• Churnet Sound Newsdesk

Millions to be spent on improving Staffordshire schools

Lighter, brighter classrooms, with more fuel-efficient heating and lighting systems are part of a £12 million investment to maintain and improve Staffordshire schools. Expenditure beginning this year will include installing new roofs and windows, replacing inefficient heating systems, replacing ageing electrical networks, upgrading old pipework and fitting new energy controls that monitor usage, while also improving insulation and installing new LED lighting. While research has shown good ventilation and lighting improve pupils’ capacity to learn, health and education studies also back the provision of creating more open toilet areas in older buildings to encourage children to use them regularly and drink enough water during the day. Jonathan Price, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Education (and SEND), said: “The quality of school buildings can help or hinder pupils’ learning and we are committed to having our children taught in the best possible environment across the county. “I am delighted that we now have £12 million to invest. Some changes will be obvious and benefits pupils and staff enormously, while others will be behind the scenes to ensure the school is in good shape for the future. “One of the biggest demands on a school’s budget is the cost of heating and lighting so improvements to boilers, insulation and lighting will all pay long term dividends for heads and governors.” Staffordshire County Council had already allocated £4 million for structural repairs and internal improvements in 2020/21. But now the Department for Education has told the authority it can spend £9.6 million on the 128 maintained schools it is directly responsible for. Also added to Staffordshire County Council’s expenditure is £2.44m to spend on creating more school places for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) and Education, Health and Care Plans (ECHPs). Jonathan Price added: “We want all children with special educational needs and disabilities to be able to reach their potential by receiving the right support at the right time in their own communities and at their local school or place of education. “This grant is a step in that direction towards education children closer to home and providing better support in mainstream classrooms.”

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