Prime Minister launches school building investment programme
Boris Johnson talks to pupils at Ealing Fields school
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has made a visit to a school in Ealing this Monday (29 June).
He arrived at 9pm at the Ealing Fields school on Wyke Gardens to be greeted by the Associate Headteacher, Mark Bedford and Senior Project Manager Keith McGinness of building contractor Bowmer + Kirkland.
The construction of new classrooms at the school is nearing completion and the government made the announcement the same morning of a £1billion spending plan for school buildings across England.
After meeting Dame Alice Hudson, Executive Headteacher and other representatives of Twyford CofE Academies Trust and the school’s local governing body, the Prime Minister was given a tour of the new school by Year 10 pupils, who are said to be looking forward to September 2020 when they will move into the new school building after spending four years in temporary accommodation.
Boris Johnson with pupils at Ealing Fields school
Mr Johnson visited the restored historic building at the centre of the site then toured the new teaching block – including the café and science laboratories – and saw how the old and new parts of the school have been designed to complement one another as well as the facilities the school is able to provide for Ealing Fields students.
The Prime Minister talked to staff and students about their experiences of school during lockdown due to Covid-19 and how they have adapted to their online teaching and learning.
Representatives of the building contractor were also introduced to the Prime Minister.
Mark Bedford, Associate Headteacher said, “it was a privilege for Ealing Fields to have this opportunity to showcase the new and impressive school facilities in the final stages of the building project. Our school aims to grow courageous, compassionate leaders of the future and so to start our journey on the new site with a visit from the Prime Minister was a powerful endorsement.”
Dame Alice Hudson, Executive Headteacher added, “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to launch of two additional new schools in Ealing, both of which are due to complete their new building this summer. We are hugely grateful to the team at Bowmer + Kirkland for keeping the Ealing Fields project moving forward throughout lockdown as well as to the Kier Construction team for Ada Lovelace. The period of school closure has tested the creativity of teachers and the resilience of students. Whilst I am very proud of the way they have worked together and maintained standards, we are all looking forward to establishing each of the schools in its elegant new buildings in September in readiness for the new term.”
The government’s announcement promises that 50 major school building projects will be funded in England as well as a further £560m for those in need of repairs in the first phase of what is described as a ten year programme.
Boris Johnson said, "It's important we lay the foundations for a country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.
"This major new investment will make sure our schools and colleges are fit for the future, with better facilities and brand new buildings".
However according to the National Audit Office there is a backlog on spending on repairs to schools in England of £6.7bn.
Geoff Barton, leader of the ASCL head teachers' union, said "far too many children are studying in buildings that are not fit for purpose" while welcoming the spending as a step in the right direction.
Paul Whiteman of the National Association of Head Teachers said that after "decade of underinvestment" the new upgrade programme was good news but warned that school funding must "never be allowed to fall into such a perilous state again".
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described Conservatives' record on investing in schools as “a lost decade" and that every region of England had seen a fall in education investment per person since they came to power.
June 29, 2020