Council is committed to providing the best facilities for school pupils

Coun Philip Owen, chairman of the children's and young people's committee at Nottinghamshire County Council
Coun Philip Owen, chairman of the children's and young people's committee at Nottinghamshire County Council

Pupils across Nottinghamshire are back at school after the summer holidays and I’m delighted to say that the council has once again invested millions of pounds in new school buildings and refurbishments for the 2019-20 academic year, writes Coun Philip Owen.

Although what goes on inside school buildings is the most important factor in education, these improvements will go a long way towards improving the learning environment for the children and staff alike.

There have been pressures in certain areas over the last few years for school places and as a result school place planning is put into place years in advance.

The council’s Council Plan for 2017–21 expresses a vision to make Nottinghamshire a great place to bring up a family and a place to fulfil your ambition.

It is my responsibility to make sure that there are enough school places across the county to give every child an opportunity to reach his or her potential.

The new term also saw the opening of the new £6.3 million Hawthorne Primary School in Bestwood Village and £4.2 million Hucknall Flying High Academy.

Hawthorne will initially accommodate 210 pupils but will have the capacity to expand to 420 places in the future.

There is also a 39-place nursery on site.

Flying High Academy is a 210-place school with a 26-place nursery and again there is room for expansion to 315 places.

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Earlier this year, the council approved £7 million funding for the 2019-20 academic year from the Schools Building Improvement Programme, part of the Schools Capital Programme

The council carried out feasibility studies at more than 50 schools where there was an urgent need for improvement works or an assessment of risk.

As a result,the council has carried out remedial work to biomass boilers, kitchen ventilation, boiler and heating pipework replacement, heating cabinet replacements, drainage and roofing.

It’s vital to carry out essential health and safety and maintenance work at allthe county’s schools to avoid the risk of closure, so I’m delighted that so many schools across the county benefited from the improvement programme.

I am proud of the fact that Nottinghamshire currently has around 90 per cent good or outstanding schools, and this is something I’d like to see maintained and indeed improved over the coming years.

I wish teachers and pupils, as well as parents and carers, a great start to the school year, and I hope children of all ages continue to strive and achieve the very best results and fulfil their potential.

A good education is key to unlocking options for a great career and future.