Millions of pounds of investment in Island schools

By IW Galleries Mar 2, 2020

Six Island schools were upgraded or refurbished by the Isle of Wight Council last year — and many more are set to benefit from millions of pounds of government funding.

In total, almost £2 million was invested by the council in major projects that have included modern classrooms, replacement roofing and windows, heating systems and electrical works.

However, a further estimated £12 million is set to be spent on the Island over the coming years through the government’s Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP).

The programme has already seen the refurbishment of Barton Primary School, Newport, and a new build at Queensgate Primary School, East Cowes — which opened last week — with major works also planned for Binstead, Brading, Dover Park (Ryde), Greenmount (Ryde), Wootton and Wroxall primary schools.

Councillor Paul Brading, Cabinet member for children’s services and education, said: “We are continually investing in our schools to ensure our children have the best possible learning environment.

“Thanks to the strong working relationship between the Department for Education (DfE) and local authority, many Island schools are also benefiting from significant investment from the government’s PSBP.

“Our push on improvements is helping to boost school results on the Island with outcomes improving at a much faster rate than schools nationally.”

Godshill Primary School has recently undergone a £640,000 transformation with the council investing a further £790,000 in Cowes and Broadlea primary schools, with the latter benefiting from a brand-new roof.

Around £200,000 has been spent at The Bay Church of England School, Sandown, as part of a series of works which has included the refurbishment of the school dining hall.

Meanwhile, further investment has been made at St George’s special school and Medina House School, both at Newport, to enhance fire safety.

Among the schools to have already benefited from PSBP funding is Gurnard Primary where, last month, pupils were excited to walk into a snazzy new building.

The old school had become very expensive and time consuming to maintain — with a leaky roof, blocked drains and temperamental boiler.

The new building has much larger classrooms, benefits from the latest facilities and is fully accessible for children and adults with disabilities.

Headteacher Vanessa Hicks said: “We are lucky enough to have two halls, two library spaces, music practice rooms and a specialist science lab.

“The learning environment in the new school is outstanding.

“The children are now designing our new ‘back garden’ which will be created on the site of the old school. This will include a natural playground, pond, wildflower meadow, forest school, orchard and allotment so we’re all very excited to see it develop.”