 with the application to phase 2 of the Priority School Building Programme.  PSBP is rebuilding and refurbishing school buildings in the worst condition across the country and, across both phases of PSBP, 14 schools in Devon have benefited from the programme.

    As you will be aware, following the PSBP application, further representations were made by the local authority and diocese to the department, requesting a contribution towards costs to relocate the school to Ottery St Mary. In 2017, the department agreed to contribute £750,000 to the relocation of the school to the Thorne Farm site owned by Devon County Council (DCC).

    The diocese and DCC had already identified local funding of £3 million and indicated that they would aim to drive down costs to deliver the project within the overall budget. Since 2017, DfE officials have had continued dialogue with officers at DCC on the progress of their proposals and we are aware of the recently rejected planning application on the Ottery St Mary scheme.

    The minister is aware of the flooding issues at the school. We have recently commissioned a detailed flood risk assessment to validate and expand upon the earlier Environmental Agency report.

    Our representatives visited the school site on 24 February and will report back in March. Once the assessment has been concluded, officials will brief Baroness Berridge further.

    Irrespective of the source of any funding, any relocation of the school will depend on obtaining an appropriate site. We will continue to discuss the development, funding and next steps of their projects with DCC officers.

    You asked about the new 10-year School Rebuilding Programme, which has a commitment to 500 rebuilding projects over the next decade, replacing poor condition and ageing school buildings.

    The department announced the first 50 schools in February, which were prioritised either because they have buildings of specific construction types that require replacement or because of the highest condition need, identified in data collected by the department’s Condition Data Collection programme and verified through additional condition information.

    Further details on the rebuilding programme are published on GOV.uk at: <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-rebuilding-programme>

    We plan to publish details on the process for prioritising the next projects for the programme later in 2021.

    We also plan to consult on the approach to prioritising projects for later rounds of the long-term programme. There will be opportunities in future rounds for the bodies responsible for school buildings to submit supplementary information about severe condition need, where it is not fully captured in the Condition Data Collection, to be considered for the programme.

    I hope that this information is useful and thank you again for writing.

    Yours sincerely