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£20m school hopes mount


A decision to build a £20m replacement for the Grove School on the present Balderton campus is expected this month.

Nottinghamshire County Council’s director for children and young people’s services, Mr John Slater, said that if approved, building could begin by the end of next year.

Money from a £150m government fund will also be provided for a partial rebuild of the Magnus Church of England School, Newark.

Newark High will close in July and will become the Grove’s second site, to be known as the Lilley and Stone campus.

Mr Slater said the Newark area building scheme would be led by a partnership board, consisting of the council’s architects, the developer and a project director, who would be appointed by February 18 on a salary of £85,000.

A strategy will be finalised at a meeting on May 27.

Mr Slater said the partnership would try to use local companies.

He said: “Newark is a town that provides challenges for the local authority, and there is a parental preference for schools across the border.

“We do not always perceive that as a threat, but we will look at what we provide.

“We are aware that performance is not where it should be, although it is improving, but we are now confident the building programme will go ahead.”

He said the schools would be built over 15 years and would still be viable in 60 years.

The recommendation for work will come from the cabinet member for schools, Mrs Joyce Bosnjak, and will need cabinet approval.

Mr Slater said: “The Grove is likely to be rebuilt because in terms of building stock, it is in the worst state.”

He said they were looking at how the Newark Growth Point, which could see another 15,000 people added to the population, would affect the scheme.

The Grove’s head, Mrs Patricia Head, was confident the school would be rebuilt, and the plan was for this to be on the existing site.

She said if all went to plan they could be in a new school for the 2011-12 academic year.

Mrs Head said she spent 18 months on training courses to learn how to deal with a new school.

She said: “We have been asking how much money we will be getting but we do not yet know.

“I am not a builder or project manager, but we need to know if we can include some of the big ideas we have, such as new ICT suites and virtual learning environments, which we have seen at other new schools.

“We will get this money only once so it has to be the right long-term investment for Newark and Balderton.”

The head of the Magnus, Mr Ian Anderson, said: “I have been through a rebuild at my previous school. You build up expectations but it can turn out to be not exactly what you expected.”

The other schools that will share the £150m are The Orchard School, Newark, Dukeries College, Ollerton, Joseph Whitaker School, Rainworth, Meden School and Technology College, Warsop, and Garibaldi School, Forest Town.

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