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Schools building plan to 2024 approved

Created on 10/10/2018 @ 13:42
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

All local school pupils should be taught in good environments.

That is the aspiration of Powys County Council and Education portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, as she set out the School Asset Management Plan (SAMP) to 2024.

The plan, which was approved by Cabinet members, sets out the authority’s approach to developing and improving the school estate for the next six years.

Cllr Alexander said: “We have got a very extensive school building programme which aspires to provide 21st-century learning environments.

“But we also have a lot of older school buildings. The purpose of the asset management plan is to set out in detail the way we decide what building should be prioritised, the current state of our buildings and the methodology which we employ when we decide where our substantial capital should be spent.

“It may seem at times that a pin is just put in a map, but this is not the case at all. Any work we do needs to be justified especially in these times.”

Cllr Alexander added: “We are still in a position where we have a number of “C”  (poor) class buildings that are coming to a point where they need major spend.

“And this strategy will help us make sure that all the money we have to spend, is done to maximise the opportunities for all our learners in the county.”

Education director, Ian Budd, added that the improvement plan is still in the “early days.”
Financial portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies was pleased to see that some of the sites with a “D” (life expired) category were now moving to new school buildings.

“This cabinet has given a strong commitment to improving school conditions,” said Cllr Davies.

Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee Chairman, Cllr Pete Roberts, said: “We welcomed the scoring methodology for the allocation of funding that is going to the right place rather than the shout loudest way.”

But Cllr Roberts did question the data on pupil numbers which would bring into doubt whether some schools might not receive investment needed as the pupil numbers projections could put the school’s future in doubt.

Cllr Roberts added: “There is a question in our mind about the robustness of the process when it comes to decisions on major investment.”

Parts of the Targets and Measures for SAMP include reducing the number of school blocks that have been assessed as having a status of C (poor) or D (life expired) from 132 to 120 blocks by 2024.

It also aims to reduce surplus space at primary schools to 14 per cent and at secondary school to 21 per cent.

By 2024, projects that should be completed include building a new school at Ysgol Bro Hyddgen, Machynlleth.

Significant investment in primary schools in Newtown and new Ysgol Cedewain and Brynllywarch special schools is also part of the plan. ENDS

Photo: Cllr Myfanwy Alexander – has had the Schools Asset Management Plan passed by PCC Cabinet.

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